Advertisement

Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 403–417 | Cite as

Achieving a Sustainable Livelihood After Leaving Intimate Partner Violence: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Lynne Duffy
Original Article

Abstract

A community-based research (CBR) study was carried out with single mothers who had left abusive relationships in order to better understand their experiences of finding a sustainable livelihood after experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Using the photovoice method and guided by the Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) framework, participants took photographs representing their experiences of violence through their transition to single motherhood and beyond. The findings reported through their photos and stories reveal an often long and arduous journey amidst the complexity of single parenting and the effects of violence. As with many people living on a low income, they incorporated creative strategies to survive and enhance their own and their children’s quality of life. Important areas for change are suggested through aspects of the SL framework and primary prevention.

Keywords

Lone/single mothers Violence against women Sustainable livelihoods framework Employment Gender inequality Photovoice Community-based participatory research Visual research 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Sincere appreciation to the women who participated as co-researchers in this study and taught me so much, as well to our supportive community partners and research assistant, Cathy Kelly.

References

  1. Advisory Council on the Status of Women (2010). Status report: Women in New Brunswick. Retrieved May 20, 2012, from http://www.acswcccf.nb.ca/media/acsw/files/english/2010report/Status%20Report%202010%20English.pdf.
  2. Allen, N. E., Bybee, D. I., & Sullivan, C. M. (2004). Battered women’s multitude of needs: evidence supporting the need for comprehensive advocacy. Violence Against Women, 10(9), 1015–1035. doi: 10.1177/1077801204267377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, D. K., & Saunders, D. G. (2003). Leaving an abusive partner: an empirical review of predictors, the process of leaving, and psychological well-being. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 4(2), 163–191. doi: 10.1177/1524838002250769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, D. K., Saunders, D. G., Yoshihama, M., Bybee, D. I., & Sullivan, C. M. (2003). Long-term trends in depression among women separated from abusive partners. Violence Against Women, 9(7), 807–838. doi: 10.1177/1077801203009007004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bancroft, W., & Vernon, S. (1995). The struggle for self-sufficiency: Participants in the self-sufficiency project talk about work, welfare, and their futures. Ottawa: SRDC.Google Scholar
  6. Bell, H. (2003). Cycles within cycles: domestic violence, welfare, and low-wage work. Violence Against Women, 9(10), 1245–1262. doi: 10.1177/1077801203255865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonomi, A. E., Anderson, M. L., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, R. S. (2009). Health care utilization and costs associated with physical and nonphysical-only intimate partner violence. Health Services Research, 44(3), 1052–1067. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773-2009.00957.x.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brush, L. D. (2000). Battering, traumatic stress, and welfare-to-work transition. Violence Against Women, 6(10), 1039–1065. doi: 10.1177/10778010022183514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butler, S., Corbett, J., Bond, C., & Hastedt, C. (2008). Long-term TANF participants and barriers to employment: a qualitative study in Maine. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 35(3), 49–69.Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, J. C. (2002). Health consequences of intimate partner violence. Lancet, 359(9314), 1331–1336. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08336-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW). (2005). Violence against women and girls. Ottawa: Author.Google Scholar
  12. Cole, P. R. (2001). Impoverished women in violent partnerships: designing services to fit their reality. Violence Against Women, 7(2), 222–233. doi: 10.1177/10778010122182415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crowne, S. S., Juon, H. S., Ensminger, M., Burrell, L., McFarlane, E., & Duggan, A. (2011). Concurrent and long-term impact of intimate partner violence on employment stability. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(6), 1282–1304. doi: 10.1177/0886260510368160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies, L., Ford-Gilboe, M., & Hammerton, J. (2009). Gender inequality and patterns of abuse post leaving. Journal of Family Violence, 24, 27–39. doi: 10.1007/s10896-008-9204-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davis, R. E. (2002a). Leave-taking experiences in the lives of abused women. Clinical Nursing Research, 11(3), 285–305. doi: 10.1177/10573802011003005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Davis, R. E. (2002b). “The strongest women”: exploration of the inner resources of abused women. Qualitative Health Research, 12(9), 1248–1263. doi: 10.1177/104973230228248.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Department for International Development (DFID). (1999). Sustainable livelihoods guidance sheets. London: Author.Google Scholar
  18. Duffy, L. (2010). Hidden heroines: lone mothers assessing community health using photovoice. Health Promotion Practice, 11(6), 788–797. doi: 10.1177/1524839908324779.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Edin, K., & Lein, L. (1997). Work, welfare, and single mothers’ economic survival strategies. American Sociological Review, 62(2), 253–266. Retrieved from http://www.jstor/stable/2657303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fleury, R. E., Sullivan, C. M., & Bybee, D. I. (2000). When ending the relationship does not end the violence. Violence Against Women, 6(12), 1363–1383. doi: 10.1177/10778010022183695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ford-Gilboe, M., Wuest, J., & Merritt-Gray, M. (2005). Strengthening capacity to limit intrusion: theorizing family health promotion in the aftermath of woman abuse. Qualitative Health Research, 15(4), 477–501. doi: 10.1177/1049732305274590.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ford-Gilboe, M., Wuest, J., Varcoe, C., & Merritt-Gray, M. (2006). Developing an evidence-based health advocacy intervention for women who have left an abusive partner. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 38(1), 147–167.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ford-Gilboe, M., Wuest, J., Varcoe, C., Davies, L., Merritt-Gray, M., Campbell, J., & Wilk, P. (2009). Modelling the effects of intimate partner violence and access to resources on women’s health in the early years after leaving an abusive partner. Social Science & Medicine, 68(6), 1021–1029. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2001.01.03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gennetian, L. A. (2003). Welfare policies and domestic abuse among single mothers: experimental evidence from Minnesota. Violence Against Women, 9(10), 1171–1190. doi: 10.1177/1077801203255846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gibson-Davis, C. M., Magnuson, K., Gennetian, L. A., & Duncan, G. J. (2005). Employment and the risk of domestic abuse among low-income women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(5), 1149–1168. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00207.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Human Development Council. (2012). Child poverty report card. Saint John: Author.Google Scholar
  27. Humphreys, J., Cooper, B. A., & Miaskowski, C. (2010). Differences in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and lifetime trauma exposure in formerly abused women with mild versus moderate to severe chronic pain. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(12), 2316–2338. doi: 10.1177/0886260509354882.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Katula, S. (2012). Creating a safe haven for employees who are victims of domestic violence. Nursing Forum, 47(2), 217–225. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6198.2012.00278.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kimerling, R., Alvarez, J., Pavao, J., Mack, K. P., Smith, M. W., & Baumrind, N. (2009). Unemployment among women: examining the relationship of physical and psychological intimate partner violence and posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(3), 450–463. doi: 10.1177/0886260508317191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Klumb, P. L., & Lampert, T. (2004). Women, work, and well-being 1950-2000: a review and methodological critique. Social Science & Medicine, 58(6), 1007–1024. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(03)00262-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kneipp, S. M. (2002). The relationships among employment, paid sick leave, and difficulty obtaining health care of single mothers with young children. Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, 3(1), 20–30. doi: 10.1177/152715440200300104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kulkarni, S., Bell, H., & Wylie, L. (2010). Why don’t they follow through? intimate partner survivors’ challenges in accessing health and social services. Family & Community Health, 33(2), 94–105. doi: 10.1197/FCH.06013e3181d59316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kwesiga, E., Bell, M. P., Pattie, M., & Moe, A. M. (2007). Exploring the literature on relationships between gender roles, intimate partner violence, occupational status, and organizational benefits. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(3), 312–326. doi: 10.1177/0886260502695381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lempert, L. B. (1996). Women’s strategies for survival: developing agency in abusive relationships. Journal of Family Violence, 11(3), 269–289. doi: 10.1007/BF02336945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Letourneau, N., Duffy, L., & Duffet-Leger, L. (2012). Mothers affected by domestic violence: intersections and opportunities with the justice system. Journal of Family Violence, 27(6), 585–596. doi: 10.1007/s10896-012-9451-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lindhorst, T., Oxford, M., & Gillmore, M. R. (2007). Longitudinal effects of domestic violence on employment and welfare outcomes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(7), 812–828. doi: 10.1177/0886260507301477.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lorenz, F. O., Simons, R. L., Conger, R. D., Elder, G. H., Johnson, C., & Chao, W. (1997). Married and recently divorced mothers’ stressful events and distress: tracing change across time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 59(1), 219–232. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/353674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lutenbacher, M., Cohen, A., & Mitzel, J. (2003). Do we really help? perspectives of abused women. Public Health Nursing, 20(1), 56–64. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1446.2003.20108.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Macy, R. J., Nurius, P. S., Kernic, M. A., & Holt, V. L. (2005). Battered women’s profiles associated with service help-seeking efforts: illuminating opportunities for intervention. Social Work Research, 29(3), 137–150. doi: 10.1093/swr/29.3.137.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Merritt-Gray, M., & Wuest, J. (1995). Counteracting abuse and breaking free: the process of leaving revealed through women’s voices. Health Care for Women International, 16(5), 399–412. doi: 10.1080/07399339509516194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moe, A. M., & Bell, M. P. (2004). Abject economics: the effects of battering and violence on women’s work and employability. Violence Against Women, 10(1), 29–55. doi: 10.1177/1077801203256016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mullan-Harris, K. (1996). Life after welfare: women, work, and repeat dependency. American Sociological Review, 61(3), 407–426. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Murray, J., & Ferguson, M. (2002). Women in transition out of poverty. Ottawa: WEDC.Google Scholar
  44. Pennington-Zoellner, K. (2009). Expanding ‘community’ in the community response to intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Violence, 24(8), 539–545. doi: 10.1007/s10896-009-9252-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Perrin, N. A., Yragui, N. L., Hanson, G. C., & Glass, N. (2011). Patterns of workplace supervisor support desired by abused women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(11), 2264–2284. doi: 10.1177/0886260510383025.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Plichta, S. B. (2004). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences: policy and practice implications. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(11), 1296–1323. doi: 10.1177/0886260504269895.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pollack, K., Austin, W., & Grisso, J. A. (2010). Employee assistance programs: a workplace resource to address intimate partner violence. Journal of Women’s Health, 19(12), 729–733. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1495.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pyles, L., & Banerjee, M. M. (2010). Work experiences of women survivors: insights from the capabilities approach. Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work, 25(1), 43–55. doi: 10.1177/0886109909354984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Raphael, J. (1999). Keeping women poor. In R. Brandwein (Ed.), Battered women, children, and welfare reform (pp. 31–43). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Riger, S., & Staggs, S. L. (2004). Welfare reform, domestic violence, and employment: what do we know and what do we need to know? Violence Against Women, 10(9), 961–990. doi: 10.1177/1077801204267464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rollins, C., Glass, N. E., Perrin, N. A., Billhardt, K. A., Clough, A., Barnes, J., & Bloom, T. L. (2012). Housing instability is as strong a predictor of poor health outcomes as level of danger in an abusive relationship: findings from the SHARE study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(4), 623–643. doi: 10.1177/0886260511423241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rothman, S., Hathaway, J., Stidsen, A., & de Vries, H. (2007). How employment helps female victims of intimate partner violence: a qualitative study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(2), 136–143. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.12.2.136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Samuels-Dennis, J. (2006). Relationship among employment status, stressful life events, and depression in single mothers. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 38(1), 58–80.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Samuels-Dennis, J., Ford-Gilboe, M., Wilk, P., Avison, W. R., & Ray, S. (2010). Cumulative trauma, personal and social resources, and post-traumatic stress symptoms among income-assisted single mothers. Journal of Family Violence, 25(6), 603–617. doi: 10.1007/s10896-010-9323-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Scarbrough, J. W. (2001). Welfare mothers’ reflections on personal responsibility. Journal of Social Issues, 57(2), 261. doi: 10.1111/0022-4537.00212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shobe, M. A., & Dinemann, J. (2008). Intimate partner violence in the United States: an ecological approach to prevention and treatment. Social Policy & Society, 7(2), 185–195. doi: 10.1017/S1474746407004137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (2008). Low income in Canada: 2000-2006 using the Market Basket Measure - October 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2012, from http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/publications_resources/research/categories/inclusion/2008/sp-864-10-2008/page08.shtm.
  58. Staggs, S. L., & Riger, S. (2005). Effects of intimate partner violence on low-income women’s health and employment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 133–145. doi: 10.1007/s10464-005-6238-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Staggs, S. L., Long, S. M., Mason, G. E., Kirshnan, S., & Riger, S. (2007). Intimate partner violence. social support, and employment in the post-welfare reform era. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(3), 345–365. doi: 10.1177/0886260506295388.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Statistics Canada. (2006). Family structure lone parents. Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/famil121a-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  61. Statistics Canada. (2009). Salary lone fathers/mothers. Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/famil05a-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  62. Statistics Canada. (2010a). Work lost due to illness (men). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/health47b-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  63. Statistics Canada. (2010b). Work loss to illness (women). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/health47c-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  64. Statistics Canada. (2011a). Reasons for part time work (men). Retrieved March 29, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/labor63b-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  65. Statistics Canada. (2011b). Reasons part time work (women). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/labor63c-eng.htm.
  66. Statistics Canada. (2012). Population of census metropolitan areas. Retrieved June 25, 2012, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo05a-eng.htm.Google Scholar
  67. Swanberg, J., Macke, C., & Logan, T. K. (2007). Working women making it work: intimate partner violence, employment, and workplace support. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(3), 292–311. doi: 10.1177/0886260506295387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Swanberg, J., Ojha, M., & Macke, C. (2012). State employment protection statutes for victims of domestic violence: public policy’s response to domestic violence as an employment matter. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(3), 587–613. doi: 10.1177/0886260511421668.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. Findings from the national violence women survey. Washington: Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  70. Tolman, R. M., & Rosen, D. (2001). Domestic violence in the lives of women receiving welfare: mental health, substance dependence, and economic well-being. Violence Against Women, 7(2), 141–158. doi: 10.1177/1077801201007002003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tutty, L. (2006). Effective practices in sheltering women leaving violence in intimate partner relationships. Phase II report. Toronto: YWCA.Google Scholar
  72. VandeWeerd, C., Coulter, M., & Mercado-Crespo, M. (2011). Female intimate partner violence victims and labor force participation. Partner Abuse, 2(2), 147–165. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.2.2.147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Varcoe, C. (1996). Theorizing oppression: implications for nursing research on violence against women. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 28(1), 61–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Varcoe, C. (2008). Inequality, violence, and women’s health. In B. S. Bolaria & H. Dickinson (Eds.), Health, illness, and health care in Canada (4th ed., pp. 259–282). Toronto: Nelson.Google Scholar
  75. Walker, R., Logan, T. K., Jordan, C. E., & Campbell, J. C. (2004). An integrative review of separation in the context of victimization: consequences and implications for women. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 5(2), 143–193. doi: 10.1177/1524838003262333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wang, C. (1999). Photovoice: a participatory action research strategy applied to women’s health. Journal of Women’s Health, 8(2), 185–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wang, C., & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24(3), 369–387. doi: 10.1177/109019819702400309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wang, C., Wu, K. Y., Zhan, W. T., & Carovano, K. (1998). Photovoice as a participatory health promotion strategy. Health Promotion International, 13(1), 75–86. doi: 10.1093/heapro/13.1.75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. World Health Organization. (2005). WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women: Summary report of initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women’s responses. Geneva: Author.Google Scholar
  80. Wuest, J., & Merritt-Gray, M. (1999). Not going back: sustaining the separation in the process of leaving abusive relationships. Violence Against Women, 5(2), 110–133. doi: 10.1177/1077801299005002002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wuest, J., Ford-Gilboe, M., Merritt-Gray, M., & Berman, H. (2003). Intrusion: the central problem for family health promotion among children and single mothers after leaving an abusive partner. Qualitative Health Research, 13(5), 597–622. doi: 10.1177/1049732303013005002.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wuest, J., Ford-Gilboe, M., Merritt-Gray, M., & Lemire, S. (2006). Using grounded theory to generate a theoretical understanding of the effects of child custody policy on women’s health promotion in the context of intimate partner violence. Health Care for Women International, 27(6), 490–512. doi: 10.1080/07399330600770221.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wuest, J., Ford-Gilboe, M., Merritt-Gray, M., Varcoe, C., Lent, B., Wilk, P., & Cambell, J. (2009). Abuse-related injury and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder as mechanisms of chronic pain in survivors of intimate partner violence. Pain Medicine, 10(4), 739–747. doi: 10.1111/j.526.4637.2009.00624.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zweig, J. M., Schlichter, K. A., & Burt, M. R. (2002). Assisting women victims of violence who experience multiple barriers to services. Violence Against Women, 8(2), 162–180. doi: 10.1177/10778010222182991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nursing FacultyUniversity of New BrunswickMonctonCanada

Personalised recommendations