An Eight State Study on the Relationships Among Domestic Violence Shelter Services and Residents’ Self-Efficacy and Hopefulness
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Survivors of intimate partner violence have myriad reasons why they turn to domestic violence shelter programs. While all are seeking immediate safety and feel a pressing need to leave their homes to obtain it, safety is rarely the only issue survivors are grappling with upon shelter entry. Other concerns are particular to each person’s history and circumstances, and include but are not limited to employment, counseling, social support, health care, addiction recovery services, immigration help, housing, and services for their children. The current study involved secondary analysis of survey data completed at two points in time by 565 shelter residents. The original research involved 215 domestic violence programs across eight states in the U.S., and surveys were completed by shelter residents shortly after they arrived in shelter and again as they were close to exiting. Results confirmed that survivors had numerous needs in addition to safety when entering shelter. Residents’ overall rating of how helpful their stay at shelter had been for them was predicted by how much help they had received across their presenting needs, as well as how they were treated by staff. The amount of help received, as well as treatment by staff, also related to survivors’ hopefulness at shelter exit, as well as the extent to which they felt better able to do things on their own. The study findings provide further evidence that domestic violence shelter staff assist residents with a variety of complex needs in addition to safety, and that this assistance is related to positive outcomes for survivors.
KeywordsIntimate partner violence Shelter Services advocate Outcomes
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