Using data from the 2009 Canadian General Social Survey-Victimization main file, this study assessed the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) victims’ socio-demographic characteristics, violence characteristics, sense of social belonging, and help seeking behaviors. In a nationally representative study, we conducted hierarchical binary logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between IPV victims’ (n = 900; 385 males and 515 females) sense of social belonging and their engagement with seeking help from informal (family members, friends/neighbors, co-workers) and formal (counsellor/psychologist, doctor/nurse, lawyer, police) sources of support after controlling for victim socio-demographic characteristics and severity of violence experienced. We also sought to assess whether male and female victims of IPV differed in their solicitation of help from both informal sources and formal service providers. As hypothesized, males were significantly less likely than females to seek help from all sources. In partial support of our hypotheses, social belonging was significantly associated with an increased probability of seeking support from friends or neighbors in the regression analysis; however it was not associated with seeking help from any other source. Implications suggest that facilitating strategies for bringing together community members in every day contexts (not solely in the aftermath of violence) may be salient to enhancing survivors’ sense of belonging and increasing the likelihood that they will solicit help if needed. Findings also suggest the need for further gender based analysis of the help seeking experiences of male and female survivors to address potential gender specific barriers to help seeking.
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In recognition of the different terminology individuals who have experienced violence may ascribe to their experiences, we use the terms “victim” and “survivor” interchangeably.
Section 25 of the Constitution Act of 1982 in Canada defines Aboriginal persons as those of Indian, Inuit, or Metis descent (Sanderson 2017). Although “Aboriginal” is the term most commonly used in Canada to refer to Indigenous peoples, this may not reflect the terms used in other countries and/or the way individuals choose to self-identify.
The Employment Equity Act defines visible minority persons as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour” (Statistics Canada 2015, para 1). Although “visible minority” is the term most commonly used in Canada to refer to people who are not white, this terminology may not reflect the terms commonly used in other countries and/or the manner in which individuals may choose to self-identify
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$30,000 was selected as the dichotomous income cut-off as this is approximately the annual living wage in Canada (with geographic variations) for a full time, 40-h a week worker earning an hourly living wage of $15 per hour (Living Wage Canada 2013).
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This work was supported with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant Program under Grant # 430-2013-000465 and the University of Windsor Tri-Success Grant Program under Grant # 812162. Data for this project was accessed by the researchers through the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre program. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect those of Statistics Canada.
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Barrett, B.J., Peirone, A. & Cheung, C.H. Help Seeking Experiences of Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in Canada: the Role of Gender, Violence Severity, and Social Belonging. J Fam Viol 35, 15–28 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00086-8
- Domestic violence
- Spousal violence
- Social belonging