Article

Barriers to Working With Sexual Assault Survivors A Qualitative Study of Rape Crisis Center Workers

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Abstract

To better understand barriers service providers may face when advocating for survivors, a study using grounded theory and qualitative, semistructured interviews was conducted of rape victim advocates (N= 25) working in rape crisis centers in a large metropolitan area. Broader societal attitudes framed and were reflected in institutional responses to victims and in barriers faced by advocates working with survivors. Organizational barriers noted by advocates related to resources, environmental factors, professionalization, and racism. Staff burnout was a major barrier affecting advocates' ability to help survivors. Finally, the most salient direct service barrier was secondary victimization by criminal justice and medical or mental health systems.

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... For instance, male victims of sexual violence may face unique barriers to helpseeking exacerbated by the relationship between gender and sexual violence (i.e. men not constituting a stereotypical victim) (Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Alaggia, Collin-Vézina & Lateef, 2017). ...
... Cultural norms as barriers to helpseeking are highlighted by advocates in a wide variety of contexts. For instance, advocates and survivors alike have noted the role of anticipated JUNE 2020 12 disbelief, anticipated secondary victimization and the role of institutional racism and prejudice in deterring helpseeking in victim-survivors (Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Hamby, 2008). ...
... understanding of the importance of helping to overcome stigmas, self-blame and other internalized negative feelings in an effort to facilitate helpseeking by victim-survivors (Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Kirkner, Lorenz & Ullman, 2017;Bows, 2018). For instance, advocates serving older victim-survivors of sexual violence have noted that internalized beliefs about rape as typically involving younger victims have resulted in older victim-survivors dismissing their experiences as not warranting services (Bows, 2018). ...
Article
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Throughout this report, we investigate the extent to which Nebraska survivors of sexual violence seek out services from domestic violence and sexual assault (DVSA) programs serving rural communities as well as the factors surrounding survivors’ decisions to seek out help. Our primary conclusion is that the vast majority of sexual violence survivors do not seek out help from local DVSA programs. A comparison of National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) data with local DVSA data representing clients served suggests less than 14% of annual rape survivors and fewer than 3% of annual contact sexual violence survivors seek out services from their local DVSA program. Barriers to helpseeking identified in focus groups comprised of sexual violence survivors include: (1) attributes of “small-town” environments (i.e. issues of confidentiality, fears of repercussion, and social connections enjoyed by perpetrators), (2) survivors interpreting their victimization experiences as not relevant to the scope or mission of their local DVSA program, (3) a perceived lack of a relationship between DVSA programs and segments of the Latinx community. Drawing on these findings, we provide recommendations aimed at alleviating barriers to helpseeking for Nebraska survivors of sexual violence.
... For example, studies demonstrate that officers identify and use a wide variety of case factors in determining case legitimacy, many of which are built directly on myths about rape (Venema, 2016b). Such myths also influence officers' perceptions of sexual assault survivors (Campbell & Johnson, 1997;Feldman-Summers & Palmer, 1980;Ullman & Townsend, 2007), particularly perceived victim credibility (Brownmiller, 1975;Venema, 2016a). For example, victims are expected to be sober (Sims, Noel, & Maisto, 2007), and perpetrators are expected to be unknown to the victim (Felson & Pare, 2008). ...
... This is a crucial line of inquiry, as understanding the extent to which such factors are predictive of RMA in policing populations could provide a critical evidence base for the effective development of training programmes to address such attitudes (Chapleau & Oswald, 2010). Such an aim is particularly important when considering the role officers have in response to the crime, as well as the service that victims will receive (Sleath & Bull, 2012) and the impact of negative attitudes on interactions with victims and case trajectories (Brownmiller, 1975;Campbell & Johnson, 1997;Feldman-Summers & Palmer, 1980;Rich & Seffrin, 2012;Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Venema, 2016a). The present study therefore examines the predictive relationship between several demographic (officer gender, age, years of service, presence/absence of specialist training) and attitudinal (hostility towards women, ambivalent sexismhostile and benevolent, the relationship between power and sex) variables and rape myth acceptance in a large U.K. police sample. ...
... Importantly, these findings suggest that broader attitudinal constructs explain a far greater proportion of variance in RMA, and may, therefore, represent a more efficient and effective focus for intervention, and in informing the evidence-base on which specialist and non-specialist officer training is built. Specifically, greater knowledge and awareness of attitudinal antecedents is of particular utility in highlighting the broader beliefs that support the role of RMA in informing officers' overall opinions and perception of sexual assault victims (Campbell & Johnson, 1997;Feldman-Summers & Palmer, 1980;Ullman & Townsend, 2007) as well as their perceived credibility (Brownmiller, 1975;Venema, 2016a). ...
Article
Efforts to understand rape myth acceptance (RMA) as a cognitive framework in police, unifying key cognitive/attitudinal and demographic factors into one coherent model, are lacking. Using a cross-sectional survey design, predictors of RMA were assessed by linear hierarchical regression, including demographic (age, length of service, gender, experience of specialist rape investigation training) and attitudinal factors (hostility towards women, sexist attitudes, and explicit power/sex beliefs) among officers from a large U.K. police force (N = 912). The final model explained 44% of variance in RMA. Gender and previous specialist training significantly predicted RMA, but to a much lesser extent than attitudinal variables, which explain 42% of RMA variance. Only specialist rape investigation training remained significant when attitudinal variables were added. The greater contribution from attitudinal variables suggests that efforts to address RMA in officers must consider the broader attitudinal structures underpinning RMA. Findings highlight implications for evidence-based training for rape investigators.
... It has been shown to negatively affect service quality, staff well-being, and organizational effectiveness (Barak et al., 2001). Although there is a robust body of work establishing some individual and organizational factors related to occupational issues in the IPV and SA workforce (Baird & Jenkins, 2003;Bemiller & Williams, 2011;Dworkin et al., 2016;Kulkarni et al., 2013;Slattery & Goodman, 2009;Ullman & Townsend, 2007), there is limited understanding of the impact personal and professional trauma and negative occupational events have on compassion fatigue and other forms of occupational stress in the IPV/SA workforce. ...
... All staff, across roles and organizational hierarchies, operate within broader sociopolitical structures that perpetuate widespread victim blaming, acceptance of rape myths, and the undermining of survivor narratives, which is harmful to survivors and painful for workers who recognize the damage negative social scripts inflict (Clemans, 2004). In addition, IPV and SA sectors operate within an environment constrained by limited resources, substantial workloads, and low pay, which can increase stress by negatively impacting employee economic security and organizational health (Maier, 2011;Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Wachter et al., 2020). Together, these factors can heighten occupational stress and erode worker well-being (Kulkarni et al., 2013;Ullman & Townsend, 2007) and contribute to compassion fatigue (Goldblatt et al., 2009). ...
... In addition, IPV and SA sectors operate within an environment constrained by limited resources, substantial workloads, and low pay, which can increase stress by negatively impacting employee economic security and organizational health (Maier, 2011;Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Wachter et al., 2020). Together, these factors can heighten occupational stress and erode worker well-being (Kulkarni et al., 2013;Ullman & Townsend, 2007) and contribute to compassion fatigue (Goldblatt et al., 2009). ...
Article
Gaps in knowledge related to occupational stress among the intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) workforce remain. This study examined associations between key risk factors for occupational stress and compassion fatigue among a sample of IPV/SA service providers in the Southwestern United States ( N = 520). Results of the hierarchical regression analysis identified microaggressions, age, recent life stress, direct practice, and workload as factors associated with compassion fatigue. The findings point to the importance of incorporating trauma-informed organizational approaches to address microaggressions, reduce workload, and support staff experiencing recent stress and providing direct services.
... A lack of diverse staff was also perceived to be a barrier to serving SA survivors of colour among service providers interviewed in other studies (DeLeon, 2017;Peters, 2019). In particular, ethnic minority women may be reluctant to seek services from White, middle-class women who may be unable to understand their concerns (Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Racism against people of colour was perceived to be a related barrier to service utilization (Ullman & Townsend, 2007). ...
... In particular, ethnic minority women may be reluctant to seek services from White, middle-class women who may be unable to understand their concerns (Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Racism against people of colour was perceived to be a related barrier to service utilization (Ullman & Townsend, 2007). The Kattari, Walls, Whitfield, and Magruder (2017) study of transgender people accessing RCCs also suggests that individuals of colour, multiracial individuals and Latino individuals experience significantly higher rates of discrimination from service providers compared to their White counterparts. ...
... Eleven studies included in the present review suggested that survivors of SA who are financially vulnerable encounter distinct or additional barriers to service utilization. These studies indicated that access to support is decreased by the unaffordability of services (Abavi, Branston, Mason, & Du Mont, 2020;Anderson & Overby, 2020;Sit & Stermac, 2017;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Survivors with limited resources residing in areas where there is a shortage of low-cost transportation systems may, furthermore, be unable to access services (Macy, Giattina, Montijo et al., 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Despite knowledge about the extensive and often long-lasting consequences of sexual assault, many survivors remain underserved by formal support systems (e.g. medical, mental health and criminal justice systems). Reasons for underutilizing services are as diverse as the survivors themselves, and little is known about which survivors are most underserved and why they are underserved. Objective: To help organize existing findings on this topic, a systematic scoping review was conducted to identify adult survivors of sexual assault, who may be particularly underserved when attempting to obtain services in Western countries. Method: Five databases (PsycINFO, Embase, MEDLINE, Scopus and CINAHL) were systematically searched for studies published in English from 2000 onwards using terms such as ‘sexual assault’, ‘help seeking’, ‘formal support’, ‘barriers’ and variations thereof. Results: A total of 41 studies were included in the present scoping review, resulting in seven main categories of underserved survivors: Ethnic and cultural minorities, Disabilities, Financial vulnerability, Sexual and gender minorities, Mental health conditions, Problematic substance use, and Older age. Barriers encountered by survivors with these characteristics included limited access to formal supports and insufficient training and awareness among service providers about how to best support survivors. Conclusions: Recommendations include the need for more survivor-centred, culturally appropriate and trauma-informed services and more attention to survivors belonging to underserved groups in policy, practice and research.
... Service providers have noted the challenges that come with obtaining and sustaining funding at a level that allows them to meet the needs of their clients, and the needs of the agencies. Specifically, barriers related to funding include staff turnover, volunteer recruitment, adequate service provision, and outreach efforts Elliot et al., 2013;Maier, 2011;Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Yun et al., 2009). Many VSPs, particularly direct service provider VSPs, are nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on grant funding. ...
... Reported barriers related to contextual or community factors are variable, but the theme of the relationship between the community context and service provision is noted in several studies. For examples, McGrath et al. (2012) discussed the influence of victim-blaming attitudes (e.g., female victims are liars, promiscuous, getting what they deserve) and adherence to traditional gender roles as barriers in their study's findings; Cerulli et al. (2015) explored the role that stigmatization of deaf persons plays in their experiences with VSPs; Ullman and Townsend's (2007) sample addressed the influence of racism and its impact on service provision (e.g., victims of color not being believed by police as readily); and intraagency communication and the treatment of victims by certain community partners/organizations have been noted as barriers to satisfactory service access (Bouffard et al., 2017;MCCVS, 2001;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Finally, with direct relevance to the current study, rurality has been explored in regard to how it creates or enhances existing barriers in several VSP studies. ...
... Reported barriers related to contextual or community factors are variable, but the theme of the relationship between the community context and service provision is noted in several studies. For examples, McGrath et al. (2012) discussed the influence of victim-blaming attitudes (e.g., female victims are liars, promiscuous, getting what they deserve) and adherence to traditional gender roles as barriers in their study's findings; Cerulli et al. (2015) explored the role that stigmatization of deaf persons plays in their experiences with VSPs; Ullman and Townsend's (2007) sample addressed the influence of racism and its impact on service provision (e.g., victims of color not being believed by police as readily); and intraagency communication and the treatment of victims by certain community partners/organizations have been noted as barriers to satisfactory service access (Bouffard et al., 2017;MCCVS, 2001;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Finally, with direct relevance to the current study, rurality has been explored in regard to how it creates or enhances existing barriers in several VSP studies. ...
Article
The crime victims’ rights movement has led to the development of advocacy, rights, and services for crime victims. A growing body of research has examined victim service provision using victim/client samples and complementary research has utilized service provider samples. The latter have focused on crime victim service providers’ (VSPs) perceptions regarding clients’ needs and barriers, as well as perceptions of service provision, needs, and barriers pertaining to their agency’s operations. Although relatively small, the body of provider-focused victim services research has commonly considered the influence of rurality on service provision. The present study adds to this body of research by examining reported needs and barriers of VSPs (N = 94) in a Mountain West state, considering the influence of rurality and concentrated need. Three research questions informed the descriptive analyses: (a) What are the most commonly identified needs and barriers for providers in the state? (b) Are there differences in identified needs and barriers between rural and urban providers? (c) Do certain agencies reportmore needs and barriers than others, and if so, what are the differences? Findings indicate that many of the needs and barriers identified by VSPs mirror those identified by previous research and that agencies serving rural communities report significantly more needed services than those who do not serve rural communities. Furthermore, approximately 30% of the sample was designated as “high need” due to reported needs and/or barriers exceeding the average of the rest of the sample. The high-need agencies were not exclusively rural in terms of agency location or population served. The potential nuances of rurality’s influence on VSPs in an overwhelmingly rural state are discussed.
... LGBTQIA þ survivors reporting crimes may furthermore be met by prejudiced language and victim blaming by detectives, resulting in reluctance to report crimes in general (Nadal et al., 2015). Immediate reporting is more likely for white survivors than racial minorities (Chen & Ullman, 2014;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Yet, Black women are more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to report (Fisher et al., 2003;Shaw & Lee, 2019) despite their racial group's higher levels of legal cynicism (Bell, 2016). ...
... Half of survivors who report to the police perceive the interaction as negative or harmful (Ahrens et al., 2007;Campbell et al., 2001;Patterson, 2011;Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2011), resulting in secondary victimization (Alderden & Ullman, 2012;Campbell, 2006Campbell, , 2008Patterson, 2011). Survivors experience dissatisfaction concerning police interactions such as the amount of information given (Frazier & Haney, 1996), victim blaming statements (Shaw et al., 2017;Ullman, 1996a;Ullman & Townsend, 2007), being discouraged from reporting or talking about the assault (Campbell & Raja, 2005;Ullman, 1996b), or being told that their experience is not serious enough to file a report (Campbell, 2006). Survivors who have positive experiences with the police describe the officers as courteous, helpful, respectful, and caring (Konradi, 2007;Logan et al., 2005;Patterson, 2011). ...
Article
Sexual assault is a highly underreported crime with many survivors feeling dissatisfied regarding their contact with the police. While procedural justice can improve police interactions, it has received little consideration concerning its potential to improve the experiences of sexual assault survivors. We explore the relationship between interactions with detectives during an investigation and survivors’ willingness to report to the police in the future through a procedural justice framework using a U.S. community sample of sexual assault survivors. Quantitative data show willingness to report future crimes when survivors perceived adherence to procedural justice in their interactions with the detective(s). Qualitative data indicated that future reporting was influenced by the treatment survivors received by the police as well as other factors (e.g., altruistic motives, ability to self-advocate). We discuss implications for policing practices based on our findings to improve access to justice for survivors that minimizes risk of secondary victimization.
... The literature on the psychological impact of trauma work (e.g., SACC work) has demonstrated that the potential for burnout and vicarious trauma are significant factors impacting these workers (see Slattery & Goodman, 2009). Ullman and Townsend (2007) have also found that worker burnout was a major factor affecting SACC workers' ability to help survivors (see also Martin, 2013). Broadly speaking, SACC workers are expected to help victims of sexual violence through short/long term counselling, by connecting them to resources to escape violence or to end violence, and eliminating sexual violence from society, their central focus is on victim/survivors of sexual violence (Martin 2013). ...
... As found by Guenther (2009;Ullman & Townsend 2007), the professionalization and funding of an SACC also influences the organization's willingness or ability to publicly label as "feminist" for it may influence their clientele (see Whalley & Hackett 2017;Corrigan 2013). When asked if a publicly funded place like the University SACC identifies as feminist, Sarah has the following to say: ...
Preprint
Since the emergence of the international #metoo movement in 2017, Canadian sexual assault crisis centres (SACCs) have experienced increased demands for services and advocacy (Global News 2018). As such, the emotions of the workers and volunteers, and in turn the guidance they provide to service users may be affected. The present study will consider how SACC workers’ emotions shape the support and guidance that they provide to service users, through specific consideration of the #metoo movement in Canada. I propose that the emotions and emotional labour of SACC staff and volunteers structure their punitive mentalities in ways that contribute to the expansion of carceral culture in Canadian SACCs. I will draw on literature surrounding emotional labour, SACC work, and emotions surrounding crime more broadly to examine the emotionally laden nature of anti-violence support and advocacy work.
... The impacts of sexual violence can include significant mental and physical health consequences, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), high rates of substance use, increased self-blame, and difficulties in daily functioning in social and work settings (Alvidrez, Shumway, Morazes, & Boccellari, 2011;Regehr, Alaggia, Dennis, Pitts, & Saini, 2013). Survivors of sexual violence report a range of service needs including crisis intervention, advocacy, and mental health treatment, and they see rape crisis centers (RCCs) as the most helpful services for meeting their needs after experiencing a sexual assault (Macy, Rizo, Johns, & Ermentrout, 2013;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). Yet, little is known about the service sector charged with supporting survivors of sexual assault as they face short-and long-term consequences of violence (Macy, Giattina, Sangster, Crosby, & Montijo, 2009;Martin, 2005). ...
... However, one clear dynamic within the RCC sector is the serious resource constraints faced by agencies seeking to serve survivors of sexual violence. Agencies that are understaffed and overcommitted face high rates of staff burnout and turnover, creating barriers to the implementation of optimal services for survivors (Macy et al., 2009;Maier, 2011;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). ...
Article
This study sought to open the black box of services at rape crisis centers (RCCs), particularly related to counseling, to better understand what is available to survivors in urban and rural settings. Findings from a survey of directors and counselors in Texas RCCs reveal a number of strengths: supporting services for survivors of sexual assault and insights that can help to further advance the implementation of evidence-based trauma treatments in this sector. Although many areas of congruence were found between urban and rural settings, differences were noted that have implications for implementation of evidence-based trauma treatments.
... Sexual assault advocates are well-positioned to provide this information, as they work with dozens of survivors at any given time and can therefore offer overarching reflections on what their clients have sought, accessed, and needed during the pandemic. Interviewing advocates in a common approach in research on sexual assault survivors' engagement with community services (see Annan, 2011;Campbell & Salem, 1999;Campbell, 1998Campbell, , 2005Campbell, , 2006Maier, 2007Maier, , 2012Moylan, 2017;Ullman & Townsend, 2007, 2008 and their perspectives may be especially valuable during the frequently changing landscape of COVID-19 service provision. ...
... However, it is unclear whether it would have been feasible to collect such data, given that our findings revealed that remote engagement with survivors was difficult during the pandemic. As previously stated, advocates are a reasonable proxy source of information and it is common within this literature to interview advocates as a source of information about sexual assault services (e.g., Campbell, 2006;Maier, 2008;Moylan, 2017;Ullman & Townsend, 2007). ...
Article
Sexual assault advocates provide support to survivors as they navigate medical, legal, housing, and other complex systems. However, social distancing measures enacted in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) forced changes to traditional advocacy services. The current study aimed to understand how the COVID‐19 pandemic transformed survivors' engagement with sexual assault advocacy services. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 12 sexual assault advocates from a community‐based advocacy organization in Detroit. Thematic analysis was employed to uncover emergent themes reflecting COVID‐19's impact on survivors' engagement with advocacy services. Three themes were identified: (1) Disruption to advocacy services; (2) difficulty obtaining tangible resources; and (3) desire for COVID‐related support, information, and resources. This study highlights the needs of sexual assault survivors during the COVID‐19 pandemic and explores how public health emergencies have the potential to exacerbate the needs of this vulnerable population. Implications and future directions for service provision and research are considered.
... Research efforts have highlighted stressful work environments, resource constraints, and high employee turnover in this social service sector (Merchant and Whiting 2015;Mor Barak et al. 2001). The IPV/SA workforce is also among the most at-risk professionals for burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) (Baird and Jenkins 2003;Busch-Armendariz et al. 2010;Slattery and Goodman 2009;Ullman and Townsend 2007;Wies 2008). Occupational conditions such low pay, lack of organizational support, and a hostile work environment can reduce job satisfaction and increase turnover intention, leading to retention concerns (Wood et al. 2019). ...
... Major factors linked to STS and burnout include lack of self-care, uncontrolled work stressors, unresolved trauma, and lack of job satisfaction (Radey and Figley 2007). Organizational factors including resource constraints, racism, bias, lack of control, high caseloads, and low quality of supervision are associated with higher levels of STS and burnout; individual factors such as age, time in the field, and insufficient leisure activities are also related (Wood et al. 2019;Dworkin et al. 2016;Kulkarni et al. 2013;Slattery and Goodman 2009;Ullman and Townsend 2007). Many workers in the IPV/SA field of work have themselves experienced violence or trauma (Wood 2016;Kulkarni et al. 2012;Slattery and Goodman 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
The intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) workforce faces significant occupational stressors yet little is known about positive occupational outcomes associated with this work. Therefore, this study analyzed factors associated with compassion satisfaction among the IPV/SA workforce in one southwestern U.S. state (n = 623). Drawing from the Resilience Portfolio Model (Grych et al. 2015), researchers examined the possible role of coping behaviors in mediating associations between compassion satisfaction and workplace resources / assets, perceived job security, and resilience. Analyses revealed partial mediation in the models that included workload, values, and resilience as independent variables, suggesting that these factors both influence workers’ coping behaviors and have an independent association with compassion satisfaction. Models investigating control, rewards, community, fairness, and perceived job security indicated significant total effects of the independent variables on compassion satisfaction. Overall, IPV/SA workers who engaged more frequently in a range of coping behaviors reported higher levels of compassion satisfaction. The findings point to implications for organizational and employee practice, including building in worktime for key individual coping behaviors, balancing workloads among staff members, and enhancing organizational level coping strategies, such as team supervision and team care planning.
... In considering the goals of DV shelters, we recognize that campaigns and organizations to end violence against women were largely built on the support of grassroots movements and volunteers (Campbell, Baker, & Mazurek, 1998;Crooks, Goodall, Hughes, Jaffe, & Baker, 2007). As such, the broad goals of DV shelters are typically based on the individual shelter and are strongly influenced by funding, availability of resources (Townsend & Campbell, 2007), where the funds are secured (i.e., institutional, donation; Ullman & Townsend, 2007), as well as geographical location (Lyon, Bradshaw, & Menard, 2011). Therefore, DV shelters are influenced by funding and outside forces, which can create heterogeneity among DV shelters in terms of goals and programming. ...
Article
With domestic violence shelters faced with the persistent and arduous challenge of intimate partner violence, using an online survey, we explored the experiences of 98 shelter workers, including their perceptions of shelter services. Findings revealed that a majority of respondents (94%) indicated that through their work, they have had a positive influence on shelter residents. Moreover, 68% agreed that shelters are successful with providing services that will aid women in becoming self-sufficient, and 94% would like to see shelters have a greater impact on helping women find the pathway to economic independence. Thirty-six and 39% of participants, respectively, endorsed items about compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, and slightly more than half (51%) were frustrated by their work. Challenges in the provision of services included lack of funding, housing, and mental health and communal living issues. Incorporation of wellness efforts and self-care practices are encouraged in order for shelter workers to reduce susceptibility to compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.
... The mean tenure ranges from 5 to 13 years among full-time workers (Babin et al., 2012;Baird & Jenkins, 2003;Bemiller & Williams, 2011;Dworkin et al., 2016;Slattery & Goodman, 2009). IPV ID:p0105 and sexual assault workers have been highlighted as some of the most at-risk groups for occupational stress such as burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS; Baird & Jenkins, 2003;Busch-Armendariz, Kalergis, & Garza, 2010;Slattery & Goodman, 2009;Ullman & Townsend, 2007;Wies, 2008). Burnout is described by feelings of hopelessness and difficulties in dealing with or doing one's job effectively. ...
Article
This study examined multi-level factors associated with turnover intention and job satisfaction among the intimate partner violence and sexual assault workforce. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis with data from 530 respondents. Key measures included turnover intention, job satisfaction, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion satisfaction, and areas of work–life fit. Regression analyses examined multi-level associations with turnover intention and job satisfaction. In the first model, lower satisfaction with supervision, higher burnout scores, lower salaries and identifying as African American were significantly associated with higher turnover intention. In the second model, workplace community and control, lower rates of secondary traumatic stress, and increased use of coping were associated with higher job satisfaction. Lower satisfaction with unpaid and paid leave predicted lower job satisfaction. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
... Selain itu, penyintas juga mendapatkan cacian dari masyarakat terutama terkait status anak yang di luar pernikahan. Sebab hambatan yang sering dialami oleh para perempuan penyintas kejahatan seksual adalah penyalahan (viktimisasi) terhadap korban, ketidakadilan sistem peradilan, dan layanan medis dan intervensi pendampingan kesehatan mental (46). Namun, berkat dukungan keluarga berupa kasih sayang dari kedua orangtua penyintas, hal ini membuat kulaitas hidup (quality of life) penyintas menjadi lebih baik lagi setelah kejadian yang dialami di masa lalu. ...
Article
Full-text available
Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengungkap bagaimana keadaan quality of life perempuan penyintas kekerasan seksual. Penelitian ini menggunakan pendekatan kualitatif dengan jenis penelitian studi kasus. Subyek penelitian ini adalah remaja perempuan penyintas kekerasan seksual peserta dampingan program kegiatan support group yang dilakukan oleh lembaga Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) Jombang. Secara umum temuan penelitian ini menujukkan bahwa para penyintas memiliki quality of life yang baik, hal itu ditunjukan dengan adanya penerimaan diri yang positif. Di samping itu para penyintas merasa telah berkurang rasa kecewa, sudah mulai dapat melupakan masa lalu, sudah mampu mengelola emosi, tidak merasa malu karena pernah menjadi korban kekerasan seksual, serta mulai memiliki keyakinan untuk bisa menjadi pribadi yang lebih baik dibandingkan dengan masa lalunya. Penyintas sudah mulai menerima dirinya yang sekarang, meski berbeda dengan perempuan remaja sebayanya yang bebas bersekolah dan bermain. Penyintas mampu menerima diri untuk mengurus anak dan menjalani tanggung jawab sebagai seorang ibu. Dengan dukungan sosial orang-orang terdekat, para penyintas yakin mampu menjalani hidup dengan lebih baik.
... However, the same study found that 54% of women reported receiving rape-related services from a physician outside of the hospital setting. Survivor and provider perceptions of barriers to timely medical and mental health care after a sexual assault primarily include lack of information about available resources, fears about cost for treatment especially in the context of lack of health insurance, the availability of services at night when rapes generally occur, issues with paperwork and insurance, insensitivity or inappropriateness of medical staff, or obtaining transportation to a provider (Logan et al., 2005;Ullman and Townsend, 2007). Individuals with private health insurance or governmental forms of health insurance have been shown to be twice as likely to seek mental health services after a sexual assault compared to individuals with no health insurance (Price et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Assembly Bill 1954 (introduced February 17, 2016) would require a DMHC-regulated plan or CDI-regulated policy to allow enrollees with coverage for reproductive and sexual health services to be covered for an OON provider if: (a) an in-network provider is unable to provide an appointment within 10 days of the initial request; (b) no in-network provider is available within a reasonable distance from the enrollee’s home or work address; or (c) a provider of the enrollee’s preferred gender is not available. Assembly Bill (AB) 1954 would require plans or policies that provide coverage for reproductive and sexual health services to all enrollees to obtain care at an out-of-network (OON) provider if timely access to an in-network provider is unavailable. • Enrollees covered. CHBRP estimates that in 2016, 18.3 million Californians have state-regulated coverage that would be subject to AB 1954. • Impact on expenditures. CHBRP estimates AB 1954 would increase total net annual expenditures by $22.5 million or 0.01% for enrollees with DMHC-regulated plans. • EHBs. AB 1954 does not expand or mandate coverage for services; the bill allows for access to out-of-network providers for reproductive and sexual health services for which an enrollee already has coverage. • Medical effectiveness. There is evidence to support the effectiveness of timely access to emergency contraception pills and IUD implantation to prevent pregnancy. There is also evidence that increasing access for services involving the collection of forensic evidence or emergency contraception following sexual assault or rape would increase the effectiveness of those services. • Benefit coverage. CHBRP estimates the percent of enrollees with coverage for reproductive and sexual health care services through OON providers under specified circumstances without a referral will increase from 32% to 100%. • Utilization. Postmandate, CHBRP does not estimate a change in overall utilization of reproductive and sexual health services. However, CHBRP estimates that the utilization of OON sexual health care services among the enrollees (15 years of age or older) will increase by 9%; and use of OON reproductive health care services by 8%. • Public Health. Potential public health outcomes: (1) earlier diagnosis and subsequent treatment of STDs/HIV, and consequently lower severity of disease and risk of exposing others to infection; (2) decreases in unintended pregnancy rates and less physical harm from miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy complications; and (3) more reliable evidence collection in the event of rapes and sexual assaults, which could lead to the apprehension of suspects before they attack others. • Long-term impacts. Long-term public health impacts may include consequences of the previously discussed short-term impacts, such as a lower birth rate, reduced prevalence of STDs/HIV, and more consistent evidence collection in rape/sexual assault cases leading to greater prosecution of the perpetrators, and reducing the risk/threat of sexual violence to nearby communities.
... [8] On the other hand, self-blame and avoidance is also commonly employed by sexual assault survivors, which creates a barrier for service providers focused on crisis intervention. [9] Patients using maladaptive coping mechanisms are more likely to engage in health-risk behaviors than those with appropriate mechanisms. Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and major depression are all correlated with coping styles related to avoidance. ...
Article
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There has been a dearth of studies in India regarding rape victims, and there is hardly any study which dealt with the coping styles and QOL of rape victims. Thus, this study is of special significance in advancing our scientific knowledge in the psychological management and rehabilitation of rape victims.
... For example, in a qualitative study of dating violence, Martin, Houston, Mmari, and Decker (2012) learned from African American teen and young adult women about their challenges with formal and informal systems of help and provided insight to develop youth-specific prevention and intervention programs. In another qualitative study of rape victim advocates, Ullman and Townsend (2007) identified systemic barriers to service provision-namely, staff burnout-as well as secondary victimization by the criminal justice, medical, and mental health systems. They found consistent "problems with access, availability, affordability, and acceptability of services" (p. ...
Article
This article delves into the views of 72 leaders in domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy, policy, service, and research to determine their vision for the future direction of the field. Through discussions with experts, we identified numerous strategies necessary to best meet the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Common themes focused on the need to (a) examine the context of victims’ and offenders’ experiences; (b) increase cultural competence to adequately provide appropriate victim services and criminal justice responses for underserved, marginalized, and culturally specific populations; (c) increase reliance on victims’ voices; (d) continue to develop partnerships at both the community and the state levels and ensure the role of local communities; (e) expand the concept of successful outcomes that can be reliably and validly assessed; (f) emphasize mixed-methods approaches to address these questions, in recognition that various methods complement each other; and (g) be open to novel or emerging approaches to intervention.
... The bulk of American victim services and related research continues to reflect these feminist concerns (e.g. Campbell, 2006;Kolb, 2014;Maier, 2008Maier, , 2012aMaier, , 2012bUllman;Ullman and Townsend, 2007;see Erez and Britz, 2006 for battered immigrant women). ...
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Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of victim-focused positions inside and outside the criminal justice system, yet little is known about the occupational characteristics and organizational context of this field in the United States. In this article, we draw on 42 semi-structured interviews with victim workers from a variety of settings and organizational affiliations in the midwestern USA to describe their pathways, activities, and challenges. The data reveal key differences among the experiences of those who were publicly employed, affiliated with the nonprofit sector and working independently. The findings underscore the significance of organizational affiliation in understanding victim work, the value of strong public/private partnerships, and the necessity of reforms to the organizational culture of criminal justice agencies to optimize victim experiences.
... They also found that perceived emotional support was negatively related to burnout. Additionally, qualitative research has indicated that advocates experience difficulty coping with occupational stress (Powell-Williams, White, & Powell-Williams, 2013), that advocates do not feel that the emotional work they do with clients is respected (Kolb, 2011), and that organizational barriers exist and staff burnout is a major barrier effecting advocates' ability to help survivors (Ullman & Townsend, 2007). ...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) among victim advocates and to determine if risk factors (for the development of STS) that have been cited in the literature (with other populations) are applicable to victim advocates. Methods: Data was collected from 135 victim advocates using an online survey. Results: The prevalence rate of STS among victim advocates is approximately 50% and risk factors include number of hours worked per week, direct service hours, and working with adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Discussion: Our results suggest that cumulative trauma exposure acts as risk factors to the development of STS among victim advocates. Conclusion: Intervention efforts for this population are sorely needed and the information gained from this study can be used to guide these intervention efforts.
... Legal reforms often have unanticipated consequences (Chesney-Lind 2002;Finley 1989;Corrigan 2013) and are often most advantageous to those who fit within the confines of the 'ideal victim' (Christie 1986). Across disciplines, scholars suggest victims' needs are often disregarded in the law and the individualized nature of their criminal cases leaves little opportunity for addressing systemic issues in the legal process (e.g., Maier 2008;Ullman and Townsend 2007). ...
Article
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Criminal justice responses to sexual violence have long been critiqued for either failing or further victimizing complainants. The ways that police can be complicit in these shortcomings is well documented, but less is known about how police officers themselves identify and understand the barriers to justice within the criminal justice system. In this article, we use data from 70 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups with sex crime investigators to explore police interpretations of the obstacles to achieving justice in cases of sexual violence. Our findings demonstrate that the majority of officers are critical of the present criminal justice response to sexual violence and are doubtful of its ability to provide a semblance of justice to the majority of victims.
... They often incorporate psychotherapeutic jargon and practices, such as supervised sessions of volunteers (Zilber, 2002). In addition, there is also a tendency to exclude or reduce nonprofessional staff, who possess important support resources, such as warmth and genuineness (Ullman & Townsend, 2007), and to underplay the feminist ideological emphasis of some centers on social activism in the fight against SA (Zilber, 2002). ...
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This qualitative study illuminates the experience of volunteering at sexual assault crisis centers among women survivors of sexual assault. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 women who had been volunteering at four different sexual assault crisis centers across Israel for 1 to 17 years. The findings reveal three main themes. First, there are five types of motivation to volunteer at such centers, all grounded in the participants' experience of sexual assault. Second, volunteering fosters recovery by promoting an empowered identity reconstruction and social integration. Third, both challenges and risks to recovery, such as exposure to sexual-assault triggers, arise from the experiences of sexual assault and volunteering at the centers. Moreover, the findings indicate various mechanisms that shape the risks-benefits dynamic involved in volunteering, such as the demands of the volunteering role. Thus, this study shifts the understanding of prosocial behavior by sexual-assault survivors from a binary assessment of "positive" or "negative" to a more comprehensive appraisal at the individual, role, and organizational levels.
... When women sought services, they tended to find them helpful when professionals validated their concerns and focused on the primary issue they brought to therapy, similar to prior research in women without disabilities. 39 Our study adds new information that SV/IPV victims with a disability commonly reacted negatively to services when therapists overemphasized SV/IPV (rather than the concern they brought to therapy), and tended to be upset when service providers attempted to transition the focus of treatment back to the SV/IPV experience away from other treatment concerns (e.g. academic concerns, mental health symptoms). ...
Article
Objective: To examine mental health service experiences following sexual violence (SV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization among college women with a disability. Participants: College women (n = 27, ages 19 to 24) with a disability who experienced at least one SV/IPV occurrence; interviewed July/August 2016. Methods: Qualitative study using in-depth interviews, with thematic analysis. Results: Women tended to wait several months (or did not seek care at all) following SV/IPV, because they downplayed their experience (e.g., not wanting to label an experience as "rape"). Those seeking services primarily did so because of escalating mental health concerns. Among service seekers, women were satisfied when professionals validated their experiences/concerns; and were dissatisfied when faced with extended wait time for care and/or professionals unskilled with SV/IPV and mental health. However, women still sought care following negative experiences. Conclusions: Improved access to integrated care for SV/IPV and mental health, along with skilled professionals, is essential.
... Survivors may find instructions or other people's experiences unmatched to their case even though they are valid, requiring further cognitive resources in addition to seeking information [50]. Exposure to such irrelevant information can delay problem-solving [17] and discourage them from accessing support centers [61]. On that account, prior findings in HCI suggest support(-seeking) systems tailor best possible support options of individual survivors [4]. ...
Preprint
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The lack of reliable, personalized information often complicates sexual violence survivors' support-seeking. Recently, there is an emerging approach to conversational information systems for support-seeking of sexual violence survivors, featuring personalization with wide availability and anonymity. However, a single best solution might not exist as sexual violence survivors have different needs and purposes in seeking support channels. To better envision conversational support-seeking systems for sexual violence survivors, we explore personalization trade-offs in designing such information systems. We implement a high-fidelity prototype dialogue-based information system through four design workshop sessions with three professional caregivers and interviewed with four self-identified survivors using our prototype. We then identify two forms of personalization trade-offs for conversational support-seeking systems: (1) specificity and sensitivity in understanding users and (2) relevancy and inclusiveness in providing information. To handle these trade-offs, we propose a reversed approach that starts from designing information and inclusive tailoring that considers unspecified needs, respectively.
... Given that context, researchers may instead use proxy respondents, such as the service providers themselves (e.g., police, doctors, and nurses) and/or victim advocates who assist survivors during their interactions with the legal and medical systems. Advocates-typically volunteers or paid staff who receive specialized training to provide emotional support and resources to help survivors navigate such systems-are a common proxy data source because they have direct observation of victims' help-seeking interactions and may also be privy to survivors' thoughts and feelings (Annan, 2011;Campbell, 1998Campbell, , 2005Campbell, , 2006Campbell & Salem, 1999;Maier, 2007Maier, , 2012Moylan, 2017;Ullman & Townsend, 2007, 2008. Proxy data collection with service providers and/or advocates has practical advantages too: human service professionals are easier for researchers to access and have higher participation rates than do survivors who are recruited for research during postassault helpseeking (see Campbell et al., 2011 for a review). ...
Article
In research on sexual assault victims' help-seeking, proxy data sources are often utilized because outreach to survivors immediately postassault may increase a study's risk-to-benefit ratio. Victim advocates and services providers are common proxy respondents, but empirical research comparing the accuracy of their information is needed. We collaborated with seven sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs to collect de-identified, paired data from nurses and advocates regarding the help-seeking experiences of N = 744 adult victims. Using pairwise McNemar tests, we found statistically significant agreement on victim demographics, assault characteristics, and victims' decisions regarding medical forensic exams, sexual assault kit (SAK) collection, and release of SAKs for forensic DNA testing. Nurses and advocates had different information regarding victims' disclosure histories and their reasons for seeking SANE care.
... Despite the new visibility of sexual violence that the #MeToo moment has delivered, a deficit of meaningful care endures. The forms of compassion and 'support' that can be accessed through the mediated #MeToo movement often appear hollow and insubstantial when held up against the material pressures that often bear down on women who've lived through sexual violence -among them, the specter of unemployment (Loya 2015), strained access to public services (Anderson and Overby 2020;Postmus et al. 2009;Ullman and Townsend 2007), and costs associated with medical testing and care (Andrews 2019;Tennessee et al. 2017). The value of belief is determined by what it can actually accrue for the person who has been victimized -though Arabella's publishers don't doubt or deny that Arabella has been raped, she nonetheless faces a professional crisis and mounting debt. ...
Article
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Between 2019 and 2020, three streaming series premiered on Netflix, Apple+, and BBC One/HBO: Unbelievable, The Morning Show, and I May Destroy You. All three narratively centered sexual violence against women, foregrounding the experiences of the women characters, and were produced within the context of the global movement #MeToo. We offer a conjunctural analysis of these programs within what we call the economy of believability, arguing that these shows should be read as fictionalized real-world phenomena, distilled for television but nonetheless reflective of deeply sedimented assumptions about women, sexual violence, and believability. We argue that the programs examine the struggle for belief as it manifests in three key forms of labor: (1) the affective performance of believability; (2) payment of the costs of believability; (3) entrepreneurially attaching value to believability. Our analysis positions the discourses and narratives of these shows—and of the real-world contexts they speak to—within the broader frame of a mediated, intersectional economy of believability, where contestations about how and when women may be believed play out in and through struggles over visibility, authenticity, and recognition.
Article
A burgeoning body of scholarship is attempting to understand, normalize, and ameliorate the emotional strain of victim service provision. The literature, however, has yet to fully theorize the hazardous process of empathetic engagement with victims. As a result, concepts, mechanisms, and outcomes are often conflated, making it difficult to understand the etiological path of this occupational risk. The goal of this article is to attend to this gap by accomplishing three objectives. The first is to engage with the perspective of symbolic interaction to theoretically ground a conceptual model of secondary trauma. The second objective is to propose a model of secondary trauma that acknowledges its inherently interactional, interpretive, and, thus, vicariously transmissible nature. The third objective is to begin the work of empirically supporting this model with data from a sample of victim service providers (n = 94) collected using in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic participant observation, and community-based participatory research. Our findings suggest that victim service provision, in the form of empathetic engagement, can blur the boundary between self and other, and lead to a sense of damage in the self that manifests in unreliable self-agency, untrustworthy coherence of other, desensitized self-affectivity, and fractured self-history. This work has significant implications. We illustrate an important paradox by showing how victim service provision can be helpful to victims but harmful to providers. We also offer a pathway for reducing this harm. By specifying mechanisms of damage, the model can be used to inform policies and practices supportive of victim service providers’ health and well-being.
Article
Background: Sexual and reproductive healthcare services (SRHS) are an environment where medical care relevant to sexual violence and abuse (SV) is available. However, barriers to disclosure need to be overcome to allow timely access to this care. There is limited research identifying and explaining how interventions remove barriers and create a safe and supportive environment for disclosure. The purpose of this review was to develop and refine theories that explain how, for whom and in what context SRHS facilitate disclosure. Methods: Following published realist standards we undertook a realist review. After focussing the review question and identifying key contextual barriers, articles pertaining to these were identified using a traditional systematic database search. This strategy was supplemented with iterative searches. Results: Searches yielded 3172 citations, and 28 articles with sufficient information were included to develop the emerging theories. Four evidence-informed theories were developed proposing ways in which a safe and supportive environment for the disclosure of SV is enabled in SRHS. The theories consider how interventions may overcome barriers surrounding SV disclosure at individual, service-delivery and societal levels. Conclusions: Benefits of SRHS engagement with health promotion and health activism activities to address societal level barriers like lack of service awareness and stereotypic views on SV are presented. Although trauma informed practice and person-centred care were central in creating a safe and supportive environment for disclosure the review found them to be poorly defined in this setting.
Article
This article explores the politics and contingencies of care provided to survivors of sexual assault on a rape crisis hotline in the U.S.’s mid‐Atlantic region. The support provided to survivors on the hotline represents a crisis of care, one fomented by the victim services sector's failure to address the limitations of a crisis‐oriented paradigm or survivors’ chronic trauma. The tension between the survivor‐centered model of the hotline and the mental health needs of clients represents a friction of utility—a misalignment between the care hotline advocates provide and the support survivors seek. The anonymous care and internal contradictions of the hotline also results in high rates of vicarious trauma for advocates. Given the polysemic dimensions of care exhibited on the hotline, the service represents a form of negative care, one that accounts for gaps in survivors’ care yet still fails to empower proactive means of recovery. [sexual violence, trauma, care] This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Interactions between emergency department (ED) staff and sexual assault (SA) survivors can be a source of retraumatization for survivors, increasing their risk of posttraumatic stress and decreasing utilization of longitudinal medical care. Little is known about nationwide trends in ED staff attitudes and behaviors toward survivors, including the impact of survivor identity. We conducted a survey to determine if survivor identity influenced ED staff behaviors. A nationwide survey of SA patient advocates was conducted between June and August 2021. Advocates are volunteers or staff dispatched from rape crisis centers to support survivors during ED care. Advocates participated in an online survey to determine the frequency of observing six potentially retraumatizing provider attitudes and behaviors. Adaptive questioning was used to explore the impact of survivor identity on each attitude or behavior and which identity groups were more likely to be affected. Three hundred fifteen advocates responded to the survey. Less than 10% indicated that ED staff often or always convey disbelief or blame to survivors. Almost 75% of advocates indicated that they often or always observe ED staff showing empathy to survivors. Disparities were found in provider attitudes. Over 75% of advocates observed that survivors’ mental health status or substance use impacted conveyed belief from providers. Patients who were intoxicated when assaulted, had psychiatric disorders, were Black, Hispanic/LatinX, or indigenous, or were not cis-females were more likely to experience disbelief. Patients who were white and/or cis-gender females were more likely to be pressured by ED staff to complete the forensic exam and/or report to the police. Our study documents disparities in ED staff behavior towards SA survivors according to survivor identity. Given that post-assault ED interactions are critical turning points in survivors’ future medical processes, disparities in ED care may be linked to larger disparities in healing from trauma.
Article
While rape crisis center (RCC) advocacy is generally regarded as valuable, there are no prior systematic reviews of the advocacy literature. This review examined RCC advocacy service provision, perceptions and impact of advocacy, and challenges and facilitators to effective service provision. Databases related to health and social sciences were searched including Academic Search Complete, PsychINFO, PubMed, CINAHL, ProQuest, Science Direct, OAlster, WorldCat, and MEDLINE. Empirical articles written in English that examined RCC advocacy service provision and/or impact in the US were included. The researchers reviewed abstracts and titles, and then full texts. Forty-five articles met criteria, were summarized, and double checked. Findings demonstrate advocacy is multi-faceted, beneficial, and challenging. Advocates work directly with survivors and interact with other responders on behalf of survivors. Specifically, advocates provide emotional support, safety plan, support survivors in making decisions, and assist them in navigating other systems. While advocates are generally regarded positively by survivors and responders, some responders have concerns about advocates. In addition, advocates sometimes report victim-blaming and being ill-equipped to meet survivors’ needs. Finally, advocates face specific challenges in their work with survivors and responders. Future research using diverse methodological approaches is needed to understand advocacy utilization and reach; survivors’ perceptions of advocacy; marginalized survivors’ experiences; connections between specific services, implementation, and outcomes; and effective strategies for advocates’ interactions with other responders. Additional resources to help advocates serve all survivors effectively and equitably; to support evaluator-practitioner partnerships; and to share unpublished data on advocacy may help contribute to improvements in advocacy practice.
Article
Counselors in Rape Crisis Centers (RCCs) provide crucial services to survivors of sexual violence. However, little is known about RCCs, including the treatment goals and assessment strategies of counselors. Counselors in all Texas RCCs ( n = 83) were invited to participate in a web-based survey. Participants were asked to indicate which treatment goals they frequently identified and assessed, as well as their usual assessment techniques. Counselors endorsed treatment goals around self-esteem, empowerment, and relational functioning, along with trauma and mental health. Fewer counselors endorsed goals around drugs/alcohol or school/work/sexual functioning. Few counselors reported use of standardized measures. Counselors in urban settings were more likely to endorse goals related to mental health. There are discrepancies between counselors’ goals and how often outcomes are assessed. Increased assessment could promote the provision of effective services and access to funding.
Article
Counselors in Rape Crisis Centers (RCCs) provide crucial services to survivors of sexual violence. However, little is known about RCCs, including the treatment goals and assessment strategies of counselors. Counselors in all Texas RCCs (n = 83) were invited to participate in a web-based survey. Participants were asked to indicate which treatment goals they frequently identified and assessed, as well as their usual assessment techniques. Counselors endorsed treatment goals around self-esteem, empowerment, and relational functioning, along with trauma and mental health. Fewer counselors endorsed goals around drugs/alcohol or school/work/sexual functioning. Few counselors reported use of standardized measures. Counselors in urban settings were more likely to endorse goals related to mental health. There are discrepancies between counselors' goals and how often outcomes are assessed. Increased assessment could promote the provision of effective services and access to funding.
Article
A telephone and e-mail helpline known as the Consultation Service, open to all the public, was launched at a Dutch Centre for Sexual Violence to deal with non-acute sexual violence. The aim of this study was to gain insight into case characteristics, reasons for contacting the Consultation Service and whether these reasons differed for victims, their relatives and professionals. Using a mixed methods design, the study included all consultations handled at the Consultation Service in 2018 and 2019. Descriptive statistics described quantitatively the case characteristics, the themes and differences between victims, relatives and professionals. The themes of the reasons for contact were established from the qualitative analysis, using the method of content analysis. Cases were characterised by complexity. Three themes emerged: case complexity, decision-making on care options and reporting to the police, which differed for victims, relatives and professionals. The differences in reasons for contacting the helpline imply that approaches should be adapted and fitted to different clients. Specialised care is needed to guide clients through cases that are challenging and often complex. There is a widespread lack of knowledge of options in addition to the complex multifaceted aspects to decision making about actions post-assault. Assault centres should implement a Consultation Service in which integrated care is offered not only to the victims, but also to their relatives and professionals.
Article
Previous research suggested the benefits for sexual assault survivors to talk about their trauma and its mental health implications, but it remained unclear what steps sexual assault survivors need to take to be able to have these conversations. To address this gap in the literature, this study aims to explore the journeys of sexual assault survivors with the use of narrative interviews to retain the richness of the data. This study reports the findings of a narrative analysis of the accounts of six female sexual assault survivors aged between 20 and 38. The analysis provides an individual case profile for each participant, the core aspects and tone of each narrative, and a cross-case analysis. The cross-case analysis reveals an overarching theme of “the bumpy journey” within which the individual difficulties encountered are examined. The analysis also reveals the two main factors that motivated the participant to strive to make a difference for other sexual violence survivors and to improve their mental health through talking about their experiences. The implications for services providing continuous and long-term support to sexual assault survivors and clinical practices are discussed.
Article
Determining the influence of irrelevant victim information on potential jurors is particularly important in the current age of social media. The present study explored the effects of pretrial publicity concerning the complainant shared via social media posts, mock juror sex, and rape myth acceptance on mock juror judgments in a sexual assault case. One hundred and fifty-six community members residing in the United States (77 males, 78 females, 1 decline to answer) over the age of 18 were randomly assigned to view either pro-complainant (n = 52), anti-complainant (n = 53), or control (n = 51) messaging in social media posts before reading a mock sexual assault trial transcript, completing a post-trial questionnaire, and answering questions about rape myth acceptance. Results indicated that participants in the anti-complainant condition were significantly less likely to select a guilty verdict compared to the control condition. Male participants and those that believed consent was present were also significantly less likely to select a guilty verdict. Moreover, participants with higher rape myth acceptance were more likely to believe that the complainant had consented. Results highlight social media as a potential source of exposure of inadmissible pretrial information that may influence trial outcomes.
Article
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Male-on-male rape remains an under-researched area, and little is known about the characteristics and outcomes of this type of crime. This study examines 122 rape cases involving young adult and adult male victims reported to the London Metropolitan Police Service between 2005 and 2012. Overall, there were a number of similarities with cases involving female victims; however, male cases were more likely to involve strangers, substance use, and a victim with mental health issues, alluding to specific vulnerabilities. Moreover, younger victims, victims with poor mental health, and victims who had consumed alcohol or drugs were less likely to have their cases referred to prosecutors and more likely to be ‘no-crimed’ by police. This paper provides unique insight into the profile and trajectories of male-on-male rape cases, and preliminary recommendations for both police practice and future research are provided.
Article
Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is a prevalent phenomenon, yet an under-researched topic. Due to the complex nature of balancing love and fear, individuals who experience IPSV have unique needs and face unique barriers to seeking care. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the literature on help-seeking and barriers to care in IPSV. Articles were identified through PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Search terms included terms related to IPSV, intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape. The review was limited to the United States, and articles that were included needed to specifically measure or identify sexual violence in an intimate relationship and analyze or discuss IPSV in relation to help-seeking behaviors or barriers to care. Of the 17 articles included in this review, 13 were quantitative studies and four were qualitative studies. Various definitions and measurements of IPSV across studies included in this review make drawing broad conclusions challenging. Findings suggest that experiencing IPSV compared to experiencing nonsexual IPV (i.e., physical or psychological IPV) may increase help-seeking for medical, legal, and social services while decreasing help-seeking for informal support. Help-seeking can also reduce risk of future IPSV and decrease poor mental health outcomes. Barriers to seeking care in IPSV included social stigma, fear, and difficulty for individuals in identifying IPSV behaviors in their relationships as abuse. More inclusive research is needed among different populations including men, non-White individuals, nonheterosexual, and transgender individuals. Suggestions for research, practice, and policies are discussed.
Chapter
This chapter uses guidelines produced by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) for the reporting of violence against women to analyse four articles published in The Guardian and Daily Mail about the allegations of sexual violence made against Harvey Weinstein. Two articles were published when the allegations first emerged in October 2017, and two were published when Weinstein appeared in court in June 2018. The chapter demonstrates that guidelines for reporting on violence against women were rarely followed and, as such, offers advice for how journalists can ensure they are reporting sensitively on violence against women.
Chapter
Garibotti and Hopp analyze the impact of #MeToo on Argentine feminist mobilization. Even though anti-rape politics did not advance in any meaningful way after the social media uprising, #MeToo provided feminists with an opportunity to access mainstream media and discuss their local agenda, namely the legalization of abortion. Due to the influence of #NiUnaMenos, another social media campaign that commenced in 2015, by the time #MeToo was launched in 2017, feminist movements were highly organized, had a clear agenda and used the occasion to push for the legalization of abortion. The chapter illuminates an understanding of #MeToo as a movement that provided a new arena for women’s voices and new ways of organizing feminist mobilization. Ultimately, the chapter reveals that #MeToo’s scope has the potential of offering a broader, more substantial agenda than just sexual harassment.
Article
Rape crisis centers largely rely on volunteers for delivering emergency room advocacy to survivors of sexual assault. Volunteer advocates bear witness to trauma as part of their role, such as when listening to details of sexual assault. This exposure may negatively affect advocates long term, which may lead to secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization, and possibly reduce their ability to provide quality services and remain in their role. In addition, some advocates may be survivors of sexual assault themselves. Survivors may differentially experience the toll of advocacy work. The present qualitative study sought to identify stressors that advocates face within their role, aspects of stressors unique to survivors who advocate, and the effects of stressors on advocates. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 current volunteer advocates, 11 of whom identified as survivors, from three rape crisis centers. Findings demonstrated stressors associated with self-evaluation; rules or expectations of the role (including the crisis nature of the role); witnessing lack of client support; helplessness around sexual assault as a systems issue; identifying with the client; witnessing the physical and emotional impact on clients; and being reminded of their own assault. Results also revealed how these stressors and advocacy overall influenced advocates. Unique aspects of stressors to survivors arose in the way advocates experienced the stressors. In addition, survivors exclusively described being reminded of past trauma within advocacy work. Findings have implications for supporting advocate well-being by better understanding the stressors that may lead to negative outcomes and informing individual coping, training, and overall organizational support of advocates. Such measures may ensure retention of volunteers and maintain quality advocacy services.
Article
Research with survivors of sexual violence suggests that most do not seek supportive services from community organizations. The purpose of this study is to understand the unique barriers that service providers, who are also survivors of sexual violence, may experience and how it informs their work with survivors. We conducted semi‐structured interviews with 19 female, trans, and nonbinary survivors of sexual violence who are also employed as domestic violence or sexual assault advocates, community organizers, therapists, health care providers, educators, or substance abuse counselors, and had worked with survivors of sexual violence in their current positions. We coded the data using a multistep strategy derived from grounded theory. Participants indicated sensitivity to community‐level barriers including where services are offered, perceived cost of services, and taking time off of work. Internalized blame, shame, minimization of their experiences, and trauma were also mentioned as significant barriers for themselves and impacted their work with survivors. Our findings suggest a need for trauma‐informed intervention in community practice and policy.
Article
Justice for sex crimes is particularly complex due to the differences between victim needs and the operations of the criminal justice system. This study, using 70 semi-structured interviews and 2 focus groups from Canadian police departments, shows that Canadian police officers use characteristics from both procedural and distributive concepts of justice when responding and dealing with victims of sex crimes. We show that building trust, inclusion in the process, and upholding individual treatment needs are compelling components of police response that garner victim agency and satisfaction. As a result, victims are more satisfied with the process and outcomes of their cases, and through reconstructing success, so are police officers. Our discussion of a pluralistic approach captures how police officers justify and negotiate distributive and procedural justice in their responses to sex crime victims. Unlike research that focuses on the adverse treatment of victims, this paper finds promising changes in Canadian police officers’ conceptualization of justice for victims.
Technical Report
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Rape crisis centers provide crisis counseling, victim advocacy, mental health services, and community education free at the point of service in Illinois. This study sought to understand how Illinois rape crisis centers were affected by the two-year state budget impasse (2015 to 2017), during which many social service programs were unsupported by state funding. Analyzing administrative data from 29 rape crisis centers, we found statistically significant yet minimal decreases in hours of service provided to victims for criminal justice advocacy, individual counseling, and telephone counseling. Findings showed that despite substantial funding loss during the budget impasse, rape crisis centers managed to continue serving sexual violence survivors though several service categories were affected. Findings underscored the effect state budgets can have on service provision, the importance of unrestricted funds, and the need for rape crisis centers to initiate budget planning and resource development to the best of their abilities to be prepared for, and overcome, future fiscal crises. This study is especially salient given the economic downturn projected due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which may hit state budgets particularly hard.
Article
Police interviewers find the investigation of sexual crimes ‘technically difficult’ and ‘stressful’ to conduct by having to make sense of very powerful and painful emotions. In addition, such interviews often contain inappropriate as opposed to appropriate questions and interviewers often find it difficult to be ‘attentive’ to the specific needs of victims. Through the analysis of interviews with adult rape victims (N = 25) in England, we wanted to establish whether the ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of investigation relevant information (IRI) obtained would be impacted as a function of different question typologies (e.g. appropriate versus inappropriate), and overall interviewer attentiveness. We hypothesised that: (i) more inappropriate questions would be asked compared to appropriate questions; (ii) responses to appropriate questions would contain more items of IRI than responses to inappropriate questions; (iii) attentive interviews would contain more appropriate questions than non-attentive interviews, and; (iv) attentive interviews would contain more IRI than non-attentive interviews. Results found that interviewers asked significantly more appropriate questions that elicited significantly more items of IRI. However, there were no significant differences in the number of appropriate questions asked or the impact on the amount of IRI obtained between interviews as a function of interviewer attentiveness. Implications for practice are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Intimate partner violence (IPV) social workers are at elevated risk of developing post-traumatic stress resulting from ongoing exposure to potentially distressing client disclosures. Workplace social support (WSS) may play a role in moderating that risk. This study used the interpretive phenomenological analysis approach to gain understanding about the phenomenon of WSS from the perspective of IPV social workers. Perceptions of having received WSS, or that WSS was available, were formed by worker’s specific needs being met and by their having access to support people with disciplinary skills. The theory of mentalization is advanced here as a framework from which to understand the processes leading to IPV social worker perceptions of WSS. Implications for social work practice and further research are presented.
Chapter
This chapter outlines briefly the dynamics of the interplay between Child Sexual Abuse and Family. Child abuse is a state of emotional, physical, economic and sexual maltreatment meted out to a person below the age of eighteen and is a globally prevalent phenomenon. Child abuse is a violation of the basic human rights of a child and is an outcome of a set of inter-related familial factors among other ones. The primary focus is on the issues of intrafamilial and extrafamilial child sexual abuse, familial risk factors for abuse and broadly some theories that contribute to the understanding of intrafamilial child sexual abuse. The chapter also explores reactions of the family to the sexually abused child, evaluation of the interventions suitable for the same and the status of psychotherapy with respect to the sexually abused child and their family.
Chapter
This chapter outlines briefly the dynamics of the interplay between Child Sexual Abuse and Family. Child abuse is a state of emotional, physical, economic and sexual maltreatment meted out to a person below the age of eighteen and is a globally prevalent phenomenon. Child abuse is a violation of the basic human rights of a child and is an outcome of a set of inter-related familial factors among other ones. The primary focus is on the issues of intrafamilial and extrafamilial child sexual abuse, familial risk factors for abuse and broadly some theories that contribute to the understanding of intrafamilial child sexual abuse. The chapter also explores reactions of the family to the sexually abused child, evaluation of the interventions suitable for the same and the status of psychotherapy with respect to the sexually abused child and their family.
Article
Emergency departments (EDs) providing care and forensic examinations for sexual assault (SA) survivors are often supported by SA patient advocates. This study explored advocates’ perspectives regarding problems and potential solutions in SA patient care through a focus group with 12 advocates. Thematic analysis identified two major themes: provider–patient interactions and ED–hospital systems. Challenging aspects of provider–patient interactions included (a) provider attitudes and (b) disempowering behaviors. Within ED–hospital systems, themes included time constraints, efficiencies, and hospital preparation. Advocates surveyed were optimistic about an increased presence of SA nurse examiners and enhanced protocols and provider training to improve survivors’ experiences.
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Discusses some of the special problems associated with collaboration between advocates and researchers on research on violence against women. The imminent threat of harm to those who are subjects of study makes high-quality, accurate research especially important. The policy implications of research findings mean that it is critical that research not be victim blaming. The benefits of collaboration are many, including improved research designs, enhanced research implementation, and more accurate interpretation of findings. It is concluded that despite its many challenges, collaboration may be the best way to develop meaningful research findings that address the difficult problem of violence against women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined the effects of postassault contact with community systems on rape victims' psychological and physical health distress. 102 adult rape survivors (average age 34.29 yrs) completed interviews concerning: (1) type of rape; (2) injuries, weapon used, and alcohol use by the victim; (3) postassault community help seeking, postassault contact with legal, medical, mental-health, rape crisis centers, or religious communities; (4) perceived secondary victimization; and (5) health outcomes. Results show that the majority of Ss who reported their assault to the legal or medical system did not receive needed services. These difficulties with service delivery were associated with both perceived and objective measures of negative health outcomes. Contact with the mental health system, rape crisis centers, or religious communities were generally perceived by victims as beneficial. Ethnic minority Ss and victims of non-stranger rape experienced difficulties when trying to obtain needed services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The question of whether a relationship exists between the therapists' level of experience or training and psychotherapy outcome has numerous implications for clinical training and practice. A comprehensive examination and meta-analysis of available research suggests that answers to this question are complex and problematic. The present review considers the question of the relationship between experience and outcome as it relates to a number of therapist, client, treatment, and methodological variables. This paper also considers past attempts by reviewers to summarize studies that sought to address this issue. In addition, it examines variables that helped predict whether a study's results favored (to varying degrees) experienced clinicians versus less-trained persons. A discussion of prominent methodological problems and recommendations for future research is also offered.
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This study investigated whether aspects of burnout in clinical staff in community mental health agencies were systematically related to aspects of leadership behavior and quality of supervision of clinical supervisors. Burnout was measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, leadership behavior was measured by the Leadership Practices Inventory, and clinical supervision by a scale constructed by the authors. Significant, though moderate relationships were found between the measures, and the implications for an organizational model of burnout, as well as prevention of burnout in mental health professionals are discussed.
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Success rates of psychotherapists were compared across each of four treatment outcome studies, with results indicating: 1) considerable difference between therapists in their average success rates; 2) considerable variability in outcome within the caseload of individual therapists; 3) little support for the widely held view that certain therapists are best for certain kinds of patients; and 4) variations in success rate typically have more to do with the therapist than with the type of treatment.
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Rape crisis centers have undergone significant changes since their birth during the feminist movement of the 1970s. As has happened with many other radical social movements, there is growing evidence that the antirape movement has become more institutionalized. This research used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the current structure and functions of a national random sample of 168 rape crisis centers. An organizational-level model predicting involvement in three types of social change activities was tested: (a) participation in public demonstrations to raise awareness about sexual assault; (b) political lobbying for violence against women legislation; and (c) primary prevention programs to eliminate sexual violence against women. Results of logit modeling suggested that how long a rape crisis center had been in existence moderated the relationships between organizational characteristics and involvement in community activism. Findings of this study suggest that although many of today's centers bear little resemblance to the grass-roots collectives of years past, rape crisis centers have been remarkably adaptive in weathering changing political climates to continue to provide comprehensive services for rape victims.
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This research examined how the legal, medical, and mental health systems respond to the needs of rape victims. A national random sample of rape victim advocates (N = 168) participated in a phone interview that assessed the resources available to victims in their communities, as well as the specific experiences of the most recent rape victim with which they had completed work. Results from hierarchical and iterative cluster analysis revealed three patterns in victims' experiences with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. One group of victims had relatively positive experiences with all three systems, a second group had beneficial outcomes with only the medical systems, and the final group had difficult encounters with all three systems. Multinominal logistic regression was then used to evaluate an ecological model predicting cluster membership. Community-level factors as well as features of the assault and characteristics of the victims predicted unique variance in victims' outcomes with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. These findings provide empirical support for a basic tenet of ecological theory: environmental structures and practices influence individual outcomes. Implications for ecological theory and interventions to improve the community response to rape victims' needs are discussed.
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This research examined how contact with the legal, medical, and mental health systems affects rape survivors' psychological well-being. Although community services may be beneficial for some victims, there is increasing evidence that they can add trauma, rather than alleviate distress (termed secondary victimization). This study examined how secondary victimization affects rape survivors' posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. Adaptive and snowball sampling were used to recruit a sample of 102 rape survivors. Victims of nonstranger rape who received minimal assistance from either the legal or medical system, and encountered victim-blaming behaviors from system personnel, had significantly elevated levels of PTS. This high-risk group of rape survivors had PTS levels significantly higher than all other victims in this study, including those who did not seek community assistance postrape. However, for these high-risk rape survivors, receiving sustained mental health services after these negative experiences was associated with a significant decrease in PTS.
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This article presents the descriptive results of a statewide evaluation of hotline, advocacy, and counseling services provided to sexual assault victims in Illinois. Collaborative efforts of a multidisciplinary research team and sexual assault service providers resulted in victim-sensitive evaluation measures and data that reflect, for the first time, the collective impact of services on rape victims across the state of Illinois. Results of the evaluation suggest that, overall, services provided to rape victims provided support, increased information and knowledge, and helped victims to understand options and make decisions. The evaluation approach is notable for its collaborative nature and its sensitivity to rape victims during help-seeking and delivery; however, due to the high levels of distress common among rape survivors, some evaluation methods may not be appropriate for crisis intervention services such as hotline or advocacy. Implications for future evaluation research and policy are noted.
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Demographics, assault variables, and postassault responses were analyzed as correlates of PTSD symptom severity in a sample of 323 sexual assault victims. Regression analyses indicated that less education, greater perceived life threat, and receipt of more negative social reactions upon disclosing assault were each related to greater PTSD symptom severity. Ethnic minority victims reported more negative social reactions from others. Victims of more severe sexual victimization reported fewer positive, but more negative reactions from others. Greater extent of disclosure of the assault was related to more positive and fewer negative social reactions. Telling more persons about the assault was related to more negative and positive reactions. Implications of these results for developing contextual theoretical models of rape‐related PTSD are discussed.
Article
This research examined how the legal, medical, and mental health systems respond to the needs of rape victims. A national random sample of rape victim advocates (N = 168) participated in a phone interview that assessed the resources available to victims in their communities. as well as the specific experiences of the most recent rape victim with which they had completed work. Results from hierarchical and iterative cluster analysis revealed three patterns in victims' experiences with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. One group of victims had relatively positive experiences with all three systems, a second group had beneficial outcomes with only the medical systems, and the final group had difficult encounters with all three systems. Multinominal logistic regression was then used to evaluate an ecological model predicting cluster membership. Community‐level factors as well as features of the assault and characteristics of the victims predicted unique variance in victims' outcomes with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. These findings provide empirical support for a basic tenet of ecological theory: environmental structures and practices influence individual outcomes. Implications for ecological theory and interventions to improve the community response to rape victims' needs are discussed.
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Despite the proliferation of rape crisis centers and other improvements in the treatment of rape victims over the past 20 years, many victims still find themselves the victims of what has been called a "second rape" by doctors, lawyers, judges, police, and administrators that process them. This book takes a critical look at the organizations and officials that process rape victims to see how the structure of their respective organizations often prevent them from providing responsive care.
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The author examines the social construction of racial-ethnic identity and expectations for alliances based on identity in two feminist organizations. She considers the conditions in which assumed alliances work and fail, finding that race played a different role in the search for friendship and political connection among white women and among women of color. Women of color saw racial alliances as crucial in settings dominated by whites and often felt betrayed when alliances failed. White women did not speak of their connections with one another as racial alliances, nor did they express betrayal when they failed. When assumed alliances failed, women were often surprised by unanticipated cross-racial connections. Such connections provided insight to the politically constructed nature of all alliances, even those based on identities. These insights, created in and through the differences between these activists, represent the opportunity for chosen alliances, what June Jordan calls “partnerships for change.”
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This research explores the emotional reactions of a rarely studied group of women who work closely with survivors of sexual violence: rape victim advocates. Women who assist rape victims in obtaining medical, criminal justice, and mental health services were interviewed about their experiences, and qualitative analysis was used to delineate the situational context of the advocates' emotional reactions. Results indicate that respondents experienced anger and fear in response to both individual (e.g., a perpetrator's menacing glare) and environmental (e.g., community denial of a problem) cues. Additionally, some experienced rape victim advocates perceived their emotional reactions to be an important part of their work with rape victims. These findings suggest that intense emotional reactions, previously conceptualized within a vicarious trauma framework, may at times serve as resources for women working with rape survivors.
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The primary purpose of this study was to assess the effects on counselors of working with sexual violence survivors. Members of a women psychologists' organization and a group of sexual violence counselors completed questionnaires regarding the extent of their work with survivors and their psychological functioning. Counselors who had a higher percentage of survivors in their caseload reported more disrupted beliefs, (particularly about the goodness of other people), more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and more self-reported vicarious trauma. Symptomatology was not related to counselors' own history of victimization. Qualitative data regarding difficult and enjoyable aspects of working with survivors also were gathered, along with data on the strategies used by counselors to cope with work-related stress. Implications for counselor training are discussed.
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Considerable research suggests that social support plays a crucial role in coping with stressful life events. The present study used data from 3,132 randomly selected survey respondents to investigate the use and helpfulness of seven potential social support sources in coping with a particular life crisis: sexual assault. About two-thirds of the 447 sexually assaulted respondents had told someone about the assault. Over half had talked to a friend or relative (59.3%). Fewer respondents consulted police (10.5%), mental health professionals (16.1%), physicians (9.3%), clergy (3.9%), rape crisis centers (1.9%), and legal professionals (1.6%). Assault by a stranger, physical threat, fighting against the assailant, a high degree of sexual contact, and emotional distress concerning the assault were associated with talking about the assault, especially with police and physicians. Most of those who told someone found at least one person helpful (73.8%). Rape crisis centers (94.2%) and legal professionals (82.7%) were most frequently described as helpful, followed by mental health professionals (70.1%), friends and relatives (66.6%), clergy (63.1%), physicians (55.6%), and police (38.2%). Results are compared to previous findings, and implications for research and intervention are discussed.
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Objective: Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of women with physical disabilities is a problem largely unrecognized by rehabilitation service providers. This article documents the prevalence of abuse of women with physical disabilities compared to women without physical disabilities.Design: Case-comparison study using written survey. Data were analyzed using χ2 analyses and the Mann-Whitney U Wilcoxon rank sum W tests.Setting: General community.Participants: A sample of 860 women, 439 with physical disabilities and 421 without physical disabilities, was compiled from women responding to a national sexuality survey.Main Outcome Measures: The women were asked if they had ever experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. If they answered yes, they were asked to identify the perpetrator(s) of the abuse and when the abuse began and ended.Results: Sixty-two percent of both groups of women had experienced some type of abuse at some point in their lives. Of women who had experienced abuse, half of each group had experienced physical or sexual abuse. Husbands or live-in partners were the most common perpetrators of emotional or physical abuse for both groups. Male strangers were the most common perpetrators of sexual abuse for both groups. Women with physical disabilities also were more likely to be abused by their attendants and by health care providers. Thirteen percent of women with physical disabilities described experiencing physical or sexual abuse in the past year.Conclusions: Women with physical disabilities appear to be at risk for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to the same extent as women without physical disabilities. Prevalence of abuse by husbands or live-in partners in this study is similar to estimates of lifetime occurrence of domestic violence for women living in the United States. Women with physical disabilities are more at risk for abuse by attendants or health care providers. They are also more likely to experience a longer duration of abuse than women without physical disabilities.
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Evaluated the impact that actions of significant others have on adjustment following rape. Significant other behavior is conceptualized as having two dimensions--supportive behavior and unsupportive behavior--and each dimension was measured using multiple items. Unsupportive behavior, but not supportive behavior, was found to bear a significant association to victim adjustment. Implications for those who work with victims are discussed.
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The present study investigated whether the type of social reaction(s) experienced by sexual assault victims varies according to the type of social support provider told about the assault in a convenience sample of victims (N = 155) completing a mail survey. Both closed-ended data and open-ended written responses were analyzed to determine the types of social reactions victims experienced from a variety of informal and formal support providers. Tangible aid/information support was reported more often from women disclosing to rape crisis centers, police, and physicians, whereas emotional support/validation was commonly reported by those telling rape crisis centers. Being blamed, treated differently, distracted, and discouraged from talking about the assault were more common responses for women telling physicians or police. Analyses exploring whether the impact of social reactions on victim adjustment varied according to support provider type showed that, as hypothesized, emotional support from friends was related to better recovery than emotional support from other support sources. However, contrary to expectation, the impact of victim blame on adjustment did not vary according to type of support provider. Implications for research on social support and clinical treatment of sexual assault victims are discussed.
Article
Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of women with physical disabilities is a problem largely unrecognized by rehabilitation service providers. This article documents the prevalence of abuse of women with physical disabilities compared to women without physical disabilities. Case-comparison study using written survey. Data were analyzed using chi 2 analyses and the Mann-Whitney U Wilcoxon rank sum W tests. General community. A sample of 860 women, 439 with physical disabilities and 421 without physical disabilities, was compiled from women responding to a national sexuality survey. The women were asked if they had ever experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. If they answered yes, they were asked to identify the perpetrator(s) of the abuse and when the abuse began and ended. Sixty-two percent of both groups of women had experienced some type of abuse at some point in their lives. Of women who had experienced abuse, half of each group had experienced physical or sexual abuse. Husbands or live-in partners were the most common perpetrators of emotional or physical abuse for both groups. Male strangers were the most common perpetrators of sexual abuse for both groups. Women with physical disabilities also were more likely to be abused by their attendants and by health care providers. Thirteen percent of women with physical disabilities described experiencing physical or sexual abuse in the past year. Women with physical disabilities appear to be at risk for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to the same extent as women without physical disabilities. Prevalence of abuse by husbands or live-in partners in this study is similar to estimates of lifetime occurrence of domestic violence for women living in the United States. Women with physical disabilities are more at risk for abuse by attendants or health care providers. They are also more likely to experience a longer duration of abuse than women without physical disabilities.
This study evaluated psychological distress, secondary trauma intensity, and specific components of secondary trauma in 89 sexual assault trauma counselors (SATC). Results indicated that some SATC were experiencing secondary trauma based on measures of psychological distress and PTSD-like symptoms. The study also examined whether personal trauma history, greater counseling experience, emergency room work as primary client contact type, counseling satisfaction levels, and demographic variables significantly predicted self-reported psychological distress and PTSD-like symptoms. Results supported the hypothesis that personal trauma history and younger age significantly predicted self-reported psychological distress. Results also supported hypotheses that personal trauma history, younger counselor age, and lower counseling satisfaction levels significantly predicted higher levels of secondary trauma intensity. Contrary to prediction, exposure to trauma survivors, emergency room work as primary client contact type, and education did not significantly predict psychological distress or secondary trauma intensity. Findings were robust even when SATC currently in psychotherapy or taking medication were conservatively excluded in follow-up analyses. Research and training implications are discussed [International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 2000, 2(4), 229-240).
Article
Demographics, assault variables, and postassault responses were analyzed as correlates of PTSD symptom severity in a sample of 323 sexual assault victims. Regression analyses indicated that less education, greater perceived life threat, and receipt of more negative social reactions upon disclosing assault were each related to greater PTSD symptom severity. Ethnic minority victims reported more negative social reactions from others. Victims of more severe sexual victimization reported fewer positive, but more negative reactions from others. Greater extent of disclosure of the assault was related to more positive and fewer negative social reactions. Telling more persons about the assault was related to more negative and positive reactions. Implications of these results for developing contextual theoretical models of rape-related PTSD are discussed.
Article
This study examined positive and negative social reactions received by 323 victims disclosing sexual assaults to informal and formal support providers. Analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data indicated that both positive and negative reactions are commonly received by victims disclosing their assaults to others, but that victims seeking help from formal support sources are more commonly faced with negative reactions of victim blame, stigmatizing responses, and controlling reactions from others. Qualitative analysis of written responses provided by respondents also revealed other less common but unhelpful reactions of assault disclosure such as rape myths, violations of the victim's confidential disclosures, and revictimization. Preliminary analyses of the effects of specific reactions on adjustment from different types of support providers suggested that reactions of friends are particularly important for recovery. Positive reactions from friends appear to be more helpful, whereas negative reactions appear to be harmful from both informal and formal support sources. Implications for research and treatment of sexual assault victims are discussed.
Article
This study assumes that rape victim advocates who provide community outreach services to victimized women must adjust to a heightened awareness of sexual violence to do their jobs. Using qualitative methodology, this multiple case study explored rape victim advocates' strategies for incorporating repeated exposure to sexual assault into their daily lives as well as ways that organizations can support such endeavors. Findings suggest that advocates' self-care routines draw upon various personal resources (i.e., cognitive, physical, social, spiritual, verbal), and serve 2 roles for coping with rape-related pain: (a) cathartic releasing of traumatic material, and (b) improving capacity to integrate the traumatic material into one's life. Additionally, over 20 organizational characteristics that workers perceive to be supportive (e.g., weekly meetings, flexible hours) were identified. Nonparametric and categorical statistical analyses were used to analyze the relationship between organizational support and self-care routines, finding that advocates working in organizations with higher levels of support utilize more strategies that are integrative in nature. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
This paper focuses on the consequences for providers of working with survivors of traumatic events, particularly criminal victimization. The paper reviews the relevant research and treatment literature associated with secondary traumatic stress (STS) and related variables (burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and countertransference). The latter part of the paper identifies the most important mitigating factors in the development of STS. These include good training specific to trauma work, a personal history of trauma, and the interpersonal resources of the worker. Implications for treatment, prevention, and research are discussed.
Article
This study investigated three occupational hazards of therapy with trauma victims: vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress (or "compassion fatigue"), which describe therapists' adverse reactions to clients' traumatic material, and burnout, a stress response experienced in many emotionally demanding "people work" jobs. Among 101 trauma counselors, client exposure workload and being paid as a staff member (vs. volunteer) were related to burnout sub-scales, but not as expected to overall burnout or vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, or general distress. More educated counselors and those seeing more clients reported less vicarious trauma. Younger counselors and those with more trauma counseling experience reported more emotional exhaustion. Findings have implications for training, treatment, and agency support systems.
Article
A significant proportion of survivors of rape do not utilize formal services to cope with the aftermath of rape. Understanding victimization experiences in environments that differ on resources, such as rural versus urban areas, may be an important dimension to consider in understanding barriers. Thirty women (18 rural and 12 urban) were recruited from rape crisis centers to participate in focus groups. Study results suggest that (a) survivors of rape experience many barriers to service utilization, (b) there were some differences in barriers to service utilization that were mentioned only in rural areas and some that were mentioned only in urban areas that may suggest that community context is important to consider in understanding barriers to service use, and (c) barriers to health and mental health services overlap with barriers to criminal justice system services.
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This article describes the author's personal experiences of conducting a qualitative semistructured interview study, after having done predominantly quantitative survey research in the social sciences. The author describes the process of learning how to approach conducting semistructured interviews with female advocates and clinicians who provide services to sexual assault survivors in the community. The author describes making the transition from a logical positivist deductive approach to thinking about and conducting research to a more social constructionist stance in which one learns from participants about their experiences and perspectives in narrative form to discover knowledge and develop theory inductively.
Article
This study's goal was to assess the effects of preassault, assault, and postassault psychosocial factors on current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms of sexual assault survivors. An ethnically diverse sample of over 600 female sexual assault survivors was recruited from college, community, and mental health agency sources (response rate = 90%). Regression analyses tested the hypothesis that postassault psychosocial variables, including survivors' responses to rape and social reactions from support providers, would be stronger correlates of PTSD symptom severity than preassault or assault characteristics. As expected, few demographic or assault characteristics predicted symptoms, whereas trauma histories, perceived life threat during the assault, postassault characterological self-blame, avoidance coping, and negative social reactions from others were all related to greater PTSD symptom severity. The only protective factor was survivors' perception that they had greater control over their recovery process in the present, which predicted fewer symptoms. Recommendations for intervention and treatment with sexual assault survivors are discussed.
Qualitative data analysis Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center Fostering collaborations to prevent violence against women: Integrating findings from practitioner and researcher focus groups
  • M B Miles
  • A M Huberman
Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. (2001, May). Fostering collaborations to prevent violence against women: Integrating findings from practitioner and researcher focus groups. Charleston, SC: Author.
Services for sexual assault survivors: The role of rape crisis centers
  • R Campbell
  • P Y Martin
Campbell, R., & Martin, P. Y. (2001). Services for sexual assault survivors: The role of rape crisis centers. In C. M. Renzetti, J. L. Edelson, & R. K. Bergen (Eds.), Sourcebook on violence against women (pp. 227-241). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Handbook of social welfare administration
  • C Glisson