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Help-seeking behavior for intimate partner violence among racial minority women in Canada

Ilene Hyman, Tonia Forte, Janice Du Mont, Sarah Romans, Marsha M Cohen
Women's Health Issues: Official Publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health 2009, 19 (2): 101-8
19272560

INTRODUCTION: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is experienced by women of all ethnoracial backgrounds. Despite the serious adverse impacts of IPV on women's lives, many abused women do not seek help. The main objective of this paper was to determine whether a woman's racial minority status was a significant predictor of help-seeking for IPV after controlling for other factors associated with help-seeking.

METHODS: Data from a national Canadian, cross-sectional, telephone survey were used. Help-seeking variables included disclosure of IPV, reporting IPV to police, the use of social services subsequent to IPV, and barriers to social service use.

RESULTS: In the bivariate analyses, rates of disclosure and reporting to police were similar for racial minority and white women, however, racial minority women, compared to white women, were significantly less likely to use social services. After adjustment for age, marital status, household income, number of young children at home, immigration status, household language, and severity of IPV, racial minority status was not a significant predictor of help-seeking in the multivariate analysis.

DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that further investigation is necessary to understand what aspects of membership in a racial minority group or sytemic factors may be contributing to inequalities in accessing help for IPV.

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