After reporting on the progress that has been made in research and practice related to violence against women and family violence, this paper discusses gaps in research that focuses on the most vulnerable women, such as immigrants, women of color, lesbians, prostitutes, and incarcerated women.
Due in large measure to research promoted by the National Institute of Justice and other key Federal agencies, scientific inquiry has been conducted into the complex issues that bear upon the causes, prevention, and intervention for violence against women. Due to evidence-based public education, policies, and prevention and intervention programs, women are safer today than they were 30 years ago. Even with this increased focus on research that has informed public education, policies, and programs, however, there remain research gaps regarding violence against the most vulnerable women in society. Limited research funding has been awarded to scholars whose work focuses on communities of color; and scholars who are from communities of color or those who have actively worked with them are underrepresented in the published literature on violence against women of color. Further, little research attention has been given to organizing strategies or the impact of community mobilization as a tool to counter violence against women. Funding for future research should address qualitative as well as quantitative research that focuses on particular communities, longitudinal studies that include in-depth interviews, and contextualized analyses of the lives of women who have not used mainstream services. Research that has focused on the macro-level variables that leave women vulnerable to abuse (e.g., poverty, social disorganization, shifts in employment, and aging) has been lacking. Every effort should be made to ensure that women whose experiences fall outside the "norm" are included in measurement instruments. Such research is necessary as a basis for providing services that meet the needs and increase the protection afforded women who are at greatest risk of being victims of violence. 10 references
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