This study examined a number of variables related to the likelihood of assaults against an ex-partner.
Data were obtained from a larger, longitudinal research project that is examining the effects of providing paraprofessional advocacy services to women with abusive partners and ex-partners. Participants were 278 women recruited from a domestic violence shelter program. Women were interviewed six times: immediately upon leaving the shelter, 10 weeks later, and then every 6 months for 2 years. At each of these interviews, the retention rate was more than 95 percent. In each of the six interviews, an extended version of Straus's (1979) Conflict Tactics Scale was used to measure the frequency of the violence women experienced. If women indicated that there had been violence against them, they were asked to indicate whether any of 10 injuries had resulted from the violence. Other variables measured pertained to threats, sexual suspicion, batterers' drug and alcohol use, batterer proximity, calls to the police, separations, new relationships, help-seeking behaviors, and arrests. The study found that more than one-third of the women were assaulted by a former partner during the time of the study. Several factors under the control of the batterer were found to be related to ex-partner assaults, including his prior violence, threats, and sexual suspicion. Several factors under partial control of the survivor were also explored and were found to be less strongly related to violence by an ex-partner. The study concludes that ultimately survivors of intimate partner violence are not in control of whether or not they are assaulted again. They will only be safe when the community and its institutions hold batterers accountable for their behavior. 2 tables and 30 references