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Connection of U.S. Best Practices to Outcomes for Vietnamese American Women Abused by Intimate Partners

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 32 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall 2008 Pages: 221-241
Merry Morash; Hoan Bui
Date Published
21 pages
This research examined the experiences of 55 Vietnamese-American women who were victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) while living in an ethnic enclave in a Northeastern metropolitan area, which had in place several “best practices” for addressing IPV, including a coordinated community response and agencies with bilingual Vietnamese-origin professionals.
The study found patterns and types of help for the women that apparently supported leaving the abusive relationship or stopping the abuse. “Best practices” associated with desirable changes included key features of a culturally competent, coordinated community response. This consisted of referring clients to multiple resources, multiple “starting points” for referral sequences, and the bilingual competence of professionals and translators throughout the network of helping sources and the justice system. Providing access to income and housing was critical in getting and keeping women out of harm’s way. Two-thirds of women who stayed in abusive relationships felt that law enforcement and the justice system provided a deterrent; the abuse might have been contained but did not stop. Women who stayed in the relationship and experienced a cessation of abuse or a shift from physical to emotional abuse believed the justice system had a deterrent effect, but they also received many other types of help that might have contributed to the positive change. Women who left abusive relationships sometimes expressed the view that men and relationships would not change, regardless of the nature of the intervention. Most data were obtained from qualitative responses by the women to open-ended questions about abuse, changes in abuse, contacts with potentially helping people and agencies, and efforts to get help. The women’s abuse experience was measured with the Women’s Experience with Battering Scale (Coker, Pope, Smith, Sanderson, and Hussey, 2001). 1 table, 1 figure, 8 notes and 49 references


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