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Counseling Services for Battered Women: A Comparison of Outcomes for Physical and Sexual Assault Survivors

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2003 Pages: 717-734
April Howard; Stephanie Riger; Rebecca Campbell; Sharon Wasco
Date Published
July 2003
18 pages
This study compared community-based counseling outcomes of battered women with outcomes of women who were both raped and battered by their partners.
The findings suggest that women who were raped and battered may not achieve similar levels of well-being and coping as a result of counseling as women who were battered but not raped. Battered women's well-being and coping improved with psychoeducational and supportive counseling services offered by domestic violence agencies. The findings also suggest that women who have been raped and battered by their partners began and responded to counseling differently than battered women who were not raped. Maritally raped women entered counseling with lower well-being and coping skills than battered women. For example, compared to battered women, the rape and battered women scored lower on items that measured feelings of blame for the abuse, ability to talk about things, and feeling in control in their lives. This confirms the expectation that although raped and battered women have similar reactions to physical violence, the negative impact on their well-being and ability to cope may be compounded by the aftermath of the sexual assault. Both groups of women demonstrated improved well-being and coping from pre-counseling to post-counseling. Despite greater progress made by the end of counseling, the women who were raped and battered had not attained a level of well-being that the battered women began counseling with; this suggests that intimate partner rape survivors may have different or additional needs to battered women, such as more counseling sessions, or different types of counseling formats and techniques. Tables, notes, references


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