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Relationship Between Battered Women and Court Advocates: What Battered Women Find Helpful

NCJ Number
Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 2001 Pages: 8-16
Carolyn J. Black Ph.D.
Date Published
9 pages
This article examines the efficacy of court advocates with battered women.
Empowerment theory and practice have gained acceptance as a viable intervention with battered women. In recent years, service providers and researchers have stressed the importance of having advocates placed in institutions that provide services to battered women, such as emergency rooms and prosecutors’ offices. Studies have demonstrated that when advocates were involved, women tended to complete the court process or at least move further along the continuum. Although much as been written about the effectiveness of using empowerment in working with battered women, less is known about what happens within the context of the relationship between the battered woman and the helper. The purpose of this study was to examine battered women’s perceptions of these services, whether or not advocates employed principles of empowerment, and obtain suggestions from battered women on improving services. The sample was drawn from closed cases of battered women who had received services from court advocates between March 1997 and August 1998. Results showed that most women felt the presence of the court advocate was instrumental in reducing their anxiety about going to court. According to the women, advocates evinced the employment of principles of empowerment and relational theory. Suggestions to improve services were to have more publicity about the role and availability of court advocates; employ more court advocates; and advocates should have input into making sentencing recommendations for abusers, and should be involved with battered women for a longer period. 3 tables, 51 references