University of Tasmania
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Leaving the war zone - fifty (three) ways to leave your lover: A feminist analysis of fifty-three women's pathways to leaving a male partner who assaulted them

posted on 2023-05-26, 08:59 authored by Patton, S
This study explored how women were able to leave a male partner who assaulted them, and the common critical success factors of leaving and establishing a new life for themselves and any children in their care.\ Conducted from a feminist standpoint, a qualitative exploration of 53 women's perceptions of being able to leave was undertaken, using a non-probability purposive sampling method and semi-structured, in-depth interviews.\ Applying a thematic analysis, the results indicated that women used a variety of strategies to 'manage' and resist the abuse and violence, encountering numerous barriers to stopping the violence and/or to leaving, before reaching\ a final turning point. The pathways out of the violence included formal and informal support, supportive beliefs and information and underpinning structural supports, including relevant policies and laws. The study's findings\ highlight the importance of developing strategies that focus on men taking responsibility for their use of violence, effective government and community responses, and changing societal attitudes.\ The study provided examples of individual good practice in the responses of a range of workers, and identified a number of characteristics of good practice.\ Based on these characteristics, the study identified a generic framework for practice suggesting good practice at each of five identified phases of leaving.\ The study highlighted the importance of specialist domestic violence services and, in particular, mobile domestic violence crisis services, as an effective domestic violence service model. Integral to their effectiveness were: (a) their formal liaison with the police, through police Standing Orders; and (b) regional locations. Four key issues emerged requiring urgent attention: (1) women\ having to leave their homes; (2) the impoverishment of women who leave a violent partner; (3) the need for a consistent and integrated response across the service system; and (4) the importance of understanding both the role of hope and the concept of relational autonomy when responding to women who are assaulted by a male partner. The study discusses these findings in relation to contemporary social work practice.


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