204993 Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) : Prevalence, Perceptions, and Help-Seeking Behaviors Among Immigrant Latinas in Central Alabama

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angela Marie Boy, MPH , School of Public Health, Dept. of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Jill Ross, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Andrzej Kulczycki, PhD , Department of Maternal and Child Health, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Little is known about IPV among Latina immigrant women, particularly in the Southeastern USA. We examined abuse prevalence, perceptions and help-seeking behaviors among immigrant Latinas in greater Birmingham, AL in 2008. We surveyed 272 Latinas who accessed services from the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (°HICA!). Our pre-tested questionnaire combined previously validated items with newly developed questions regarding help-seeking. Most women were married or cohabitating (72%), had completed at least some high school education (78%), were from Mexico (68%), and were on average 30 years old. Half the sample (50%) scored 5+ on the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) scale, indicating that they had probably experienced some sort of violence. However, only 30 women admitted suffering sexual abuse; and 18 women who scored 6+ did not self-identify as abuse victims. Of 216 women who completed fully the perceptions of abuse scale, 85 (40%) scored 34 or higher (maximum=44); another 57% scored from 23-33. Thus, respondents had good overall perceptions regarding abusive behaviors. Among other noteworthy findings, most women knew they could seek help from °HICA!, law enforcement agencies, women's centers, hotlines, and shelters. However, only five women reported seeking help from healthcare providers and 29% of the 176 women who answered the question sought help from police. The three most frequently reported barriers to help-seeking included not knowing what services were available, being afraid of seeking help, and a lack of Spanish-language services. Results will be used to inform development of community-based IPV programs and support services for immigrant Latinas.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the prevalence, characteristics, and burden of IPV among Latina women in the Southeastern USA, and especially in new immigrant destinations such as Central Alabama. 2.Identify the reasons why immigrant Latina women report not seeking help for IPV. 3.Discuss how perceptions of abuse affect help-seeking behaviors among Latinas in Central Alabama.

Keywords: Immigrant Domestic Violence, Latinas

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This presentation is a result of my dissertation research. Additionally, I spent 5 years working with victims of IPV in a public health setting, training healthcare providers on recognizing violence.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.