207008 Latinas' help seeking preferences for assistance with IPV

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shanti Kulkarni, PhD, LCSW , Social Work, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Research suggests that Latinos prefer informal rather than formal helping networks. We present findings from a study that assessed Latinas comfort in accessing various sources of formal and informal resources.

143 Spanish-speaking Latinas were surveyed using the Conflict Tactics Scale and asked to assess their comfort with 16 potential members of a social network (9 formal and 7 informal) using a 4-Likert scale. Participants were asked if they, a friend or family member, had used IPV services, and if so what their level of comfort with those services was.

Participants were primarily Puerto Rican, under 45 years of age, and reported relatively high levels of IPV. More than half were married and had completed high school.

Latinas felt most comfortable seeking help from clergy/ spiritual leader, domestic violence advocate, therapist or social worker, and doctor. They felt least comfortable with a nurse, lawyer, and health department worker. Among participants who used domestic violence services, only a quarter reported they were very comfortable using them, while more than half were not. Latinas tended to endorse informal sources of support more highly. Interestingly, Latinas who did not report IPV expressed higher levels of comfortable with all categories helpers than Latinas who reported IPV.

Findings suggest pervasive mistrust of formal IPV services among Latinas, with abused women even more reluctant to seek services. More research is needed to understand Latinas' perceptions of formal helpers. Public awareness campaigns and

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the formal and informal sources of help that are most comfortable for Latinas; 2. Identify strategies to help reduce help-seeking barriers for Latinas experiencing IPV.

Keywords: Latinas, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have my PhD and LCSW. I am a social work researcher, educator, and advocate in the area of domestic 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.