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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs at high rates in US society and has numerous negative physical, psychological, and economic consequences for victims and survivors. Given the high rates and deleterious consequences of IPV, research has focused added attention on behaviors survivors engage in as a response to the violence. This article discusses help seeking behaviors among victims and survivors of IPV by reviewing the incidence of help-seeking behavior and formal and informal outlets of assistance. The article presents theoretical explanations of help-seeking behaviors and reviews factors associated with the decision to seek help, as well as positive and negative outcomes of help-seeking. Although most victims seek assistance, they are more likely to seek informal rather than formal avenues of support. Barriers to help-seeking behaviors among IPV victims make theoretical evaluations difficult and complicate the development of effective formal resources as a response to those seeking help for IPV.

Keywords: Help-seeking, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, disclosure, service utilization, barriers to service utilization

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