Barriers to reporting domestic violence: Latina women's perspective

Background and purpose: Domestic Violence has become a nationwide problem, affecting communities of all races, socioeconomic statuses, educational levels, and geographical settings. However, some groups may be especially vulnerable as they may encounter additional challenges in reporting the abuse or seeking help. For Latina women, their traditional and cultural beliefs may put them at higher risk of not reporting the violence due to the belief that domestic violence is a private matter and that men hold all the power. Specifically, this study explored whether there are unique barriers that prevent Latina women from reporting domestic violence. Methods: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted using anonymous semi-structured phone interviews to examine Latina women's perspective of being in an abusive relationship and barriers they faced in reporting the abuse. Participants needed to be female, Latina, English and/or Spanish speaking, between the ages of 25-55 years old, previously in an abusive relationship, and currently enrolled in domestic violence services. Results: Eight participants between the ages of 27-48 were interviewed. Findings showed that the participants experienced the common barriers that prevent women from reporting domestic violence found in previous research studies. In addition, participants revealed four additional unique barriers. Discussion: Study findings support previous research on barriers to reporting domestic violence for Latina women and identified additional barriers may also interfere with reporting domestic violence. Based on the findings, recommendations suggest the importance of suicide prevention awareness, making resources available throughout the community, and increased training for law enforcement about domestic violence.

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