Experiences of Battered Women in Ohio: A Community Focus Goup Report
In 2003, ODVN staff members interviewed 84 battered women in seven locations around the state of Ohio. Eight focus groups and three individual interviews were conducted with women who had been battered to determine “who” they were talking to about their experiences of abuse and how service providers were responding to survivors of domestic violence and their children.
ODVN gained much valuable information from the focus groups to aid our advocacy efforts with and for battered women. The major findings of the focus groups are summarized below:
- Domestic violence programs provide vital services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Not only are domestic violence programs often the first service providers to hear disclosures of abuse, their services are essential to addressing the safety and support needs of survivors and their children.
Survivors continue to look to the criminal and civil justice systems to address the violence in their lives; however, survivors reported that responses from these systems remain inconsistent.
- Survivors are very concerned with economic issues, including the lack of affordable housing, childcare costs, health insurance availability, non-enforcement of child support, and difficulty obtaining affordable legal representation.
- Survivors often access informal, community resources for support to address the violence in their lives and described a need for improved public awareness of domestic violence and how to give support to families experiencing violence.
- Offenders of domestic violence are not being held accountable for their actions against victims and their children.
- Survivors of domestic violence and their children may be seen by any number of service providers in the mental health, medical, and social service systems as they are experiencing violence in their lives. Survivors reported receiving variable responses from these systems.