Master's Project Title:

Help-Seeking Behaviors of Minority and Immigrant Women Who Experience Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence

MCH Student:

Jennie Anderson

Date of Defense:

March 22, 2012


Intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as domestic violence (DV), is a serious public health problem among racial/ethnic minority and immigrant women. Yet little is known about how these groups seek help for IPV/DV. This paper critically reviews the literature on IPV/DV and help seeking among Hispanic/Latina, Asian, and African American women. The review examines (a) why minority and immigrant women seek help for IPV/DV, (b) the types of help minority and immigrant women seek, and (c) the barriers minority and immigrant women experience when seeking help. Reaching a breaking point and having children were reasons most cited for seeking help in studies using multi-ethnic samples. Minority and immigrant women sought informal sources of help for abuse, but these sources are not always helpful. Studies also suggest there were differences in the level of help immigrant and minority women received compared to Anglo women. Barriers to seeking help included language, transportation, feelings of social isolation, cultural traditions, economic dependence, immigration status, and fear. Future directions for practice, policy, and research are discussed.