Barriers to Information: How Formal Help Systems Fail Battered Women

Barriers to Information: How Formal Help Systems Fail Battered Women

Barriers to Information: How Formal Help Systems Fail Battered Women

Barriers to Information: How Formal Help Systems Fail Battered Women

Synopsis

Employs an information science perspective to analyze social service program delivery to abused women. Ordinary citizens face a frustrating and increasingly complex maze of human service agencies when they seek help for everyday problems, even though "one stop" information and referral centers have been established to facilitate information seeking in many communities. This book explores the effectiveness of information and referral agenices in meeting the needs of battered women, and concludes that most available services are inadequate.

Excerpt

This book is about the expectations of people who need help and information to solve their personal problems, and the expectations of the people who are supposed to provide that help: helpers and caregivers who work in organizations that have a helping mandate. It is also about the collision between these expectations, the mismatch in perceptions that help-seekers and helpers often have about each another.

To illustrate the serious consequences of barriers to help-seeking that arise when helpers and help-seekers do not understand one another or bring mismatched expectations to their information exchanges, we have chosen to focus much of this book on the serious, widespread problem of wife assault. Contact with any help source can present communication difficulties; therefore, when obtaining help involves multiple contacts with agencies and professionals with varying mandates, communication problems are compounded. Because the situations faced by battered women are complex and multifaceted, they often require women to interact with several parts of the formal helping system, such as the courts, hospitals, welfare agencies, and housing authorities. Inevitably, therefore, opportunities abound for abused women to experience communication problems as they negotiate their search for information and help with those who are supposed to assist them. Indeed, as will be pointed out repeatedly in later chapters, battered women are often confronted with multiple barriers as . . .

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