Contextualized Assessment with Battered Women: Strategic Safety Planning to Cope with Multiple Harms

By Lindhorst, Taryn; Nurius, Paula et al. | Journal of Social Work Education, Spring-Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Contextualized Assessment with Battered Women: Strategic Safety Planning to Cope with Multiple Harms


Lindhorst, Taryn, Nurius, Paula, Macy, Rebecca J., Journal of Social Work Education


NEARLY 25% OF WOMEN experience some form of physical or sexual assault, or both, by a partner in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000b). Annually, between 1.5 million (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000b) and 2 million women (Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980) are assaulted by a current or former intimate partner. The need to provide effective safety planning to battered women is also fueled by the robust evidence of health and mental health consequences of intimate partner violence such as physical injury (Bachman & Saltzman, 1995; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000b), depression (Campbell & Lewandowski, 1997; Golding, 1999), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Golding, 1999; Herman, 1995), as well as the radiating impact on children and others close to the abused woman (Riger, Raja, & Camacho, 2002).

Because violence against women is so widespread and represented among the clientele of varied social service providers, we believe it is critical to see contextualized assessment and strategic safety planning with battered women as a function of all social workers (much like assessment for child/elder abuse or suicidality). Moreover, evidence indicates that many endangered and battered women do not access services from domestic violence specialists but do encounter a range of other social service providers (Macy, Nurius, Kernic, & Holt, 2004; Tolman, 2003). We are concerned here with efforts in the foundation social work curriculum to prepare entry-level generalist social work practitioners for that moment when they begin to suspect that a woman is being threatened or abused by someone she knows.

Traditional safety planning is a vital component of helping battered women in crisis to achieve safer situations. Safety planning is a crisis-oriented approach that focuses attention on immediate safety needs and whose intent in practice is often toward having the woman leave the relationship. See Table 1 for typical issues covered in safety planning. While leaving an abusive relationship is an important option for victims/survivors, applying this as a prescription to all women can be harmful, as it neglects the complexity of the choices facing many women and implies that women who return or who stay with an abusive partner have failed at leaving. Many women will choose to stay with their partners and work to end or diminish the abuse (Campbell, Rose, Kub, & Need, 1998); for others, leaving does not end the abuse as the batterer continues to stalk and endanger the woman (Fleury, Sullivan, & Bybee, 2000). Other women will leave and return to the batterer several times in the course of deciding to continue or end the relationship; and for some women, leaving poses more risks, both in terms of harm from the batterer (Campbell, 1992; Goetting, 1995) and social and economic costs, which women may see as more burdensome than the abuse (Peled, Eisikovitz, Enosh, & Winstok, 2000; Rhodes & McKenzie, 1998).

Safety planning will be most effective if it occurs within a contextualized assessment process that illuminates the deeper struggles and multiple harms that women balance when making decisions about continuing or ending relationships. Traditional safety planning is a necessary but insufficient strategy for addressing the complex needs of women who are in varying degrees of relationship to the batterer. As Peled et al. (2000), note

   It is commonly assumed that freedom
   from violence entails leaving the abuser
   .... Recent literature on social work
   intervention ... with intimate violence
   ... often uses the rhetoric and ideology
   of empowerment as an important guiding
   principle. However, in the context of
   battered women who stay, the concept
   seldom is carried beyond the ideological
   and prescriptive levels. Attempts
   to operationalize the means by which
   those women can become empowered
   are scarce. (p. 12)

In this paper, we provide a heuristic model for operationalizing an empowerment approach for working with battered women. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contextualized Assessment with Battered Women: Strategic Safety Planning to Cope with Multiple Harms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.