Advocates' Experiences with Victims of Domestic Violence: An Examination of Personal Biases and Attitudes and their Impact on Service Delivery

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This qualitative study examines advocates' phenomenological experiences with victims of domestic violence, specifically whether advocates' personal biases impede the delivery of services to victims. Agencies and shelters in the communities that serve victims of domestic violence are an invaluable resource; however, if advocates are not providing appropriate services, victims can often find themselves in a more traumatic state. Ten domestic violence advocates throughout the State of Connecticut were interviewed and asked a series of questions pertaining directly to their day-to-day roles. The study also examined their attitudes about domestic violence, their perceptions of the work they do, and whether or not they feel they are making an impact. To add to the much-needed literature base on the lived experience of domestic violence victim advocates, this study utilized a qualitative phenomenological methodology. Phenomenological inquiry was chosen, as it was most suited to answer the stated research questions. Seven core themes were identified throughout the research. Many advocates are simply burned out, and not providing adequate services to their clients. Advocates do not feel valued and they do not feel as though they are given proper, continuous training on topics relevant to their job. The identified themes are important in the development of training initiatives, improving management / advocate relationships, as well as strengthening organizational soundness.


A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy, Capella University, March 2012.

Richard DeParis, D.P.A., Faculty Mentor and Chair; James McCabe, Ph.D., Committee Member; Wei Huang, Ph.D., Committee Member.

UMI Number: 3509364