Research project Intimate-partner violence is a serious public health problem that disproportionately affects people with disabilities. Access to good quality violence support-services is important for combating the negative effects of intimate partner violence. However, there is limited research on how violence-related services address the needs of people with disabilities.
This project aims to increase knowledge on how existing services address the needs of people with disabilities exposed to intimate-partner violence in order to strengthen support. Current data strongly suggests that gender based-violence disproportionately affects people with disabilities. However, the research on how systems address the needs of people with disabilities that are exposed to intimate partner violence. This is a critical research gap as having a disability bears strong implication to one’s access to resources and in most cases reliance on the abuser for support.
The DIS-IPV project aims to contribute to knowledge on how existing services address the needs of people with disabilities that experience intimate-partner violence in order to strengthen support and protection of this population in Sweden.
This project uses a mixed method approach combining qualitative in-depth interviews and a cross-sectional data. The study participants consist of: a) people with disabilities and service providers for example healthcare professionals, police, social workers and staff at shelters responsible for delivering violence-related services.
Intimate-partner violence is a serious social and public health problem with devastating psychological, physical and economic consequences. There is a concerted commitment to prevent intimate-partner violence and to provide adequate treatment and care to those exposed. However, this requires various service providers to work together to assess the needs of those exposed and to develop strategies aimed at addressing these needs. As such, the service provision sectors play a significant role in the management and care. In fact, timely violence-related services, offered by professional actors in healthcare, social services and police help to reduce the risk of severe and possibly fatal violence.
However, when it concerns people with disabilities when are exposed to intimate-partner violence it is not clear whether such services yield similar benefits as those offered to people without disabilities because currently there are no studies that have evaluated this. Literature reveals a clear absence of studies on the experiences of people with disabilities that access support services due to intimate-partner violence in Sweden. A recent report from Forum also pointed out this lack of published literature in Sweden on the type and quality of services given to women with disabilities compared to men in the same situation and, in comparison to other women without disabilities. Moreover, there are no studies assessing service provider’s competence in providing such services to people with disabilities who experience intimate-partner violence in Sweden.
This research project addresses this research gap by generating knowledge on improving service provision to those exposed to intimate-partner violence with disabilities. This knowledge is valuable in the following ways; (a) Strengthens prevention of intimate partner violence In turn, this reduces the societal and individual burden related to the consequences of un-managed or poorly managed violence experiences. Further contributing to improved health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. This research also raises awareness about intimate-partner violence experienced by people with disabilities, which encourages community responsibility to challenge attitudes and norms around intimate-partner violence experienced by people with disabilities. (b) Findings further point at areas for capacity building among the various service provision sectors, which guarantees improved service delivery. (c) Reduction on government expenditure linked to intimate-partner violence as existing studies indicate quality services lower the risk of re-occurrence of intimate-partner violence; reduce the risk of severe and possibly fatal violence. Moreover, at an individual level mitigation of intimate partner. (d) Suggest recommendations to policymakers aimed at improving access to services and foster active citizen participation.
Aim: The aim of this project is to contribute to knowledge on how existing services address the needs of people with disabilities who experience intimate-partner violence using the perspectives of people with disabilities and service providers in Sweden. The following research questions guide this research project;
What type of services are available to people with disabilities who experience violence?
How do service providers and people with disabilities perceive the quality of existing services offered to those who experienced intimate-partner violence?
To what extent do existing services address the needs of people with disabilities? How can we improve the quality of exciting IPV services for people with disabilities?
What are the individual and organisational level barriers and facilitators to provision of quality services to persons exposed to intimate-partner violence with disabilities?
How do service providers perceive their competence and awareness of limitations in provision of services to persons exposed to intimate-partner violence with disabilities?
Study methods: This research takes place in Sweden and it uses a mixed method approach by applying both qualitative and quantitative data during the four-year research period. The study participants include (a) men and women with disabilities who experienced intimate partner violence and (b) service providers within the police department, social services, health care and shelters. These four service provision agencies are selected because of their pivotal role to individuals that experience violence, regardless of disability status and nature of violence experience. The police usually comes into direct contact with the persons exposed to intimate partner violence due to crime investigations. The social services organization are responsible for disability care and when they detect violence, they have a pronounced responsibility for those at risk. The health care is of interest people exposed to intimate partner violence might seek for medical care. The shelters host people that experience IPV who require protection from further victimization from the abusers.