This prospective, descriptive, correlational study examined perceived risk, severity of abuse, expectations, and needs of women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) with arrest of the offender occurring at the time of incident. This study builds on previous research completed on fear and expectations of female victims/survivors of IPV that come to the attention of police, to expand knowledge of women’s experiences once they enter the criminal justice system and to create a comprehensive response to this recognized public health problem (Apsler, Cummins, & Carl, 2002). Forty-three women were interviewed regarding the incident, relationship, and experience. Most of the women in this study reported experiencing mild violence and varied forms of threats. There was a significant relationship between the experience of mild violence, serious violence, sexual violence, threats to victims, threats to objects, and others and nonverbal threats with fear of the offender. However, there were no significant correlations between levels of violence or threats with perceived risk of future physical abuse. As the criminal justice response to this crime has changed with the development of legislation and laws aimed at keeping women safe and holding offenders accountable, further research is needed to understand the experience of IPV victims and support an informed response. Forensic nurses are critical interdisciplinary team members in these efforts and play a significant role in providing expertise, sharing of knowledge, and application of evidence fostering victim-centered approaches to addressing IPV.
Author Affiliations: 1Idaho State University School of Nursing, and 2Idaho State University Division of Health Sciences.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Correspondence: Karen S. Neill, PhD, RN, SANE-A, Idaho State University School of Nursing, 921 S. 8th Ave. Stop 8101, Pocatello, ID 83209–8101. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Received December 4, 2013; accepted for publication December 24, 2013.