Battered Women’s Multitude of Needs: Evidence Supporting the Need for Comprehensive Advocacy

By: Nicole E. Allen, Deborah I. Bybee, and Cris M. Sullivan. Published by: Violence Against Women. Published in September 2004.

Link to article

The abstract reads: “To better illuminate the elements of an effective community response to domestic violence, this study examined how survivors prioritized their help-seeking activities and what their priorities revealed about their patterns of need. This study expanded on Sullivan and Bybee’s findings regarding the utility of community-based advocacy by examining whether the extent to which such advocacy was effective was dependent on the types of needs that survivors presented. Cluster analysis revealed five distinct subgroups of survivors: one focused primarily on activities to acquire housing, a second worked more on education and employment, a third focused heavily on legal issues, and two groups were characterized by survivors’ level of activity across a variety of needs (high and low). Despite the varied constellations of needs survivors presented, broad-based advocacy enhanced survivors’ effectiveness in mobilizing needed community resources. These findings suggest that comprehensive and individualized approaches to advocacy for battered women are essential.”

Highlights include:

  • The need for legal assistance often overlapped with other needs, such as child care. “For example, one subgroup of women was particularly focused on legal assistance, however these women were also engaged in activities to address housing needs and child-related issues. Similarly, women in the education/employment group also indicated they were working on financial and health care issues. It appears, then, that even when women had extremely pressing needs in one domain of their lives (e.g., legal, housing), they were likely to be” (p. 1029).
  • “Most all battered women focus on legal services or criminal justice intervention. Of the sample, 59% noted working on legal issues, and for at least some of these women, the legal problem was not directly related to the prosecution of the assailant or to obtaining a protection order. Rather, women were fighting landlords, getting divorced, working out custody and visitation, or dealing with other legal concerns” (p. 1030).


Categories: Domestic Violence, Family, Family, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Victims of Crime

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