The Help Seeking of Intimate Violence Victims: Making Distinctions Between Common Couple Violence and Intimate Terrorism

Jennifer M. Calnon, Pennsylvania State University

In recent efforts to make distinctions in the study of intimate violence, some researchers suggest that there are two distinct types of intimate violence: intimate terriorism and common couple violence. The distinguishing feature between these two types of violence is the general context of intimate violence, particularly whether the violence is accompanied by systematic controlling behavior. Recent findings suggest that the effects of intimate violence vary depending on the type of violence experienced. This study seeks to extend this research by examining whether reactions to intimate violence similarly vary. Utilizing data from the National Violence Against Women Survey, it is hypothesized that victims of common couple violence and intimate terrorism will differ in their types of formal help-seeking behavior. Constraining and facilitating variables are examined for their ability to predict different types of help seeking. Implications for theoretical models of help-seeking behavior are discussed, as is the importance of making distinctions between these types of violence for the purposes of public policy and intervention.

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Updated 05/20/2006