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Wife Abuse - The Role of the Social Worker

NCJ Number
Date Published
13 pages
This pamphlet aims to alert social workers to the incidence of wife abuse and the needs of abused women, and discusses the advocacy and referral roles essential to the development of comprehensive domestic violence services.
Overviews look at the attitudes and social and legal codes that have contributed to spouse abuse and supported domestic violence over history, and also at the scope of the problem which covers all socioeconomic strata. Contributing factors that have persisted in producing violent situations between spouses are explored briefly, such as geographic or social isolation, economic stress, pregnancy, or medical problems. The effects of family violence are listed for adults and children. Reasons are indicated for why victims stay, with attention to such issues as sex role stereotyping, guilt, love, and ignorance. Suggestions for the social worker's role relate to dealing with the cycle of violence that moves from tension-building to explosion to forgiveness, and the cycle that is transmitted from generation to generation in families that experience domestic abuse. Attention is given to referral, counseling, advocacy, and the kinds of agencies and organizations that have been identified that can respond to female victims of abuse and their families. Final tips for action cover the steps a worker can take when a client is believed to be a victim of abuse, the kinds of resources available in most communities to meet the needs of abused women, and addresses from which more information can be obtained.