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Barriers to Help-Seeking for South Asian Immigrant Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): An Interpretative Phenomenological Study

Chandrama Mukherjee, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


South Asians constitute one of the largest immigrant populations in the country; yet their visibility in domestic violence literature continues to be limited. Insufficient representation of this group and discrepancies in prevalence rates occur because women in this community who are survivors of IPV, rarely approach formal or informal sources of assistance. The aim of this qualitative interpretative phenomenological study is to delineate the experiences of South Asian immigrant women when they attempt to seek help for abuse. Specifically, this research will explore experiences that are perceived by these survivors’ as sociocultural and structural barriers which prevent or delay their ability to approach family, friends, community members, police, lawyers, domestic violence shelters, and non-governmental organizations for assistance. The present study will also describe their encounters with these formal and informal agencies as well as their opinions of potential additions and modifications to existing support services that would facilitate the help-seeking behavior of other South Asian immigrant women. Findings from this study detailed IPV experiences and survivors’ responses to abuse. Data obtained from participants indicated that self-blame, shame, financial dependence, cultural variables (e.g., gender roles, religiosity), lack of support, complications due to immigration status, and inappropriate behaviors from formal and informal agencies made it difficult for these women to seek assistance for IPV. The study details participants’ opinions on supplementary services that would help other South Asian immigrant women in similar circumstances. This dissertation also documents the additional hardships imposed on these survivors due to repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Ethnic studies|Health care management|Public health

Recommended Citation

Mukherjee, Chandrama, "Barriers to Help-Seeking for South Asian Immigrant Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): An Interpretative Phenomenological Study" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28966861.