• Selected factors affecting utilization of social services by women clients of two domestic violence shelters

      Horner, Douglas Charles; Belcher, John R. (1992)
      Utilizing a model based on ecological theory and feminism, the major research question for this study was: What factors in the experience of women victims of couple violence who request assistance from shelters are associated with the use of shelter services? The dependent variable for this research, the use of shelter services, was measured by two constructs; the length of shelter stay and the use of referrals by clients for additional services. The use of referrals was operationalized constructing a ratio of the number of referrals completed by a client and the number of referrals provided. Two primary independent variables were identified for analysis; clients' perception of social support and clients' identification with feminist/egalitarian values for couple relationships.;Six control variables were employed to test if spurious relationships existed between variables or offer alternative explanations to relationships suggested. These are frequency and intensity of abuse, length of the couple relationship, age of the victim, educational incompatibility of the partners, employment status of the victim, and risk of abuse to womens' children by the partner. A fourth variable set, type of referral provided, was employed to test what additional explanation of variance in the dependent variable constructs may be determined.;Interviews were completed with women clients of two domestic violence shelters (50 women from each shelter) yielding a total sample of 100. The statistical analysis was accomplished using a linear hierarchical multiple regression model. The results obtained for the completion ratio dependent variable indicated that 42% of the variance was explained at a statistically significant level for the total model. Four variables significant in the model included perceived social support, age of the clients, perceived risk to children, and referrals for protective services. No statistical relationships were found concerning total days of shelter stay. Social workers in shelter settings should evaluate further the importance of these and other variables, during the intake phase for sheltering, to have information concerning clients' potential utilization of services within the shelter and from the social service community. This information may assist service planning and funding.