College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Smith Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Megan Greeson, PhD

Third Advisor

Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, PhD


Victims of intimate partner violence have various needs due to abuse (e.g. safety, housing, gaining employment). Domestic violence programs play a crucial role in helping victims address their complex needs through services such as advocacy, legal support, counseling, and immediate housing. In an effort to better understand diverse victims’ needs and help-attained in domestic violence program settings, a study was conducted of 464 female victims across 15 domestic violence services agencies throughout a major Midwestern metropolitan area. Victims completed surveys six months after beginning services. The current study examined victims’ profiles across various needs upon their entry to services to determine if there is an association with perceived outcomes six months after beginning services. In the current study, we also explored whether social location (i.e., interaction between race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status) and English as a second language were associated with victims’ 1) profiles of needs upon beginning services, and 2) perceived outcomes six months after beginning services. Cluster analysis was used to identify five profiles of victims’ needs: High Needs, Benefits/Low Needs, Economic Needs, Legal Needs, and Mental Health Needs. Victims’ membership in the Legal Needs Cluster vs. Benefits/Low Needs Cluster predicted higher Safety Outcomes of victims. English as a second language and social location of victims significantly predicted cluster membership. Victims whose primary language was not English had higher odds of membership in High Needs cluster than victims whose primary language was English. Related to social location, Latina victims who graduated high school or completed some college had higher odds of membership in High Needs, Economic Needs, Legal Needs, and Mental Health Needs clusters than White victims who graduated college or completed some higher education. Victims’ social location also significantly predicted victims’ outcomes for Coping with Domestic Violence, Financial Independence, and Safety. Domestic violence programs and service providers working directly with victims of IPV must consider the intersectionality of victims’ race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (i.e., social location) and whether their primary language is English to appropriately address victims’ unique needs. Implications for future research, practice, and policy for IPV victim services are discussed.

SLP Collection