Patterns and Predictors of Service Use Among Women Who Have Separated from an Abusive Partner

Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, Colleen Varcoe, Marianne Noh, Judith Wuest, Joanne Hammerton, Eman Alhalal, Camille Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Using baseline data from a survey of 309 Canadian women recently separated from an abusive partner, we investigated patterns of access to health, social, legal, and violence-specific services and whether abuse history and social and health variables predict service use. We compared rates of service use to population rates, and used logistic regression to identify determinants of use. Service use rates were substantially higher than population estimates in every category, particularly in general and mental health sectors. Although women were confident in their ability to access services, they reported substantial unmet need, difficulty accessing services, and multiple barriers. The strongest unique predictors of use varied across service type. Health variables (high disability chronic pain, symptoms of depression and PTSD), low income, and mothering were the most consistent predictors. Service providers and policy makers must account for social location, abuse history, and health status of Intimate Violence (IPV) survivors. Strategies to enhance access to primary health care services, and to create a system of more integrated, accessible services, are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-431
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, The Author(s).


  • Access barriers
  • Chronic pain
  • Help-seeking
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Mental health
  • Social location
  • Unmet need

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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