Motivations and barriers to help-seeking behaviours among female victims of intimate partner violence in Ghana

Rohn, Emmanuel (2021) Motivations and barriers to help-seeking behaviours among female victims of intimate partner violence in Ghana. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Although a global menace, intimate partner violence (IPV), is very high in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana. Existing literature shows that the majority of Ghanaian women who experience IPV do not seek help but there is limited understanding of the motivations and barriers to Ghanaian women’s help-seeking behaviours from an individual and institutional perspective. This study used qualitative data from 30 women in three of Ghana’s 16 administrative regions (Ashanti, Upper East, and Greater Accra) to explore IPV victims’ experiences of help-seeking. Fifteen staff at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) in the three selected regions were interviewed to explore the barriers to help-seeking from an institutional perspective. Results of the thematic analysis showed low reporting to formal support networks such as DOVVSU or the police, with higher preference for informal sources such as family members, friends, and religious and community leaders. Motivations to seek help included fatigue, severity of abuse, abusive partner’s negligence in honouring marital obligations, and trust in family members, friends, and religious leaders. Barriers to help-seeking included: fear of divorce, stigmatization, lack of trust in formal support channels, presence of children, sociocultural norms emphasizing gender role expectations, and family privacy. From an institutional perspective, barriers ranged from inadequate resources, including administrative and logistical support, to inadequately trained personnel, location of DOVVSU offices, lack of privacy at DOVVSU offices, and financial constraints. Findings from this study suggest the need for future interventions to take into account the complexity of factors associated with victims’ help-seeking decisions. Developing a multifaceted solution responsive to the needs of IPV victims involves addressing the various barriers identified in this study.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15157
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 95-113).
Keywords: intimate partner violence, help-seeking behavior, motivations, barriers, Ghana
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: June 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Intimate partner violence--Ghana--Social aspects; Support (Domestic relations)--Ghana; Help-seeking behavior--Ghana; Abused women--Ghana.

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