Continuous Traumatic Stress: Examining the Experiences and Support Needs of Women After Separation From an Abusive Partner

Joanne Hulley, Khai Wager, Tim Gomersall, Louis Bailey, Gill Kirkman, Graham Gibbs, Adele D. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intimate partner violence causes significant, long-lasting harm to almost one-third (27%) of the world’s population of women. Even when women leave abusive relationships, some men continue to exercise control over their ex-partners through psychological control, threats, violence, stalking, and other forms of harassment. In this qualitative study, 52 purposively sampled women who self-identified as victims or survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) from male partners were interviewed. Data were analyzed with a theoretically informed thematic analysis, supported by Nvivo® software. We found that leaving a violent relationship was a long-term process fraught with difficulty and ongoing risks of psychological harm. The concept of Continuous Traumatic Stress (CTS), first developed to understand the impact of state-sponsored violence and war, was found to be a particularly useful tool for the analysis of the impact of post-separation abuse. Additionally, CTS encourages researchers and practitioners to think anew about resilience-centered approaches to improving protection and access to justice for female victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Early online date13 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2022

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