Psychosocial Separation and Women’s Disengagement From Prosecutions Against Abusive Intimate Partners in Spain

María García-Jiménez, Alesha Durfee, María Jesús Cala-Carrillo, M. Eva Trigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In order to end and “liberate” themselves from an abusive relationship, female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) usually face a complex process. Although women may decide to seek help through the criminal justice system, some refuse to participate in legal proceedings against their abusers. While many studies have focused on exploring variables explaining disengagement from legal proceedings, the aim of this article is to study the impact of the process of liberation from an abusive relationship on the likelihood of disengagement (LoD) from legal proceedings. Liberation was measured through the psychosocial separation overall score and the LoD was predicted by a logistic regression model developed in a previous study in Spain. A sample of 80 women involved in legal proceedings for IPV against their ex-partners in Andalusia (Spain) participated in this study. Exploratory analyses were conducted using ANOVA and Chi-square; multiple linear regression analyses were used to study the relationship between psychosocial separation and LoD. Results showed that victims who had higher psychosocial separation from their abusers were less likely to disengage from legal proceedings against the abuser. We discuss the results in terms of practical implications like detection of women’s need for specific psychological support to ease a comprehensive recovery. Training programs for legal professionals and judges in the judicial arena should use the results of this study to increase professionals’ understanding of IPV and survivors’ decision-making processes. This would lead to a decrease in survivors’ secondary victimization, as well as decrease the frustration of legal professionals when victims disengage from legal proceedings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • battered women
  • criminal justice system
  • domestic violence
  • legal intervention
  • liberation
  • participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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