Intimate partner violence and women's experiences of grief

Jill Messing, Rebeca Mohr, Alesha Durfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A greater understanding of women's emotional and behavioural responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) may be aided by an examination of the grief course. Women going through the process of leaving their abusers, like women leaving non-violent partners, experience grief during and at the termination of their relationship, even if they feel relief at the cessation of violence. Through qualitative interviews with 14 female survivors of IPV, we critically examine the utility of Kubler-Ross' grief model to understand how women come to terms with their experiences of violence and the end of their violent relationships. Results suggest that Kubler-Ross' model helps explain the emotional reactions and decision-making of IPV survivors in regard to staying, leaving and returning to their partners. While a model developed to explain grief due to death may not entirely explain the reactions of IPV survivors going through the process of leaving abusive partners, and does not account for psychological reactions to trauma, social workers and mental-health professionals can use this grief model as a framework to better tailor services to survivors of IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Bereavement
  • Domestic violence
  • Loss and separation
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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