When does a battered woman seek help from the police? The role of battered Women's functionality

Hee Yun Lee, Eonju Park, Elizabeth Lightfoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study explores how women's functional limitations resulting from domestic violence lead to police involvement. Examining functionality is a broader approach to exploring domestic violence outcomes than looking at injuries or impairments, and in this study we look at the social participation aspects of social functioning. One hundred eleven battered women in four metropolitan cities in the U. S. participated in anonymous telephone surveys. Approximately 80% of the battered women in the sample were involved with the police due to their experiences of domestic violence. Women's functionality was significantly associated with battered women's police involvement after controlling for socio-demographic and violence-related covariates. The current study identifies one aspect of women's functioning-social participation-as a critical predictor of their seeking of help from the police, and suggests implications for practice, including the need for police and domestic violence agencies to have awareness of the concept of functional limitations within a broader context of understanding disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability
  • Domestic violence
  • Functional limitations
  • Functionality
  • Help-seeking
  • Police involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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