Substance Abuse Treatment Staff Perceptions of Intimate Partner Victimization Among Female Clients

Kunins, Hillary; Gilbert, Louisa; Whyte-Etere, Antonette; Meissner, Paul; Zachary, Mary

Providing intimate partner violence (IPV)-related services to women enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs has the potential to reach a population disproportionately affected by IPV. Integrating basic IPV services into substance abuse treatment, however, poses challenges to organizations and staff. Using focus groups, the authors examined the experiences and attitudes of substance abuse treatment staff towards clients with IPV victimization experiences in order to elucidate factors that might affect the implementation of IPV services within substance abuse treatment. Seven focus groups were conducted with staff members from substance abuse treatment programs in New York City. Although participants believed that IPV is common and negatively affects client recovery, they felt competing time demands, complex confidentiality issues, insufficient training and lack of agency leadership would impede their provision of IPV-services. The study suggests that system-level assessment and change is needed to provide IPV-related services in substance abuse treatment settings.

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Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

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Social Work
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April 3, 2012