A Qualitative Study of Intimate Partner Violence and Employment Instability


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Maintaining employment while suffering from intimate partner violence (IPV) is extremely difficult given the direct and indirect ways abusers disrupt work. The current qualitative study seeks to strategically fill a gap in knowledge regarding survivors’ employment instability and gain insight toward creating more supportive workplaces for survivors. Women (N = 19) receiving services for IPV at a Midwest U.S. agency were interviewed about their experiences of employment instability, workplace disruptions (including via technology), and their perceptions of policies and practices that employers use to support employees experiencing abuse. Specifically, the study asks four research questions to address gaps in literature: (a) What are the employment instability experiences of survivors related to IPV, including attendance, hours, and job loss? (b) What are survivors’ experiences of workplace disruptions, including with technology? (c) What formal employer policies and practices related to IPV are survivors familiar with? and (d) What workplace supports do IPV survivors perceive to be helpful or harmful? Findings uniquely contribute to existing literature by revealing employment instability among mothers, highlighting the use of technology to disrupt survivors’ work, and determining existing policies and procedures that workplaces use to address IPV. Implications for advocates working with survivors as well as employer and state policymakers are discussed.

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