Date of Conferral







Medha Talpade


Lesbian intimate partner violence (IPV) is an understudied social and psychological problem in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative, comparative study was to understand any barriers of help-seeking behaviors for victims of lesbian IPV. The literature on lesbian IPV has not included the perspectives of both service provider and support person on why these barriers persist. Normative resource theory and the barriers model informed the study. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 8 providers and 5 support persons. Interviews were then transcribed and coded. The 7 themes that emerged among these 13 participants were an unawareness on how to get help, inability on the part of the victim to recognize abuse, lack of acknowledgement of abuse in the community, inadequate specialized training and policies to work with the lesbian community, no assurance of safety at the shelter, fear of disclosure of sexual orientation, and no confidence with system or service agency. All of these themes were identified as contributing factors that deterred lesbian IPV victims from seeking help. Although the findings are representative of a small sample, these findings can initiate positive social change by informing interventions which can bridge the gap between the lesbian IPV victim and the support services she needs.