Responding to the Needs of Low-Income and Homeless Women Who Are Survivors of Family Violence

Americans have started to recognize interpersonal violence as a major health care issue. Increasingly, clinicians are beginning to recognize both the high rate of victimization among extremely poor women and its health consequences. However, most clinical responses focus on the immediate effects of child abuse, partner abuse, and rape. The long-term medical and mental health consequences and the relationship between early victimization and adult problems are still largely ignored. This article focuses on medical and mental health needs of extremely poor women survivors of interpersonal violence. It begins by documenting the extent and nature of violence against low-income women. Special attention is focused on the long-term sequelae of childhood abuse and on identifying and managing complex trauma responses in these women. The article concludes by discussing obstacles to care and the necessity of advocating for increased resources to respond to women living in extreme poverty. (Authors)

Focuses on the medical and mental health needs of women who are extremely poor and have experienced interpersonal violence. The authors describe the consequences of interpersonal violence and recommend strategies for understanding and responding to the needs of women with histories of trauma.

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Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association