Domestic Violence Survivors Study Released in China

December 2008

On December 10, China’s Anti-Domestic Violence Network (Anti-DV Network) released the initial findings of China’s first study working directly with domestic violence survivors to identify areas in social and advocacy services that are in need of improvement. The study is part of a broader program, supported by the Anti-DV Network and the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), to increase strategic multi-agency coordination in providing support services to domestic violence survivors. The results provide insights about the formal and informal channels domestic violence survivors utilize for support and where additional resources are needed to improve services for survivors.

The findings indicate that the majority of survivors rely primarily on informal channels, such as family and friends, for support after an instance of abuse occurs. When formal channels are utilized by survivors, they most often look to local branches of the Women’s Federation (29%), with police stations (20%) and local governmental village and neighborhood committees (18%) also offering a significant source of assistance. Seventy-five percent (75%) of women who sought help through formal channels report receiving some form of assistance; however, the study also indicates that abused women have relatively low expectations for outside organizations and the assistance they can offer.

Respondents also reported that, while formal organizations are relatively effective at providing emotional support, concrete needs—such as medical services, emergency housing, monetary support and legal assistance to begin divorce proceedings and to assist with custody issues—remain largely unmet. Support organizations can use the study results to better tailor their services and to more effectively implement improvement efforts to the benefit of domestic violence survivors.

A key aspect of the Anti-DV Network and ABA ROLI partnership is a focus on increasing the local capacity to collect and utilize credible, empirical data to inform policymaking and social service delivery. The partnership works with several local organizations on these efforts, including: Maple Women’s Psychological Counseling Center, Beijing; Women’s Federation of Liaoning Province; Xuzhou City Domestic Violence Shelter, Jiangsu Province; Xiaogan City Women’s Federation, Hubei Province; Qingdao City Women’s Federation, Shandong Province; Luoyang City Women’s Federation, Henan Province; and Qinglong County Women’s Federation, Hebei Province. ABA ROLI has worked closely with the Anti-DV Network to provide technical assistance to participating groups. 

Next steps for this program include police trainings, which will be held throughout the country, on effective methods of police intervention in domestic violence cases.

To learn more about our work in China, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <rol@staff.abanet.org>.

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