Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Theses & dissertations (Interdisciplinary)

First Advisor

Brenda Lohman

Second Advisor

Marta Maldonado


This feminist narrative study was designed to explore Latina victims' experiences and perceptions of current organizational and advocacy responses to domestic violence interventions. Understanding how cultural and social factors influence Latina victims' experiences with partner abuse is essential for the development of interventions and policies culturally appropriate to meet their particular needs. The primary data-collection method for this study was in-depth interviews, with a focus group used as a supportive method. The purposefully selected sample was composed of 10 Latina victims of partner abuse who had previously contacted an anti-violence organization in Iowa and had used its services. The data were coded and organized according to the research questions. Analysis and interpretation of results were organized by way of three categories based on the study's literature review and theoretical framework: (a) barriers influencing immigrant Latina victims' help-seeking behaviors, (b) immigrant Latina victims' perceptions about and experiences with advocacy services, (c) perceptions of immigrant Latina victims about how advocacy services need to change so victims of domestic violence can satisfy their full range of needs. Findings demonstrate immigration status, fear of partner and the inability to understand domestic violence given cultural norms, as major barriers keeping them from seeking help from formal advocacy agencies. Other impediments included the lack of knowledge of resources, lack of language proficiency in mainstream institutions, isolation and feelings of shame. In addition, results indicate that anti-violence services for Latina victims meet their full range of needs, yet there is a need for the development of more programs and services focusing on providing education/job-skill training to victims so they can achieve work and education-based self-sufficiency.


Copyright Owner

Angelica Reina



Date Available


File Format


File Size

132 pages