Zuzana Vasiliauskaitė, Robert Geffner


Up to 75 % of women globally at some point in their lives have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) (Garcia-Moreno, Jansen, Ellsberg, Heise, & Watts, 2005). However, 60 % of the survivors suffer in silence (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014), therefore they cannot obtain help and protection. Therefore, we conducted the study with the aim to understand what keeps the women from help-seeking. In order to understand what keeps the women from disclosing IPV, we conducted the study and analysed IPV survivors’ non-disclosure reasons and their association with different forms of IPV. Through social media, 127 women survivors of IPV were recruited. The Composite Abuse Scale (CAS) and the Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA) were used together with the list of 12 possible reasons of non-disclosure. We found that the women reported the main reasons they did not disclose or seek help were shame (59.1 %) and wished to keep it in secret (40.9 %). Moreover, several binary logistic regression models revealed that non-disclosure reasons could be predicted by the severity and frequency of different forms of IPV. For example, the results indicated that the women who experience physical abuse were kept from disclosing it due to fear of abuser’s retaliation. It is possible that better protection of IPV survivors and efforts to reduce impunity substantially could result in increased helpseeking by IPV survivors. However, analysis suggests that one type of solution is not going to make a needed change. In order to increase help-seeking behaviour, a systemic approach is needed addressing policy, funding and resources available to help and protection providers. The findings can serve as guidelines for policies directed towards speedy and increased help-seeking from various professionals, institutions and organisations.


violence against women, intimate partner violence, barriers, non-disclosure, Lithuania.

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789