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'Nobody ever chooses this ...': a qualitative study of service providers working in the sexual violence sector - key issues and challenges

, : 'Nobody ever chooses this ...': a qualitative study of service providers working in the sexual violence sector - key issues and challenges. Health & Social Care in the Community 17(3): 295-303

This paper describes the findings from the first stage of a study designed to assess the impact of sexual violence (SV) on the lives of Irish women. Stakeholder interviews (n = 18) were undertaken to explore experiences of delivering services to people who have experienced SV, in rural and urban settings in Ireland. A range of themes and sub-themes were identified through a thematic analysis, and interrelationships between two of the main themes (barriers to services and current gaps in service provision) are discussed. Sub-themes include: survivor guilt and shame, difficulties in naming the incident as SV, problems with the Criminal Justice System and the availability of Sexual Assault Treatment Units. Participants identified an urgent need for a co-ordinated national strategy in the form of a public awareness and education campaign in order to undermine commonly held rape myths and stereotypes. The findings will be of interest to all health and social care professionals who are in contact with women who have experienced SV. They will also help to raise an awareness of the 'hidden' costs of SV, and inform appropriate policies and community-based responses to this important social problem.


PMID: 19175426

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2008.00834.x

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