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Help-Seeking for Intimate Partner and Family Violence Among Tertiary Students in Australia: Nature, Extent, and Cross-Cultural Differences

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posted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by L Zark, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou, Lata SatyenLata Satyen
AbstractIntimate partner and family violence (IPFV) is highly prevalent among tertiary students in Australia and internationally. Yet, relatively little is known about the help-seeking patterns of student victim-survivors and how these patterns vary cross-culturally. This study examined formal help-seeking needs, behaviors, and barriers among women tertiary students in Australia who had experienced IPFV and cross-cultural differences therein. Cross-sectional survey data were collected from adult women studying at tertiary education institutions across Australia. Those who reported IPFV (physical, sexual, psychological, and/or financial) victimization during their adult lives were included in this study (N = 1,606). Descriptive statistics were calculated for the full sample and by cultural identity. A series of logistic regression analyses was conducted to assess associations between culture and help-seeking, unadjusted and adjusted for sociodemographic factors (gender identity, age, area, employment, and institution type). Less than half (48.7%) of participants had sought formal help, despite a larger proportion (66.2%) perceiving a need for such help. Two thirds (65.5%) of participants reported barriers to help-seeking, which were predominantly attitudinal or normative in nature. Cultural identity was significantly associated with help-seeking in the unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Cultural minority students were generally less likely to perceive a need for help and to seek help than the majority. Continued efforts are needed to promote and facilitate formal help-seeking for IPFV among tertiary students, and particularly among cultural minority students. Further work is needed to understand the factors that contribute to cultural inequalities in help-seeking and to inform culturally responsive support services for student victim-survivors.



Journal of Family Violence


1 - 18




Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal