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The experiences of IPV social workers who went through the critical IPV events of their clients
Intimate Partner Violence
Critical Domestic Violence Events
The current operations of the domestic violence prevention safety net usually requires the victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) to first report a case, and then the service is initiated. During the process of providing services, the social worker puts the client’s personal safety as the first priority. The process of intervention, often affected by subjective and objective factors, may lead to fatal threats being made to clients, or even the occurrence of critical IPV events. When major IPV occurs, parties involved may face multiple pressures, such as questions coming from the public, reviews performed within and without the system, and internal trauma. What do social workers experience when facing major incidents? What are their responses and adjustments after major incidents, and what are their reflections on the existing system? These are the main purposes of this study. This study adopted the in-depth interview method and interviewed five IPV prevention workers, all who have experienced critical events affecting their clients while providing such IPV services. This study used a retrospective method to learn what difficulties and challenges they faced during the process of providing services, and the strategies they adopted for implementing these intervention services. What trauma, if any, did the social workers experience when they learned that critical events had affected their clients? How did they face the series of reviews coming from within and without the system? What are their reflections on the current IPV prevention service system now, after their experiences with critical events? The research results and summarized recommendations of this study can serve as a reference for pre-employment and on-the-job education and training for those who are interested in working in IPV prevention, and for employee self-preparation, as well as system preparation. Research Findings: 1.The client's self-determination ranks higher than the professional risk assessment: when the interviewee contacts their clients, they can only play the role of coach and guide, and then provide a security plan after evaluating the clients’ situation via high-risk online meetings. However, under the premise of clients’ self-determination, it is difficult to alter the possible risks. 2.Risk assessment and network cooperation are of great importance to the success of intervention services: the intervention service process focuses on the risk assessment and network cooperation available to, the client. Furthermore, such network cooperationis affected by regional resource allocation and the extent of risk for each case. 3.Violence that involves intimate terrorism is more likely to lead to critical events: Parties involved in such critical events are mostly affected by emotional loyalty or sexual jealousy. 4.Internal feelings and responses when facing critical events: 1. Internalizing ethical values that trigger self-blame; 2. Getting through an emotional slump with the help of social support; 3. Transforming the meaning and understanding of the event. Based on the findings, this study makes a few suggestions: 1.At the time of the incident, try to put the client's mind at ease, provide closer supervision, and be more sensitive to the emotional changes as experienced by the supervisee. 2.Construct basic education and training paths that extend to professional networks. 3.Enhance self-awareness via practical experience exchanges with other professionals, and expand the scope of education and training, especially concerning the understanding of the context of IPV. 4.Become more competent in the profession through the honing and challenges, while providing direct services.
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