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For example, female risk assessments seem strongly related to past relationship violence and weakly related to the partner's criminal history Connor-Smith et al. Moreover, researchers have examined factors that may influence victims' perceptions and their accuracy Cattaneo et al. Thus, while stalking seems to lead women to make accurate estimates of reabuse, female substance abuse erroneously reduces risk estimation..

Perception of risk is usually taken into account in many areas because it may change the probability of an event occurring and the severity of its consequences Breakwell, Zoellner et al.

Assessing Dangerousness: Violence by Batterers and Child Abusers, Second Edition / Edition 2

The present study looks at the relationships between women's perceived risk, their safety-related behaviors, and post-separation violence. For example, w omen may become involved in routine activities that make them easier to track, keep in touch with their former intimate partners, or not protect themselves for different reasons. In addition, batterers may use different strategies to make such contacts occur.

The question is whether women's perception of risk prevents these situations and whether it contributes to their safety..


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Women's activities that make them easier to track. The routine activities perspective has demonstrated its usefulness in accounting for different types of victimization. It also seems clear that routine activities involve risk for women who have left their abusers, especially for those who live in the same community or relate within the same social network Mele, However, the association between routine activities after leaving a violent relationship and women's risk perception has not been explored.. Women's reasons for not protecting themselves.

Women may not take measures for protecting themselves, even after reporting abuse. Professionals working in protection services give different explanations for this, ranging from lack of awareness of the seriousness of the problem to feelings of helplessness. For example, they mentioned that some women believe that divorce will end their problems, making subsequent protection unnecessary.

Likewise, women may also distrust protection measures, and not consider them truly helpful in preventing their abusers from trying to do harm to them. In short, more research is needed to generate strategies to enhance women's ability to protect themselves.. Batterers' strategies to gain access to women.

Along with the use of children, previous interviews outlined other strategies used to approach women, to get victims not to declare against them at the trial, to restart the relationship, etc. For example, batterers show repentance, threaten to commit suicide, use friends or family members, etc.

However, to what degree do these strategies allow men to succeed in maintaining contacts with and tracking women? To what extent do they contribute to increasing the risk of reabuse?. A measure of reabuse six months later was included. The proposed model is based on the following hypotheses:. Hypothesis 1: The greater the frequency of post-separation violence, the greater the women's risk perception..

Hypothesis 2: The greater the women's risk perception, the less likely they are to act in a way that makes them easier to track or to agree with the reasons offered for not protecting themselves.. Hypothesis 3: The greater the frequency of batterers' strategies, the more likely women are to act in a way that makes them easier to track and to agree with the reasons offered for not protecting themselves.. Hypothesis 4: The more likely women are to act in a way that makes them easier to track and to agree with the reasons offered for not protecting themselves, the higher the risk of reabuse six months later..

Participants were women who had concluded a violent relationship. The age difference between partners was, on average, 3. However, the differences reached up to 19 more in some women and 20 more in some men. The educational level of the women was higher than that of their male partners e. In With respect to the relationship status of participants, Most participants were mothers They had suffered violence during a mean of 7.

About half of participants Participants were selected by means of two non-probabilistic procedures. After receiving authorization from the agency that coordinates these protection services, staff invited women over 18 to collaborate.

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Participation was voluntary and all women who agreed to respond were selected for the study. With the second group, a snow-ball procedure was used. Both groups of participants received identical instructions. Confidentiality of data was assured..

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The instrument used in this study was developed through several steps. Then, a first questionnaire was designed and tested in a previous pilot study. Finally, exploratory factorial analyses allowed developing a smaller but more rigorous instrument, which consists of several scales whose psychometric properties have been established Santana-Hernandez, Besides collecting data on socio-demographic variables, relationship characteristics, safety-related information, etc. This information was obtained in Women's risk perception.

A six-item scale was used to measure women's risk perception. Participants were asked to estimate the level of risk, for themselves and their families, of suffering these aggressions. The scale ranged from 0 no risk to 10 high risk and its reliability was. Participants were asked to estimate how often they engaged in each of these activities. Their answers ranged from 0 never to 10 very often..

Participants indicated their level of agreement with each statement from 0 total disagreement to 10 total agreement.. Batterers' strategies. Participants indicated the frequency of each male strategy on a scale ranging from 0 never to 10 very frequently.. Post-separation violence. Participants indicated the frequency of each of the types of aggression on a scale ranging from 0 never to 10 very frequently.. First, measurement models were calculated for the nine latent variables expected.

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Table 1 shows the indicators properly loaded on these factors. Second, a Structural Equation Model SEM was adjusted for the entire sample to determine whether the postulated model adequately generated the sample variance-covariance matrix. The first SEM estimated included all the variables of each theoretical dimension and the hypothesized relations between the factors without other restrictions. This model was re-estimated until a factorial structure with fit was achieved.

Thus, it was estimated a SEM without this factor. The modification indices based on Wald's test and the expected change statistics ECs guided model modifications.


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  • As shown in Figure 1, Psychological Violence, Risk Perception, and Batterers' Strategies exhibited covariance with each other, and predict the other five factors included in the SEM estimated. However, while Risk Perception reduces the likelihood of Self-deception and Contact, the other two factors positively relate to other endogenous variables. Specifically, Batterers' Strategies increases the likelihood of Contact and Routines, and Psychological Violence positively relates to Helplessness.

    Moreover, Self-deception predicts Routines and Contact predicts Intimacy. Therefore, the SEM estimated supports the first three hypotheses. Risk Perception and Batterers' Strategies relate to female actions that make them easier to track and reasons for not protecting themselves, but in the opposite way, which supports hypotheses 2 and 3. Moreover, Psychological Violence and Risk Perception positively relate to each other, as stated in hypothesis 1.

    Indirect effects were not detected.. Figure 1. Structural Equation Model with all participants. Once this model was adjusted for the complete sample, it was simultaneously estimated for both groups of participants. The SEMs estimated for both groups were similar to that estimated for the entire sample and comparable to each other Figure 2. Standardized parameters of each group may be seen on Table Figure 2. Structural Equation Model comparing the two groups.

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    Given that this information was only obtained in Thus, the odds of suffering reabuse decreases 1. More specifically, it has tried to answer whether women's risk perception relates to their behaviors and safety after separation. The results also shed light on factors associated with risk perception.. As stated in hypothesis 1, women's risk perception is positively related to post-separation violence. This is consistent with research that points to the importance of some forms of psychological abuse such as stalking or threats in the estimation of risk of new assaults by victims of IPV Cattaneo et al.

    However, given that both measures were taken at the same time in this study, causality cannot be determined.