WINGS

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Women's Impressions – Gathering Stories

Exploring women's experiences of fear and abuse from an alcohol-affected intimate partner

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About the study

There is a well established association of heavy and binge drinking with the risk of intimate partner violence (IPV), and increased severity of injury. Little is known about women's experiences of alcohol-related IPV in the broader community, the temporal experience of drinking and violence and the trajectory of relationships involving alcohol-related violence.

The WINGS study draws on women's experience of alcohol-related IPV to better understand the dynamics of drinking and violence, and the strategies women used to keep themselves safe in relation to their partner's drinking and risk of harm. Eighteen women aged 20-50 years living in Victoria were interviewed and the data analysed using Constructivist Grounded Theory methods. The aim of the study is to use this information to help inform prevention strategies.

Researchers

This qualitative research was undertaken by Ingrid Wilson for her doctoral studies with La Trobe University under supervision of Professor Angela Taft and Dr Kathryn Graham from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada. Professor Kelsey Hegarty and Dr Jodie Valpied from the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne also contributed to the research . Ingrid's doctoral studies were funded by an Australian Postgraduate Research Award and the Australian Rechabite Foundation.

This study was approved by the human research ethics committees of La Trobe University (HEC13-040) and the University of Melbourne (1340521).

Contact

To contact Ingrid regarding any aspect of this research, email: I.Wilson@latrobe.edu.au

Results

The key outcome of the research was the development of an innovative model of the cycle of drinking and intimate partner violence representing a unique insight into the dynamics of drinking and intimate partner violence from the perspective of female survivors. The model has application for service providers who work with female survivors to assist in safety planning where the male partner is a violent drinker, and for intervention with male perpetrators with drinking problems as it provides an important insight into the female partner's experience of a violent episode.

The research also provides an insight into the women’s perceptions of the role of a partner’s alcohol use in their experience of abuse and the trajectory of these relationships. These findings provide important information to assist in identifying intervention points for women living with a violent drinker.

Thesis and Publications

Wilson, IM., Graham, K., & Taft, A. (2017). Living the cycle of drinking and violence: A qualitative study of women's experience of alcohol-related intimate partner violence. Drug and Alcohol Review. Special Issue. 36(1): 115-124. doi:10.1111/dar.12405

Wilson, IM., Graham, K., & Taft, A. (2014). Alcohol interventions, alcohol policy and intimate partner violence: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 881. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-881

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