Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria C. Dinis, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laura Boisen, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gayle Thomas, M.S.W.


Despite the number of services available to battered women, few focus on working with those who remain in the abusive relationships. The Harm Reduction approach is one geared towards working with women who have not yet made the decision to leave their abusive partner. This hermeneutic, interpretive study of women's narratives revealed that the harm reduction approach provided non-judgmental support, which was conducive to increasing women's overall awareness of themselves, their situation, and their options. It is recommended that social workers and other human service agencies recognize the complexity, individuality and strength in each battered woman they encounter, facilitate a non-judgmental approach in working with them, and that battered women's experience and choice is validated rather than stigmatized or pathologized for the problem.


SC 11.MSW.2001.Segelstr.D

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