Lesbian/bisexual mothers and intimate partner violence: Help seeking in the context of social and legal vulnerability

Jennifer Leeann Hardesty, Ramona Faith Oswald, Lyndal Khaw, Carol Fonseca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mothers in same-sex relationships face unique challenges when help seeking for intimate partner violence (IPV). Formal helping systems often invalidate their family relationships, leaving them vulnerable and distrustful when help seeking. To better understand their experiences, the authors interviewed 24 lesbian/bisexual mothers who were either in or had left abusive same-sex relationships. Increasing severity of violence, effects of violence on children and families, and "being tired" influenced their definitions of the situation. Decisions to seek formal help appeared to be influenced by their support from informal networks and perceived stigma related to the intersection of IPV and being lesbian or bisexual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-46
Number of pages19
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011



  • help seeking
  • intimate partner violence
  • lesbian/bisexual
  • mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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