Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair



Domestic violence (DV) negatively impacts individuals and families, including children, across the U.S. Yet, there is little research on the barriers and facilitators to services these families encounter, especially in rural areas. The goal of this study was to examine service availability in rural areas for families who have experienced domestic violence.

This study was conducted using a qualitative research design. Researchers conducted face-to-face and phone interviews with nine human services professionals in one rural California community. The study used in-depth interviews with open-ended questions to encourage participants to share their views and experiences.

The findings were categorized into six key themes: limited knowledge of available services, gaps in rural areas, client reluctance to seek/accept services, need for specialized training to handle crisis situations, families and providers experiencing crisis, and professional discretion on intervention. Implications from the findings suggest the need for increased advocacy, education, and specialized training for professionals and paraprofessionals who encounter DV. Furthermore, participants recommended the implementation of an immediate response team for DV and expressed a desire for an expansion of current domestic violence services in the study community such as shelters and domestic violence counselors.

Included in

Social Work Commons