Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

James Simon


This qualitative study was designed to explore a person’s experiences of both exposure to domestic violence in childhood and domestic violence in their current relationships. Considering that domestic violence impacts the social wellbeing of an individual, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to a person’s decision to leave the relationship, especially the factors that made it difficult to leave and the services that were accessible to the person.

To explore the aforementioned factors, this study examined interviews of eight female survivors of domestic violence that were receiving services through a domestic violence agency. The student researchers utilized in-depth interviews to gather information about their experiences with childhood exposure to domestic violence and domestic violence in their dating relationships. By using conventional content analysis, the following themes emerged: types of exposure to domestic violence in childhood, challenges to leaving the relationship, motivation for leaving the relationship, and services utilized. The student researchers found that the participants were exposed to domestic violence by seeing, hearing, observing the aftermath, and engaging in the altercation. Furthermore, positive support systems such as family and friends played a significant role in avoiding domestic violence in future relationships among the sample. The findings highlight the experiences of exposure to domestic violence and how earlier experiences were perceived to be related to subsequent experiences of violence in future dating relationships. In addition, our findings indicate that having positive support systems and utilizing resources available may help domestic violence survivors.

Included in

Social Work Commons