Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre



Intimate partner violence is a widely recognized problem in today’s society and in the social work field. It is also often considered one of the most complicated issues to adequately address and prevent. There are many challenges in understanding how IPV can occur and worsen over time, as well as why some victims choose to stay with their abusers. Intervening in relationships and families that are experiencing IPV is not an easy task, especially if the social worker who is dealing with the issue is not knowledgeable or has pre-conceived biases about domestic violence. In this study, the terms Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Domestic Violence (DV) were used interchangeably as both terms describe some type of abusive behavior by one individual towards another in a relationship. This quantitative study assessed the perceptions of social work students in the CSUSB MSW program towards victims of IPV who stay with their abusers. Participants completed an online survey that was created by the researcher using Qualtrics software. The study hypothesized that students’ perceptions about IPV victims varied depending on their personal and professional experience with IPV. This hypothesis was not supported by the data. Furthermore, the study hypothesized that students’ perceptions of IPV victims varied by the students’ education levels. This hypothesis was not supported by the data. The study is limited by a small sample of participants from one particular MSW program; these findings cannot be generalized to all social work students or to social workers in general. These findings and their implications for social work practice and curriculum are discussed.