Barriers and facilitators to effective coverage of Intimate Partner Violence services for immigrant women in Spain

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Abstract

Objective

To explore service providers' perceptions in order to identify barriers and facilitators to effective coverage of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) services for immigrant women in Spain, according to the different categories proposed in Tanahashi's model of effective coverage.

Methods

A qualitative study based on 29 in-depth personal interviews and four group interviews with a total of 43 professionals working in public services (social and health-care services, women's refuges, the police force, the judiciary) and NGOs in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Alicante (Spain) in 2011.

Findings

Current IPV services in Spain partially fail in their coverage of abused immigrant women due to barriers of (i) availability, such as the inexistence of culturally appropriate services; (ii) accessibility, as having a residence permit is a prerequisite for women's access to different services and rights; (iii) acceptability, such as women's lack of confidence in the effectiveness of services; and (iv) effectiveness, for example, lack of specific training among professionals on the issues of IPV and immigration. However, interviewees also identified facilitators, such as the enabling environment promoted by the Spanish Law on Gender-Based Violence (1/2004), and the impetus it has provided for the development of other specific legislative tools to address IPV in immigrant populations in Spain (availability, accessibility and effectiveness).

Conclusion

Whilst not dismissing cultural barriers, aspects related to service structure are identified by providers as the main barriers and facilitators to immigrant women use of IPV services. Despite noteworthy achievements, improvements are still required in terms of mainstreaming assistance tailored to immigrant women's needs in IPV policies and services.

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