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Seeking Help From Primary Health-Care Providers in High-Income Countries: A Scoping Review of the Experiences of Migrant and Refugee Survivors of Domestic Violence

journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-28, 15:21 authored by Molly Allen-Leap, Leesa HookerLeesa Hooker, Kayli WildKayli Wild, Ingrid M. WilsonIngrid M. Wilson, Bijaya PokharelBijaya Pokharel, Angela TaftAngela Taft

Migrant and refugee women experiencing domestic violence (DV) may face compounding factors that impact their ability and experiences of seeking help. Health-care providers are in a unique position to identify and assist victims of DV, however, they often lack the confidence and training to do this well. Little is known of the health-care experiences of migrant and refugee women experiencing abuse when they access primary health care (PHC). Using scoping review methodology, we undertook a systematic search of seven databases (Medline, Scopus, ProQuest, CINAHL, Informit Complete, and Google Scholar). We sought peer-reviewed and grey literature, published in English between January 1980 and August 2021 that identified women (18+) who had experienced DV, from low- or middle-income countries (LMICs), seeking help or health care in a primary care setting of a high-income country (HIC). Nine articles met the inclusion criteria. Findings identify sociocultural and sociopolitical barriers for migrant and refugee women seeking help for DV, which are contextualized within the ecological model. Migration-related factors and fear were major barriers for migrant and refugee women, while kindness, empathy and trust in health-care providers, and children’s well-being were the strongest motivators for help-seeking and disclosure. This review provides insight into an under-researched and marginalized group of victim-survivors and highlights the need for increased awareness, guidance, and continuing education for health-care providers and health-care systems to provide best practice DV care for migrant and refugee women.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Trauma, Violence, & Abuse

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  • Post-print

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