A qualitative systematic review of published work on disclosure and help-seeking for domestic violence and abuse among women from ethnic minority populations in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Domestic violence and abuse has been recognised as an international public health problem. However, the pervasiveness of the problem is unknown due in part to underreporting, especially among women from ethnic minority populations. In relation to this group, this review seeks to explore: (1) the barriers to disclosure; (2) the facilitators of help-seeking; and (3) self-perceived impacts of domestic violence.

Design: We systematically identified published qualitative studies conducted among women from ethnic minority populations in the UK. Data analysis was completed using thematic analysis approach.

Result: 562 papers were identified and eight papers from four studies conducted among women from ethnic minority populations in the UK met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Barriers to disclosure include: Immigration status, community influences, problems with language and interpretation, and unsupportive attitudes of staff within mainstream services. Facilitators of help-seeking were: escalation of abuse and safety of children. Self-perceived impact of abuse includes: shame, denial, loss of identity and lack of choice.

Conclusion: There is an on-going need for staff from domestic violence services to be aware of the complexities within which women from ethnic minority populations experience domestic violence and abuse.

KEYWORDS: Domestic violence and abuse, ethnic minority, qualitative review, disclosure and help-seeking, immigration, black women

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnicity and Health
Early online date7 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018