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Open AccessArticle

Health Risks Related to Domestic Violence against Roma Women

1
Department of Social Work and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Care, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia
2
Department Community & Occupational Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3
Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, Faculty of Medicine, Safarik University, 040 01 Kosice, Slovakia
4
Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Theological Faculty, Palacky University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic
5
Institute of Romani Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Care, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6992; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196992
Received: 30 August 2020 / Revised: 22 September 2020 / Accepted: 23 September 2020 / Published: 24 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women, Patriarchy and Health Inequalities: An Unresolved Issue)
Background: Data on Roma women’s experience of violence from their male partners are very scarce. We explored the process of actual domestic violence against Roma women, the threat of violence and its health consequences. We further focused on barriers in the availability of specialized support services aimed at eliminating domestic violence. Methods: The sample included 20 Roma women living throughout Slovakia: scattered among the majority (45.0%), in crisis centers and sheltered houses (40.0%), and in segregated Roma settlements (15.0%). Data were obtained through qualitative research by means of semi-structured interviews in 20 individual case studies. All 20 women had experienced a combination of violence: physical, psychological and economic, all of them connected with social isolation. Results: Prevailing gender stereotypes are a precondition of domestic violence against women, regardless of their status. Violence against Roma women resulted in several health consequences, and all of the 20 women suffered from these. Most of them reported general psychological problems (75%), among which anxiety and depression (25%), headache (25%), weight loss (10%) and health problems connected with motor activity (5%). The barriers include lack of awareness among Roma women of any specialised support services and the absence of such services for abused women in the region. Conclusions: Domestic violence results in serious psychological and physical health consequences. Violence elimination is generally set up without a specific ethnic or gender approach. Disregard of these specifics can lead to deepening of the uneven position of Roma women within the family, community and society, and the acceptance of violence against Roma women. View Full-Text
Keywords: Roma women; intimate partner violence; handicaps; health consequences Roma women; intimate partner violence; handicaps; health consequences
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Kozubik, M.; van Dijk, J.P.; Rac, I. Health Risks Related to Domestic Violence against Roma Women. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6992.

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