Serving Survivors of Domestic Abuse: a Resource for Academic Libraries

Cunningham, Carolyn
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Survivors of interpersonal violence (IPV) have special information needs. Sometimes their home situations make it impossible to use conventional information channels in the ways that they need, perhaps to find out about women’s shelters, police assistance, or other services. Many IPV services take extra steps to extend information without inviting risk to their patrons. This endeavor got a boost from Internet technology where anonymity can be maintained and IPV survivors are able to access many resources and connect with services and other survivors. This study explores one such online communication tool. This message board brings together survivors from all over the world to share their stories, ask for help, exchange ideas, and support one another. I performed content analysis of transcripts of some of the message boards to understand the purpose of the information delivery, and how visitors to the message boards are using the information in the forums. This poster will present the findings of the research study as well as implications for libraries. By understanding this aspect of survivor information-seeking behavior, information professionals are better able to serve this population.