To report or not to report: the dilema of decision making among women survivors of intimate partner violence in Lwemiyaga Sub-County Sembabule District
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The objective of the study was to assess the dilemma of decision making among women survivors to report or not report about intimate partner violence in Lwemiyaga sub-county Sembabule District. This qualitative study used interviews with 20 women survivors of IPV and key informant interviews with 10 Leaders (Local chairmen, councilors, Sub County CDO, District PSWO, Para-social Workers, and women leaders) to explore their path-ways to support and their experiences of barriers and facilitators to report or not report about intimate partner violence in Lwemiyaga sub-county Sembabule District. Women recounted long journeys of ambivalence, often only disclosing abuse after leaving the perpetrator. Access to specialist support rarely came via general practitioners, despite high levels of consulting for anxious and depressed feelings, and was more often facilitated by police or housing agencies following a crisis such as assault. Informal reporting about IPV only led to specialist help if the family member or friend themselves had experience or knowledge of IPV. Women experiencing IPV need earlier access to specialized IPV services. Many women needed an ‘enabler’ to facilitate access, but once this contact was made, reporting IPV to other professionals or to family and friends was legitimized in the eyes of the women. Safely accessible publicity about IPV services and an appropriate response from social and healthcare professionals should be promoted, including support for women reporting about IPV to act on the information they receive about services.