Women, Abuse, and the Welfare Bureaucracy

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Affilia, ISSN: 0886-1099, Vol: 21, Issue: 1, Page: 84-96

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https://works.bepress.com/janice_laakso/12; https://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/socialwork_pub/326
Laakso, Janice H.; Drevdahl, Denise J.
SAGE Publications
Social Sciences; abuse; frontline workers; welfare; Social Work
article description
Using critical and feminist theoretical frameworks, this report of a qualitative study describes women's perspectives of the welfare bureaucracy. An analysis of interviews with 38 women revealed emotional and economic abuse both in the welfare system and their personal lives. Interactions with frontline workers who implement the rules and regulations of welfare reform disempower recipients and mimic the conditions of abuse that these women have already experienced. Genograms provide a context for the women's personal histories. Recommendations include removing sanctions as a form of economic abuse, screening every applicant for interpersonal violence, and referring women to mental health services if necessary. © 2006 Sage Publications.