Document Type

Capstone project

Publication Date

Summer 2024


In this research, I examined the use of mental health services at domestic violence (DV) programs in rural and urban Pennsylvania and agency size. I examined the needs, characteristics, and availability of mental health services for DV survivors across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I looked at DV service use from a variety of sources to provide a well-rounded understanding of the factors that contributed to mental health service use. I used three secondary data sources: the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), Adequacies of Network of Services Provided to the Survivors of Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania–Phase II study, and data obtained from publicly available DV agency websites. Each resource helped me to create an in depth understanding of service utilization for DV survivors across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from a variety of a perspectives. In this study, I included data from 214 DV survivors at DV agencies, 49 DV agency websites, and 6,139 DV survivors in Pennsylvania communities. I examined

factors that impacted mental health service use by reviewing descriptive statistics and analyzing website content. I found there was an overall lack of mental health service support across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at DV agencies, regardless of agency size and location. There were slightly more services at large agencies than small agencies; however, there was no difference based on agency locality. In this study, I used feminist and ecological theories, the healthcare beliefs model, and the Andersen and Newman model to inform the factors impacting mental health service use. I uncovered the following themes: agency use of nonmental health counseling services, overarching use of crisis services, and no psychiatry at DV agencies. The results have several policy implications regarding federal and state government programs, especially the Violence Against Women Act. Based on the findings of this study, I propose specific considerations should be made to fund training to for mental health providers in the treatment of DV survivors and funding should be increased for agencies where onsite and community mental health programs are not accessible.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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