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Requesting support to step out of domestic abuse: What does it take?
Domestic abuse is a societal problem with tremendously high human and social costs. Nonetheless, this ‘shadow pandemic’ happening to at least every fourth women worldwide, remains unseen and undisclosed. Often, victims’ shame, fear, and lack of resources and perpetrators’ misrecognition, denial, and control motivation appear to keep cases under lock and key. This remains a key challenge to frontline responders who want to detect and manage domestic abuse. An interview study with twelve frontline responders from various professional backgrounds in two German cities revealed the importance of active measures that facilitate detection of domestic violence and respective support. Proactive contacting, trust building, and respectful question asking were considered decisive factors for disclosure and request of support. Practical implications for frontline responder support in domestic abuse cases and avenues for future research are discussed.