Proceedings of The World Conference on Social Sciences
Experiences of Workers at Domestic Violence Shelters in South Korea
Hee-Jin Kim and Ok-Chai Choi
In South Korea, a lot of research has been conducted about domestic violence victims, who are residents of domestic violence shelters, but there are very few studies about the workers who supporting these victims and these studies are mostly quantitative. Workers at these shelters communicate closely with victims. As they protect them, they are also exposed to secondary trauma and various threats. Therefore, it is necessary to take a closer look at the experiences of these workers as well. In this study, interviews were conducted with six employees working at domestic violence shelters in South Korea. They were asked the research question “What are the experiences of domestic violence shelter workers?” and a within-case and cross-case analysis of qualitative case studies with collected date was conducted. Through the within-case analysis, we looked at the individual contexts of the study participants. The cross-cases analysis resulted in nine topics: Empathy or an objective approach, Cause of conflict as well as arbitrator, Difficulty in being objective, Guilt for not providing enough support, Exposure to danger, Supporter or an obstruction, Poor work condition and lack of respect, Motivation to work, Facilitator of change. On the basis of these, I have recommended that a system is needed that guarantees the safety of workers of in the shelter, establishment of a smooth cooperative system with relevant agencies, practical programs to deal with secondary trauma and exhaustion, treatment of workers, and improvement of working conditions.
Keywords: experience of a worker; domestic violence; domestic violence shelter; case study.