Authors: Salter M
J Trauma Dissociation. 2017 Feb 23;:1-13
This paper reports on the preliminary findings of a qualitative study of Australian women disclosing organized abuse in adulthood and the mental health professionals who treat them. Drawing on interviews with survivors and mental health professionals, the paper analyses the fraught relationship between mental health and physical safety for adults subject to organized abuse. The therapeutic progress of adult organized abuse victims can be disrupted by ongoing threats, stalking, and group violence, which in turn reinforces the dissociative responses and pathological attachments that render them vulnerable to revictimization. The paper argues that breaking this cycle requires intervention from multiple agencies, and describes the responses of police, medical services, and child protection services to adult organized abuse from the perspective of survivors and mental health practitioners. Highlighting systemic failures but also opportunities, the paper calls for a coordinated response to organized abuse in adulthood, including inter-agency partnerships to support safety and bolster the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.