Although first responders in Nebraska and around the country are tasked with helping domestic abuse victims, they may actually make victims feel worse about their circumstances. To see what their attitudes toward domestic violence were, 403 EMTs took a survey conducted by Florida State and University of Windsor researchers. Of those who responded, 33 percent said that domestic violence is a normal response to daily stress.

Another 21 percent said that abused women actually enjoy being abused. Finally, 46 percent of respondents said that there was nothing that could be done if an abuse victim didn’t disclose the abuse. The researchers said that they weren’t surprised by the results of the study. One said that the views expressed in the survey tend to be broadly held throughout society. This may discourage victims from seeking help as they may feel judged or as if what happened was their fault.

Even if a first responder does point a victim to resources that can help that person, it may not be enough to solve the problem. In fact, a victim may be less likely to make use of those resources if emergency personnel aren’t empathetic toward that person. The authors of the study said that more education is needed to make sure that myths surrounding domestic abuse don’t hinder the ability of EMS personnel to help those who may need it.

Domestic abuse may play a role in who gets custody of a child. However, it may not necessarily disqualify the abuser from having visitation privileges. Those who are concerned about their safety or the safety of their children may want to consult with an attorney who may help preserve their rights.