Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly

Second Supervisor

Patricia Mason


Emergency domestic violence shelters are considered an important tool in the arsenal of resources against intimate partner violence. Despite the availability of shelters in the state of New York, transgender identified survivors face barriers that affect their ability and willingness to engage with mainstream domestic violence shelters. Given the lack of research in this area, this study was designed to give voice to this marginalized co-cultural group. This dissertation draws on the existing scholarship which demonstrates increasing denial rates for individuals who identify as transgender when seeking access to emergency domestic violence (DV) shelters in New York State. Using a phenomenological approach, nine participants shared their lived experiences and perceptions on access to DV shelter services. Findings revealed that transgender identified survivors face a multitude of barriers which are compounded by their intersecting identities. Three categories of barriers were identified including, social, institutional and intimate partner violence related barriers. Using co-culturally theory as the guiding paradigm, this research suggested that transgender identified survivors employ a multitude of communication strategies which are impacted by these barriers inclusive primarily of fields of experience (n=9, frequency 77) and situational context (n=9, frequency 77). Data also revealed that in spite of participants identifying a need for DV shelter services, the majority (n=8) chose not to engage with mainstream domestic violence shelters as a result of their fields of experience.

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