Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Reports and Discussion Papers
Title: Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies (UNARS): Children's experiences of domestic violence
Author(s): Callaghan, Jane E M
Alexander, Joanne H
Citation: Callaghan JEM & Alexander JH (2015) Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies (UNARS): Children's experiences of domestic violence. European Commission. Northampton.
Keywords: domestic abuse
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: This report focuses on children’s experiences of domestic violence, in families affected by domestic violence. Our report is concerned with children’s experiences in situations where the main perpetrator and victim of violence would be legally defined as two adults in an intimate relationship (not where the child is involved in ‘dating violence’). Research and professional practice that focuses on children as damaged witnesses to domestic violence tends to describe children as passive and helpless. Our study, based on interviews with more than a hundred children across four European countries, recognises the significant suffering caused to children who experience domestic violence. However, it also tells a parallel story, about the capacity of children who experience domestic violence to cope, to maintain a sense of agency, to be resilient, and to find ways of resisting violence, and build a positive sense of who they are. Our project highlights the implications of policy and professional discourses that position children as ‘damaged’ and as ‘witnesses’, but that do not recognise children’s capacity to experience domestic violence, make sense of it, and respond to it in ways that are agentic, resilient and resistant. Describing children as ‘witnesses’, ‘exposed to domestic violence’ and ‘damaged by it’ erodes children’s capacity to represent their experiences, and to articulate the ways that they cope with and resist such experiences. By focusing on children’s capacity for conscious meaning making and agency in relation to their experiences of domestic violence, we highlight the importance of recognising its impact on children, and their right to representation as victims in the context of domestic violence.
Type: Project Report
Rights: Copyright © The Authors assert their copyright to this report
Affiliation: University of Northampton
University of Northampton

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Callaghan-EC report-2015.pdfFulltext - Published Version4.23 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.