Using a feminist standpoint to explore women’s disclosure of domestic violence and their interaction with statutory agencies
AuthorsKeeling, June J.
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AbstractThis thesis explores women’s disclosure of domestic violence, and is based on the findings of two research studies. The first study explored prevalence rates of domestic violence reported by women following childbirth. The subsequent narrative study explored women’s experiences of disclosure and their interactions with statutory agencies. The research was influenced by a feminist epistemology, recognizing the marginalisation of the women’s experiences from a subjugated relationship, addressing the power relationship between the researcher and participants and because of the significant disparity between gendered lives. The study was conducted in two parts. A survey of five hundred women in the immediate postnatal period within a large NHS Hospital participated in the first part of the study. The second study involved narrative interviews with fifteen women living within their own community who talked about their experiences of domestic violence and issues surrounding disclosure. Women’s stories about disclosure including the responses they received were influenced by cultural narratives. The theories of social power have been utilized as an explanatory framework and provide the theoretical basis of the analysis. The study found low levels of disclosure at two specific points along the pregnancy/childbirth continuum; during booking in clinic and in the immediate postnatal period. Furthermore, the findings revealed three specific tactics used by perpetrators to engage women in the early relational stage with the intentionality of exerting control and subjugation. These have been termed feeling special, feeling vulnerable and commitment. Whilst women talked of coercion and subjugation by their partners, they also talked of how their interactions with statutory agencies limited their agency. The significance of this study is that the thesis was able to challenge contemporary policies developed by statutory agencies in the provision of support to women who experience domestic violence. The thesis develops some understanding of the nature and role of cultural narratives and patterns of disclosure before suggesting new directions to further advance the findings presented. Finally, the thesis proposes recommendations to improve training for statutory agencies in providing a response to women disclosing domestic violence, suggesting a new direction in thinking about the facilitation of this training.
CitationKeeling, J. (2004). A community-based perspective on living with domestic violence. Nursing Times, 100(11), pp. 28-29.
Keeling J., & Birch L. (2004) Asking pregnant women about domestic abuse. British Journal of Midwifery, 12(12), pp. 746-749
Keeling, J., Birch, L., & Green, P. (2004). Pregnancy Counselling Clinic: A questionnaire survey of intimate partner abuse. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 30(3), pp. 165-168.
Keeling, J., & van Wormer, K. (2011). Social worker interventions in situations of domestic violence: What we can learn from survivors’ personal narratives. British Journal of Social Work, 41, pp. 1-17.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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