VAMHN members and VAMHN funded ECRs will be attending the 2023 European Conference on Domestic Violence in September to share their important work on Interventions, Coercive Control, and Violence Researcher Well-being.
Dr Alexis Palfreyman and Dr Sharli Paphitis will be presenting VAMHN funded research on Coercive Control in Youth Relationships.
About their work: Research on intimate partnerships before marriage, including perceptions and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among young and unmarried women, remains scant across South Asia. This study generated an understanding of IPV experienced within contemporary intimate partnerships across Sri Lanka from the perspective of young unmarried women, by exploring (1) their perceptions of violence in pre-marital relationships; (2) forms and use of controlling behaviours in youth intimate partnerships; (3) the extent to which these are viewed as IPV; and, (4) rationalisations for coercive control and IPV. Eight young women (18-29) from three provinces were recruited to co-lead this research as part of a larger multi-method Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) project. Each PEER researcher conducted three rounds of in-depth interviews with three socially connected female peers (18-29) (n=24), complemented by a creative writing exercise. Framework analysis was applied across the dataset. Young women defined modern intimate relationships as love affairs, boyfriend/girlfriend arrangements, marriage, or recurring sexual relationships between people (excluding sex work). IPV was most commonly perceived to begin through acts of controlling behaviour, including regulating dress and social contacts, expecting declarations and approved ‘gestures’ of love and commitment, and being subject to check-ins or surveillance by the male partner and/or his trusted social contacts. Acts of coercive control were perceived to be viewed as a ‘less serious’ form of abuse among young women and/or rationalised as culturally normative gestures of love and attention. Understanding modern (pre-marital) intimate relationships and the role and emergence of coercive control within them from the perspective of young and unmarried women is a crucial foundation for developing interventions to prevent IPV and promote healthy relationships. Further research exploring evolving pre-marital courtship practices and culturally appropriate interventions to address normalisation and rationalisations of coercive control are required.
Ms Anjuli Kaul, Dr Katherine Saunders and Dr Sharli Paphitis will be presenting their VAMHN funded research on Improving Emotional Safety, Coping, and Resilience Among People Conducting Research on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse.
Violence and abuse (VA) researchers are frequently exposed to traumatic material through their work, including through hearing first-hand accounts of trauma when conducting interviews with perpetrators and survivors; recruiting participants in trauma services (e.g. Sexual Assault Referral Centres, prisons etc.); and absorbing distressing material through analysing secondary data. Subsequently, VA researchers are susceptible to experiencing secondary trauma throughout their work. Seven female VA researchers were recruited for inclusion in the study from 5 different UK universities. Participant ages ranged from approximately 25 – 65 years old, and their level of experience in the field ranged from 1.5-15 years. This research found that symptoms of secondary trauma are common amongst VA researchers. Mental harms arise from a range of sources, including the traumatic nature of the research, workplace stressors and insufficient support provided at an organisational level. This research suggests that research organisations can improve mental health outcomes in VA researchers through workplace culture reform and providing trauma-informed training and support. Academic researchers work more overtime than most other professions, so universities should actively encourage time away from work as part of a broader strategy to foster a culture of acceptance and empathy towards VA researchers. Universities should also develop peer support spaces and training resources that are specifically tailored towards VA researchers to provide them with the tools to help navigate the challenges of their work.
Have a look at the posters presented at the ECDV Conference below: