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Perspectives on domestic abuse prevention and early intervention using coalition building and ‘allyship’ approaches through a feminist lens

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jessica Wild


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This paper discusses a UK survivor-led study on domestic abuse prevention through coalition building between women and (non-perpetrating) men, and the sometimes-contested notion of ‘allyship’. Domestic abuse is constructed as a social problem for which there is a collective social responsibility, in which men are also attributed responsibility for preventing violence against women. With this in mind, women victimsurvivors’ perspectives and opinions regarding men’s participation in anti-violence against women work are discussed. Furthermore, in acknowledging that men could have a role in the sector, the study seeks to understand how far the challenges of obfuscation and co-optation associated with their participation can be overcome, particularly when operating within a feminist framework. This entails a complex negotiation of privilege and power, further complicated by the backdrop of UK austerity and an already constrained and hostile funding environment. Methods: Qualitative study using feminist, participatory based methods, engaging three participant groups; (i) women survivors, (ii) women ‘frontline’ practitioners, and (iii) ‘engaged’ men in the DV/A sector. A combination of in-depth, unstructured narrative interviews and focus groups were conducted separately with the three groups. Outcomes & Analysis: The intersections as well as the tensions across the three groups are examined, using a feminist, narrative and discourse analysis. Analysis reveals the complex landscape of deeply embedded gender relationships which pervade the anti-violence against women sector as well as societal response more generally to domestic abuse. Conclusions: The possibilities for a more nuanced approach to improved policy level decision making, as well as opportunities for survivor-led prevention incorporating a coalitional approach, require that the perspectives and lived experiences of victim-survivors are routinely foregrounded, and that a robust feminist ethos and praxis is maintained. This entails a nuanced understanding of the underpinning gender relations, as approaches to anti-violence against women work are diversified to include men.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wild J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 475-475

Acceptance date: 21/12/2018

Publisher: Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) at Oslo Metropolitan University