‘In a very few years, we stepped several miles’: how eliminating gender-based violence became (and remained) public policy in Norway

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Kara Beavis Queensland University of Technology, Australia

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Since the 1970s, important struggles were won to improve the ‘publicness’ of gender-based violence (GBV) in Norway. Since 2000, the Ministry of Justice has coordinated policy work to combat GBV for the Norwegian government. In 2010, a Shelter Act made the provision of domestic violence shelters by local governments mandatory. This article turns to the question of how a public responsibility for GBV was established, and how dedicated public policy, legislation, funding, and services were subsequently realised. This article identifies the crucial actors, factors, and conditions that have had the greatest influence on agenda-setting, policy development and decision making in the policy cycle. Analysis is based on 22 interviews, policy analysis and previous Norwegian studies that have theorised about the success, how it came about, and the decisive factors in achieving change. Participants of this study were academics, activists, specialist service providers, politicians, lawyers, survivor-advocates, and political advisors. In exploring campaigning for change with participants, the study uncovered fault lines within gender equality and violence scholarship and public policy in Norway that may help explain why GBV is still commonplace. The article offers future directions for policy and research that reflect on these discursive exclusions and normative assumptions.

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Kara Beavis Queensland University of Technology, Australia

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