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Drawing on video data collected between June and September of 2020, this piece reveals the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 frontline domestic abuse workers in the UK and provides critical reflections from the authors in the form of a collective interview. This innovative study uses participant-led data collection (in the form of self-recorded video diaries) and filmed focus groups with CEOs of UK charities, parliamentarians, the police and NHS professionals. The authors produced a film, Lifeline, drawing on the knowledge produced from these focus groups and video-diaries, foregrounding the voices of the women who work in this sector. The conversation presented here unpacks the complexities of representing domestic violence provision both in creative and academic outputs. Furthermore, the conversation reveals the epistemological challenges that come with representing and understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the domestic violence sector.

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Natural disasters and pandemics bring new risks and dangers to women and their children. In particular, various factors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as economic instability, additional stress and increased control over victims led to an increase in both prevalence and severity of intimate partner violence. Based on the findings of a study conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), this article examines the main challenges during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis (March–September 2020) and analyses institutional responses to facilitate access to support services for victims. Relying on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the study highlights the role of European Union (EU) Member States in improving long-term responses to gender-based violence in times of crises. The study also gives particular attention to emerging promising practices and holistic approaches towards the gender-based violence crisis stemming from the pandemic, describing selected examples of initiatives adopted across the EU and identifying main areas of improvement.

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As indicated by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 80 per cent of women in Bangladesh experience partner violence (). Given this prevalence, it is essential to assess factors, transcending the personal, that precipitate such violence. Using the lens of structural violence and supporting studies showing that violence of one form engenders another, we posit that a lack of sanitation that leads to open defecation also contributes to an increased likelihood of partner violence. This study uses data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007 to explicate the association between open defecation and partner violence among women in Bangladesh. Results show that in our sample of 4466 women, almost 9 per cent reported open defecation, 18.4 per cent reported physical violence, and 10.2 per cent reported sexual violence. In the multivariate analyses, the adjusted prevalence ratios indicate that open defecation is significantly associated with sexual violence by partners (APR=1.30, p<0.05) but not physical violence. Implications are discussed.

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Author: Mo Stewart

As the world is preoccupied by the pandemic, and the British public are beginning to comprehend the full impact of Brexit, the predictable public mental health crisis created by the demolition of the UK social safety net has been disregarded by successive administrations. Few people realised that preventable harm was the inevitable creation of social policy reforms, gradually adopted by every administration since Thatcher, en route to her political ambition which was the demolition of the welfare state to be replaced by private health insurance. In order to demolish the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state. This has been achieved, with disability denial created by significant social policy reforms since 2008. To justify the adoption of harsh and unnecessary austerity measures, which were introduced without ethical approval, the Coalition administration elected in 2010 vehemently challenged the integrity of the chronically ill and disabled community and routinely accused disability benefit claimants of fraud; while failing to produce evidence to support their claims. Their often hostile rhetoric encouraged a 213 percent increase in prosecuted disability hate crimes, and successive administrations disregarded the thousands of deaths directly linked to the Work Capability Assessment, which was adopted using a discredited and dangerous biopsychosocial model of assessment to restrict access to long-term disability benefit. Influenced by corporate America since 1992, the UK social policy reforms guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die when, covertly, killed by the State.

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Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a systematic education programme aimed at addressing gender inequality and preventing violence among boys and men. The programme originates from Canada and the USA, and since 2015 has been introduced in a number of Swedish schools. Whereas most evaluations of MVP and other programmes addressing gender-based violence focus on broad changes, we argue that these evaluations fail to provide insight into where and for whom the programmes are or are not effective. By identifying the participants with knowledge and attitudes furthest away from the target assumptions of the programme and following them throughout the programme, we can see what effects the programme has on those with the most problematic knowledge and attitudes. The study shows that MVP does not seem to contribute to a more positive development for the group of students whose knowledge and attitudes are furthest from the programme’s target assumptions. Moreover, the study shows that the comparison group shows a more positive development over time than the MVP group. This leads to the conclusion that MVP seems to have limited potential to change the specific group with low levels of knowledge about violence and most problematic attitudes towards violent behaviour.

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Author: Dongling Zhang

China’s first-ever, national Anti-Domestic Violence Law (henceforth, the Law) took effect in March 2016. The enactment of the Law was perceived by members of the general public as a solid step, taken by the Chinese government, both to protect the legal rights and interests of victims of gender-based violence (especially female victims) and also to establish domestic violence as a serious socio-legal problem deserving of greater public (especially political) attention. In this article, I choose to primarily focus on one specific type of domestic violence – gender-based violence within a current or former romantic relationship that causes harms to those in the relationship. I aim to identify and examine the limitations with this still recent Law in particular, and the criminal justice approach in general that China has been adopting to stop gender-based violence. Based upon an analysis of a very recent high-profile case of gender-based violence and five annual evaluation reports on the implementation of the Law, I lean to the conclusion that without transforming the socio-cultural context, no domestic violence legislation can effectively address gender-based violence and enhance the wellbeing of Chinese women.

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Reports of an intensification of domestic abuse under COVID-19 restrictions has been described by the UN as a ‘shadow pandemic’. Drawing upon interviews with domestic abuse survivors (n=11), plus interviews (n=18) and surveys (n=22) with support service providers in Scotland, this article develops a nuanced understanding of how the conditions created by the pandemic interacted with existing experiences of domestic abuse, highlighting the relatively overlooked experiences of survivors who have separated from their abusers. The findings reveal how pandemic conditions triggered, mirrored and amplified experiences and impacts of domestic abuse through the complex interplay between isolation, anxiety, lone-parenting, financial concerns and protective requirements such as mask wearing. Participants described an increase in economic abuse, abuse online and the manipulation of child contact arrangements as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic facilitated perpetrator behaviours. However, survivors’ resilience, coping mechanisms, and in some cases enhanced feelings of safety, were also notable. These findings generate insights into the evolving but persistent nature and dynamics of domestic abuse though the pandemic, including how domestic abuse interacts with, creates, and is compounded by gendered inequalities irrespective of whether survivors have separated from their abuser.

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Author: Mehak Majeed

The analysis of gender in conflict and fragile situations is an emerging area of research. Little to no attention has been paid to it up until very recently. There is scant scholarly work available that directly addresses this issue, and there is no research on the relationship between gender and low intensity conflict in Kashmir. It is in this light that the current research note has been written. It traces the broad impact that conflict has had on the lives of women living in the Kashmir region, the conflict centric part of Jammu and Kashmir. Through this research note it is established that the women in Kashmir have been exposed to the shock of unpredicted fragility, and the study is further endorsed by some instantial ethnographic case studies. These shocks have impacted them economically, psychologically and socially. Generations of women have been suffering from the negative impact of the conflict. Alhough disastrous for the most part, women have gradually developed some resilience. With time more and more Kashmiri women have been striving towards gaining economic independence by learning skills, by the acquisition of education and by being gainfully employed.

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Few criminological studies have specifically set out to research responses to domestic abuse in rural communities. A small number of recent studies have arrived at the problem from a health and/or social geography perspective lending weight to the increasingly apparent significance of space and culture in rural domestic abuse. This article contributes to this research agenda, focusing on the ways in which police and other agencies respond to domestic abuse within the spatial context of rural England and victim-survivors’ experiences of such responses. The article outlines empirical work with a police partner based in the North of England. The study involved a case file analysis of police data and interviews with police officers, partner agency representatives and victim-survivors. We discuss the ways in which apparent heightened gendered conservatism and the ‘cloak of silence’ leads to difficulties in the identification of domestic abuse in rural communities and argue the importance of engaging in holistic and multi-agency approaches when responding to domestic abuse in remote and inaccessible rural communities.

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