This paper argues for the substantial reduction of the ambit of police custody, and for the regulation of police conduct in custody blocks. Detention in custody is widely used by the police to apply pressure on suspects to make confessions. This is oppressive and wasteful. Custody should be used much more sparingly and only where detention is necessary for safety reasons. Custody can in any case be a dangerous place for detainees. An average of up to 23 people die in police custody every year, including four detainees from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Heritage, a greater proportion than their percentage of the population. Regulation of police conduct in custody blocks is supposed to be carried out by the little-known statutory Independent Custody Visiting Scheme. The scheme enables members of the public to make unannounced visits to police stations and to check and report on the welfare of detainees. As the result of government policy and the power of the police, the visiting scheme is neither independent nor effective, fails to challenge the police, makes no discernible impact on their behaviour or on the deaths in custody figures, provides no measure of police accountability, and obscures the need for urgent reform. This paper recommends immediate implementation of these reforms because they would save lives.
Emotional abuse and psychological violence refer to patterned maltreatment used to break down the personal integrity and sense of self-worth of the target. In this article, I address the experiences of emotional abuse and psychological violence of women in long-term heterosexual relationships based on my feminist activist research in collaboration with Women’s Line, an anti-violence, women’s rights non-governmental organisation in Finland. The research included co-moderating two online support groups for women and conducting follow-up interviews. In the analysis, I show that non-physical forms of violence are deeply felt and transform a target’s sense of self and their relationships with the world. However, targets may have difficulty recognising that they are subjected to abuse and doubt their own experiences, despite the severe effects of abuse and the risks posed to their safety. Thus, I argue for the need to name and identify non-physical abuse as severe violence in order to raise awareness and to validate the target’s experiences.
With this article we question the universality of the popular truism that intimate partner violence (IPV) between adult partners is transmitted from generation to generation. We illustrate how the concept of ‘intergenerational transmission of IPV’ fails to capture the complex social processes that are likely to influence individuals who experience IPV as children and as they grow. Building on a feminist application of ecological systems theory, how multiple systems have evolved to differently influence children who grow up with IPV is considered. This approach offers understanding of perspectives that promote social change and the self-worth and positive agency of children who grow up with IPV. We offer a unique contribution by exploring ways intergenerational transmission of IPV is rebutted in the twenty-first century, and how change is facilitated so that children who grow up with IPV can achieve healthy relationships when supported by all levels of the ecological system.
The aim is to show how digital financial services are used to perpetrate digitally facilitated economic abuse. The article is based on interviews with women in Sweden who are survivors of intimate partner violence and economic abuse.
The use of digital financial services is rapidly expanding and in Sweden they are used by the majority of the population. They are available on smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops and have become a part of everyday life. Research on technology facilitated abuse and research on economic abuse have not addressed the risks for economic abuse via digital financial services. To bridge this gap, we suggest a merging of these fields to focus on what we call digitally facilitated economic abuse.
Findings show that digital financial services constitute risks for economic abuse and facilitate abusive behaviours. Smart devices serve as digital bank books, wallets and identity cards, all rolled into one neat little package, opening up for new methods for economic abuse. Abusers use digital financial services to limit and restrict the woman’s access to money, to monitor and control her use of money by breaching her financial privacy, to economically exploit her and to put her in debt.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that consists in the partial or full removal of the external female genitalia. This article, guided by Glaser and Strauss’ ‘grounded theory’ approach, and based on semi-structured interviews with Eritrean women immigrants in Italy, aims to show qualitatively the process of how migration and a new socio-cultural milieu influences the ideas and attitudes surrounding FGM. Our findings show a clear abandonment of the practice and a refusal of the idea of continuation of it among participants. A newly acquired awareness of sexuality in a new culture was pointed out as important by the majority of the participants. It is however noteworthy that simply moving to and living in a country where FGM is not practised does not ensure abandonment. A great level of integration into a new culture is an answer. That said, participants expressed the need for, and suggested the creation of, anti-FGM sensitisation programmes. This study contributes to qualitative research on this harmful and sensitive practice, and suggests ways to ultimately end it.
This article critically analyses the assumptions and effects of the ‘daring to ask approach’ to gender based violence (GBV), as expressed in the policies that govern social services’ work in Sweden. We show how GBV is constituted as a sensitive issue connected with shame and as something that will not be brought up spontaneously; GBV is something that women who had experienced it carry with them as an ‘untouched truth’ waiting to be discovered by social workers while women’s worries about the consequences of telling are not made intelligible. The very speaking as such is seen as emancipatory, and the social worker is understood as a facilitator. With this approach follows standardised questions, aiming for neutrality and equity. However, these are so wide and unspecific, that the risk is that no one thinks the questions are directed to her. By making the assumptions and effects of a seemingly self-evident strategy visible, we demonstrate areas in need of further research and policy development, such as barriers to help-seeking (beyond stigmatisation) and effects of standardisation. This is an important undertaking since without critical scrutiny of the policies there is a risk that stakeholders assume that merely asking will resolve the problem of GBV.
Digital technologies are increasingly being used within the context of domestic and family violence (DFV) to facilitate coercive and controlling behaviours – also known as digital coercive control (DCC). Drawing on the perspectives of a small sample of nine DFV practitioners and scholarly experts, this article examines the barriers victim/survivors of DCC encounter as they seek help in Victoria, Australia. We find that DCC has distinct impacts on victim/survivors who are socially and geographically isolated. DFV support services also experience a range of challenges in detecting and responding to DCC, including in risk assessment and management, highlighting a requirement for further training of frontline workers to better respond to DCC.
This paper is concerned with the exercise of penal power over families affected by imprisonment, and the implications for legitimacy and inclusion. Imprisonment imposes harms upon families, however theories as to how this shapes attitudes towards the justice system and feelings of citizenship are still developing. This paper brings together insights from prison sociology and Lukes’ radical conceptualisation of power to argue that prison rules are the most ‘solid’ dimension of power which families encounter, and therefore it is the day-to-day decisions of officers which are most likely to be challenged. However, by excluding families from decision-making spaces, and shaping beliefs about what actions are possible and desirable, the justice system also exercises power over families in more diffuse ways which, while they provoke less resistance, are just as damaging to citizenship and inclusion.
Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is a pervasive issue affecting one in three women globally. Although understanding of IPA has increased over time, it is still lacking, and new ways of highlighting the experiences of victims/survivors are essential. This article draws on reflexive thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews from two research projects to examine the experiences of women who have experienced IPA and who participated in a digital storytelling workshop. Three themes were developed describing their experiences: Taking back control; Knowing you’re not alone and A healing journey. The results suggest that while digital storytelling was not designed as a therapeutic intervention, participants nonetheless described improvements to their wellbeing. However, the findings also highlight the need for trauma-informed facilitation when running digital storytelling workshops focused on sensitive issues.
The historical evolution of social and legal conceptions of gender based domestic violence in France are the dynamic traces of how social practice, as well as social representations, formed and transformed. However, numerous studies show that the current incident-based conceptions of domestic violence are far from the victims’ experiences, and only partially effective in detecting, criminalising and preventing domestic violence. Understanding the global process by which perpetrators subordinate the victims, mostly women and children, by progressively depriving them of their human rights and liberties, led to a contemporary conceptualisation of domestic violence as coercive control (). Recognising the roots of domestic violence in gender inequality, far from reducing it to some individual, psychological issues, this human-rights based conception of domestic violence is much closer to the victims’ experiences, has led to legal innovation in the ways in which several countries understand, criminalise and prevent domestic violence, and could be at the core of emerging social representations of domestic violence.