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  • Author or Editor: Nancy Lombard x
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Authors: Linda McKie and Nancy Lombard

This chapter takes a very different approach to issues relating to health and well-being through a focus on violence. The prevalence of domestic violence indicates that the family and home are not bounded safe havens; communal violence means that neither families nor communities are protective. The chapter draws on two case studies of inter-communal violence, in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. The relationship between families and communities can be reconstructed to create outsiders of former friends and neighbours. These new boundaries of inclusion and exclusion can perpetuate conflict both within and between families and communities. Boundary work here is portrayed as oppressive; physical boundaries, for example, create and perpetuate sectarianism and collective memories constructed to reinforce difference and hatred. Families stand at the interface of communal violence, reproducing boundaries of exclusion and inclusion.

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Increased reports of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) following football matches have been documented, within both quantitative studies and the media, leading to questions about the policy and practice responses required. However, qualitative research facilitating understanding of the apparent link between football and DVA is lacking. Drawing upon research with key stakeholders across England and Scotland, this paper provides a rare insight into their understanding of the contested and complex relationship between football and DVA, including the role of contributory and confounding factors such as alcohol, match expectations, masculinity, entitlement and permissions. It is argued that while football may provide a potential platform for challenging DVA, focusing on football (or other specific factors or events) as causative risks re-incidentalising DVA and detaching it from feminist frameworks that have established DVA as a sustained behaviour grounded in gendered inequalities. This paper concludes by considering the broader conceptual implications of these findings for future research, policy and practice.

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Following lockdowns in countries around the world, reports emerged of a ‘surge’ or ‘spikes’ in the number of domestic violence and abuse cases. It is critical to contextualise this: more men are not starting to be abusive or violent; rather, the patterns of abuse are becoming more frequent. Spiking and surging make us think in terms of more one-off incidents but it is more likely that the pattern of abuse that is already there is increasing in terms of frequency and type because both parties remain together at all times. Amid such a crisis, it is imperative that we continue to see the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse as both a pattern of abusive behaviours and a product of gendered social and cultural norms, rather than a reaction to a specific factor or event, such as COVID-19.

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The impact of violence on children’s health and development has had growing attention in global and national politics. Research on children’s experiences of violence has increased in recent years, and this article aims to add to this literature by highlighting key messages and learning points from the experiences of researchers who have worked with children and violence across the different contexts of the UK and South Africa. As qualitative and quantitative researchers, our concepts, aims, methods, resources and approaches were very different, but we all faced similar challenges in working with children and violence in contexts where adults’ views about what violence counted predominated. We argue that children’s participation in research and highlighting children’s own understandings, agency and negotiations in relation to violence are crucial for challenging sometimes unhelpful taken-for-granted views about the impact of violence on children’s lives.

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