Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Using creative method to explore children’s experiences of domestic violence

Callaghan, J. and Alexander, J. (2016) Using creative method to explore children’s experiences of domestic violence. Invited Presentation presented to: Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Annual Conference, Ramapo College, New Jersey, U.S., 16-17 May 2016. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Invited Presentation)
Abstract: Dominant professional and academic discourses position children who have experienced domestic violence as passive observers of abuse, ‘wounded’ by the things they have seen (Øverlien 2013). Children’s accounts of domestic violence exceed our normative definitions of ‘childhood’ (as ‘innocent’, ‘free’, ‘protected’) in many ways. Asking children to talk about these experiences, and particularly asking them to talk about their coping and sense of agency, can mean asking them to articulate experiences for which there is not an easy language. To support and extend our interviews with young people, the project Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies used a range of drawings, including family drawing, spatial mapping (Bridger, 2013; Gabb and Singh, 2014), and free drawing, as well as photo elicitation techniques, to facilitate young people’s expression of difficult to articulate experiences. For children in situations of domestic abuse, verbal expression is often perceived as ‘risky’. Creative methodologies enabled children to represent their use of space and place to resist violence and control in the home environment. This enabled an alternative positioning of children, not as passive recipients of violence, not as wounded witnesses, but as agents, as contextually located persons capable of taking action. Through an exploration of embodiment and use of space, visual methods generated enabled children’s critical reflections and articulations of how they used spaces and places within and outside the violent home environment. The paper explores how children represent embodied and spatial experience of violence, including a consideration of how children use their material experiences to produce resistant embodied agency. Findings illustrate children as capable and active agents, resourceful and inventive in their capacity to use, produce and construct physical, embodied and relational spaces for security, comfort and healing during and after living within violent and volatile contexts.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Domestic violence, domestic abuse, children, creative method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF712 Developmental psychology > BF723 Child psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC435 Psychiatry > RC475 Therapeutics. Psychotherapy > RC489 Arts therapy
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology > HV6251 Crimes and offences > HV6626 Family violence
Creators: Callaghan, Jane and Alexander, Jo
Funders or Sponsors: European Commission (Daphne III)
Grant Reference Number: JUST/2012/DAP-AG-3461
Projects: Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies (UNARS)
Northamptonshire and East Midlands: Social Issues
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Health & Society > Psychology
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Centre for Family Life
Faculties > Faculty of Health & Society > Psychology
Research Centres > Centre for Health Sciences and Services
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 17 May 2016
Date Type: Acceptance
Event Title: Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Annual Conference
Event Dates: 16-17 May 2016
Event Location: Ramapo College, New Jersey, U.S.
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished

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