Challenging methodological orthodoxies in researching domestic abuse to increase visibility of the domestic abuse experienced by LGB and/or T+ people

Event status:

 Headshot of Professor Catherine Donovan, a person with short hair, glasses and many earrings wearing a knit jacket and T-shirt, standing in front of a white wall with a window onto a garden in the background Event: Challenging methodological orthodoxies in researching domestic abuse to increase visibility of the domestic abuse experienced by LGB and/or T+ people

Wednesday 15 September 2021 04:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Dr Stephanie Lusby
Presented by:
Professor Catherine Donovan
Type of Event:
Current Student: Undergraduate; Current Student: Postgraduate; Community Event; Public Lecture; Public

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Quantitative surveys are presented as an essential tool in establishing and understanding the patterns of domestic and sexual violence experienced in a population. The England and Wales Crime Survey (EWCS) is considered one of the most robust measures of domestic and sexual abuse prevalence and trends in Europe. Notwithstanding, even this survey has been critiqued and is a continuous state of being amended to improve the quality of the data it produces. More recently, in an attempt to offset the perceived negative impacts and implications of the criminalisation of coercive control for the survey’s ability to demonstrate gender asymmetry in domestic abuse, Walby and colleagues have made a case for domestic abuse to be defined and measured as ‘domestic violence crime’.  They argue that by collecting data on behaviours that meet the threshold of a crime (assault, criminal damage) a more robust evidence base to demonstrate gender asymmetry and support a feminist analysis can be created. There are several ways in which our work makes common cause with Walby’s work: establishing the gender and sexuality of participants and the partners they report on being a case in point. However, we take issue with four aspects of their argument with the intention of demonstrating how, cumulatively, these render invisible the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or trans and non-binary gender people. In conclusion we outline suggestions for a more inclusive methodology.

About Professor Catherine Donovan

Professor Catherine Donovan is a Professor of Sociology with the University of Durham. Catherine gained her BA Social Studies at the University of Newcastle, her Masters in Women’s Studies at York University and her PhD at Edinburgh University. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Catherine’s current research interests are the use of violent and abusive behaviours by lesbians, gay men, bisexual women and men and/or trans people in their intimate relationships; the implications of love for making sense of and addressing domestic violence and abuse; hate crime/incidents and hate relationships and student safety. She is also currently developing a research project to explore elder abuse of LGB and/or T people.

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La Trobe University



1st Jul 2022 9:37am

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