… will compare how responses to three forms of violence – intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, and trafficking for sexual exploitation – are dealt with in Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The project seeks to understand, on the one hand, how and why the laws and practices of intervention differ among European countries, and on the other, in view of the growing diversity within countries, whether interventions intended to ensure the “best interests of the child” and the freedom and safety of women from violence may in fact fail to meet the needs of disadvantaged minorities.
The project is coordinated by Prof. em. Dr. Carol Hagemann-White, University of Osnabrück, Germany; collaborating partners are Prof. Vlasta Jalusic, Peace Institute Ljubljana, Slovenia, Prof. Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University, UK, Professor Maria José Magalhães, University of Porto, Portugal and Dr. Thomas Meysen, German Institute for Youth Human Services and Family Law, Heidelberg, Germany. Networks of stakeholders in each of the countries are associate partners, so that the perspectives of practitioners working to overcome violence play an active part in the research process.
The HERA Program on Cultural Encounters, co-funded by a consortium of 19 EU member states, will be launched at a meeting in Dubrovnik Sept. 30/Oct. 1, where all 18 successful projects are presented and networking facilitated.
The kick-off meeting with all participants in our project, academics and practitioners, will take place in Osnabrück in October. The project will be introduced at a public presentation on October 21, 18-20 h, followed by an informal opportunity to meet and talk to practitioners and researchers from the other countries.
Work in progress
In the first six months of the project, groundwork will be laid for a shared basis of concepts and theories and for understanding the background in the different countries. During this period, the researchers will produce working papers; these include:
- A paper on theoretical approaches that (a) help us think about the interconnections of gender, generation, race, and minority status and (b) are relevant to understanding practices of protection against violence and ideas about legitimate regulation and intervention
- An overview of ethical theories as they relate to intervention against violence. Particular attention will be given to issues of rights and discrimination, and to how different interpretations of the state’s duty to protect can shape policies and procedures.
- A sociocultural portrait for each country tracing the history of colonial experience, cultural diversity, and migration, the patterns of economic inequality and the presence and status of minorities, as well as existing data on the prevalence of the three forms of violence.
- A parallel legal-institutional portrait to describe how each country normatively defines and deals with each of the three forms of violence in our study, in particular the regulatory and procedural frameworks of intervention.
These papers will build a shared foundation for the next step in the project, preparing workshops with practitioners to explore and reflect on their intervention experiences.