Clinical supervision for staff members engaged in domestic abuse, violence, and sexual assault research.

Project Details


There is little recognition of the impact researching domestic abuse and violence has on academics (Kumar & Cavallaro, 2018). Clinical supervision is ordinarily a compulsory means of support for domestic abuse, violence and sexual assault direct service practitioners, yet often there is nothing similar available to researchers and scholars in these fields. Researchers may be isolated whilst working on these topics, with limited connection to a community or others to share their experiences with, which can exacerbate the impact of engaging in such issues. These topics can be all-consuming and carry an emotional toll, intensified by institutional requirements to write and speak about them in the public domain (Coles, Astbury, Dartnall & Limjerwala, 2014). Scholars have also voiced their concerns about their experiences of harassment related to their work in this field (see Barlow and Awan, 2016; Chess and Shaw, 2015). As Chess and Shaw note, while research on online abuse increases awareness, it also exposes scholars to the very harassment they are studying. Furthermore, the process of the research itself – the conducting of interviews, coding, analysis etc. also compound the impact on researchers (Dunn, 1991). Coles et al., (2014) claim that there is also the potential for the experience of researchers to be more traumatising than for direct service practitioners, as there is less opportunity to offer practical assistance to victim survivors. The harms to researchers should also be considered, especially secondary victimisation when their past or present experiences are similar to those they are studying (Johnson, 2009).Currently the University of Portsmouth provides general counselling to its staff and students but not specific support taking into consideration the specific research needs and impacts of people working within these spaces – including research work strategies, vicarious trauma support, resilience, and personal reflection.The aim of this project would be to explore the need for clinical supervision and what services the university could collaborate with in order to provide support to staff and PGRs researching some of the most fundamental issues of our time - domestic abuse, violence, and sexual assault.
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/07/21


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