Researching gender-based violence remotely during a pandemic: challenges, opportunities and methodological implications

Taylor-Dunn, Holly; Bates, Lis; Reed, Dominic; Hopkins, Anna and Morrison, Shona (2023). Researching gender-based violence remotely during a pandemic: challenges, opportunities and methodological implications. Journal of Gender-Based Violence (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/23986808y2023d000000009

Abstract

There has been increased awareness of the unique challenges faced by those researching gender-based violence (GBV) in recent years. While much of the literature has rightly focused on the needs of participants (as victim/survivors), less has been written around the needs of researchers. Yet we know that researching GBV can have both positive and negative impacts on researchers (Nikischer, 2019) and it has recently been recommended that researchers have access to clinical supervision when regularly exposed to traumatic material (Williamson et al, 2020). This article draws on reflections from research carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding the reasons why victims of domestic abuse and/or sexual violence may withdraw from the criminal justice process. The research team were provided with independent clinical supervision by a qualified therapist with expertise in interpersonal abuse throughout the duration of the project. Analysis of the researchers’ reflections suggest that while the move to remote research during the pandemic created opportunities in terms of flexibility there were additional emotional challenges to those experienced pre-pandemic. Importantly, this exploratory article shares reflections on the value of clinical supervision for addressing these challenges and recommends that all GBV researchers have access to this vital resource.

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