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Children’s experiences of domestic violence and child marriage discussed

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Children’s experiences of domestic violence and child marriage were explored in a Stirling academic’s inaugural lecture this week. 

Professor Jane Callaghan was appointed as Director for the Centre of Child Wellbeing and Protection, based at the University, in November.

The lecture, entitled Constrained articulations: accounts of violence, ‘victimhood’ and resistance, explored the difficulties of giving voice to experiences that society does not have easy words for.

An image of Professor Jane Callaghan

Professor Jane Callaghan.

Professor Callaghan, who is a psychologist and interdisciplinary researcher, drew on interviews with children who have lived with domestic violence, young women who have experienced child marriage, and young black women about educational experiences.

“Some things can be difficult to talk about,” she said. “We lack the words often for experiences that sit ‘beyond’ what our culture defines as normal – violence, embodied experience, feeling different or other.

“Sometimes this is because our language doesn’t give us the tools to express these things. Sometimes it’s because there’s an unwillingness to hear difficult or challenging experiences. I explore how we might find ways to listen to these accounts, and how we might amplify ‘constrained articulations’.”

Professor Callaghan has an established record of research in areas related to childhood, violence, family life, relationships, discrimination and exclusion, and mental health and identity.

She has published in a range of international journals as well as numerous peer reviewed book chapters. She has also written a book on social psychology and has another one providing a critical account of public health interventions for children and young people, due for publication later this year.

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