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University of Stirling



Child's Play? Children and young people's resistances to domestic violence and abuse

Fellin LC, Callaghan JEM, Alexander JH, Mavrou S & Harrison-Breed C (2019) Child's Play? Children and young people's resistances to domestic violence and abuse. Children and Society, 33 (2), pp. 126-141.

Children and young people's (CYP) space to play can be constrained in families affected by domestic violence and abuse , potentially impacting their development. Play also has the potential to strengthen CYP's capacity to resist controlling and abusive dynamics in the family. Interviews were conducted with 107 children and young people aged 8-18, and were analysed using interpretive interactionism. Three themes relevant to children’s experiences of play were identified: Play and Coercive Control; Play Re-makes the World; and Play and Relationality. This article highlights the potential for play to enable children to retain a sense of relational connectedness and agency, despite violence and control; we argue for more opportunities for children to play away from the gaze of adults and advocate for more dedicated services for families who experience DVA.

domestic abuse; play; resilience; resistance; children; domestic violence;

Children and Society: Volume 33, Issue 2

Author(s)Fellin, Lisa C; Callaghan, Jane E M; Alexander, Joanne H; Mavrou, Stavroula; Harrison-Breed, Claire
Publication date31/03/2019
Publication date online08/11/2018
Date accepted by journal05/10/2018
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