Book Chapter

Children’s Corporeal Agency and Use of Space in Situations of Domestic Violence



Alexander JH, Callaghan JE, Sixsmith J & Fellin LC (2016) Children’s Corporeal Agency and Use of Space in Situations of Domestic Violence. In: Evans B, Horton J & Skelton T (eds.) Play and Recreation, Health and Wellbeing. Geographies of Children and Young People, 9. Singapore: Springer, pp. 523-543.;

This chapter draws on empirical and theoretical literature from a diverse range of disciplines and perspectives, illustrated with examples from the authors’ research with child survivors of domestic abuse, to explore children’s corporeal agency and use of space in situations of violence. There is a noticeable paucity of literature that explores how children cope, or their capacity for resilience and resistance, in situations of domestic violence. Furthermore, while violence and abuse are perpetrated and experienced in ways that are embodied and spatial, research seldom explores how children and young people experience and manage living in violent situations in corporeal and spatial ways. This chapter highlights the need for future research to consider children’s capacity for agency and resilience, taking into account spatial and corporeal contexts and experiences of violence in order to balance problem-focused debates around children’s experiences of domestic abuse with a more resilience-focused lens. Findings illustrate children as capable and active agents, resourceful and inventive in their capacity to use, produce and construct physical, embodied, and relational spaces for security, comfort and healing during and after living within violent and volatile contexts.

Domestic violence; agency; resistance; resilience; corporeality; spatially; visual methods; photo elicitation; graphic elicitation;

FundersEuropean Commission
Title of seriesGeographies of Children and Young People
Number in series9
Publication date02/08/2016
Publication date online26/12/2015
Publisher URL…5-51-4_23#citeas
Place of publicationSingapore

People (1)


Professor Jane Callaghan

Professor Jane Callaghan

Director Child Wellbeing & Protection, Social Work