Struggling for open awareness – Trajectories of violence against children from a sociological perspective

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We focus the concept of “awareness context” to capture trajectories of violence against children. This sociological concept of knowledge goes beyond the concept of “disclosure”. It does not focus on the child's mere communication and thus the individuals’ being informed about a fact, but aims at the shared knowledge based on which the interaction takes place. The (asymmetrical) relationships between children and adults can prevent children from influencing such shared and action-oriented knowledge, even if they provide information that they suffer violence. The empirical basis of this article is the reconstruction of 154 events of communication, extracted from 15 extensive case files and categorized in a longitudinal research design. These events comprise messages of victims and the reactions of family members, child protection professionals and other interaction partners to them; 64 events can be considered active disclosing already during childhood. For these histories of long and multiple violence where at least one perpetrator was part of the family household, the following insights can be gained: (a) repeated and various attempts by those affected are undertaken to communicate that violence is happening to them, (b) these attempts are countered by a bundle of different strategies to make those affected inaudible, and (c) this happens throughout the lives of these persons.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106769
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2023

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