Becoming better helpers: Rethinking language to move beyond simplistic responses to women experiencing intimate partner violence
This article 'Becoming better helpers: Rethinking language to move beyond simplistic responses to women experiencing intimate partner violence' published in Policy Quarterly, discusses the findings of a study into the language used by agencies and services who connect with victims of family violence.
Conducted by the Health Quality & Safety Commission's Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC), the study looked at the language used to record and describe victims' and perpetrators' actions and responses.
Importantly, the way in which language is used to report family violence becomes a precursor to the ways that practitioners respond and their subsequent actions, which the FVDRC has found is invariably gender-biased.
The way language is used needs to be refocused to ensure that victims’ realities and experiences are accurately recorded and made visible. Indiscriminate use of language is unhelpful and dangerous, primarily because it reinforces misconceptions about victims and their role in resolving family violence, particularly intimate partner violence.