Producing Knowledge about Post-Separation Stalking from Children's Point of View - Children As Social Actors?

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:42 PM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Merja LAITINEN , University of Lapland, Finland
Anna NIKUPETERI , University of Lapland, Finland
In this presentation, the post-separation stalking is understood as gendered violence from the children’s point of view. The post-separation stalking - as a sensitive, morally laden issue - creates a psychosocial and physical threat for children’s and their mothers’ wellbeing. Stalking is defined as severe, continuing, multidimensional, and a systematic process of violence. Even though the mother is the main target of the stalking, the children are often used as a means to carry out stalking, as targets of revenge and as abused informants. The sensitive nature of the phenomenon emphasizes the ethical demands in the knowledge production.

The presentation is based on the ongoing research project “The Invisible Children – Supporting the Survival of Children and Adolescents in the Everyday Life Shadowed by Post-Separation Stalking” funded by Alli Paasikivi Foundation. The aim of the project is to analyze the stalking in the everyday life of Finnish children. The principle has been to enable safety spaces for children’s voices. The children’s knowledge is approached from different angles in order to reach their everyday experiences. The knowledge is produced together with the mothers and professionals (the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters) who work with the victims.

The basis of the data collection has been to encourage and strengthen the possibilities for children’s narration. The data is collected by children’s groups based on action and interviews conducted with children as individuals and together with their siblings. The knowledge produced in different forms and relations has supported children as social actors and knowledge producers. The tentative analysis shows that children are able to break the beliefs and taboos concerning the understanding about the family, parenthood, violence, and the best interest of the child. Therefore the question is do we take into account children as agencies who can redefine these issues?