‘She Knew What was Coming’: Knowledge and Domestic Violence in Social Work Education

Robbins, Rachel orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6207-7703 (2014) ‘She Knew What was Coming’: Knowledge and Domestic Violence in Social Work Education. Social Work Education, 33 (7). pp. 917-929. ISSN 0261-5479

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2014.898748


Social Work educators are aware that within any class of social work students there are likely to be students with first-hand experience of domestic violence. The Writing Stories project was designed to engage students with social policy learning using experiential accounts. An unintended outcome of the project was the disclosure of students' experience of domestic violence. The accounts of violence offer an interesting juxtaposition with the formalised academic story of violence. This paper, by drawing on the concept of banality, aims to uncover how knowledge is presented in those stories and what challenges this may pose for educators. Feminist research highlights the need for researchers to enable women to tell their stories. Social work values also stress that service-user experience should be central to theorising and knowledge production. However, within an educational relationship these stories also need to be examined for how they can both provide a basis for knowledge and compete with, clash or resist other forms of knowledge. The key argument is that neither the formal, academic forms of knowledge, nor the experiential should be privileged. Instead, it is by working across a spectrum of epistemological methods that practice is best contextualised.

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