• Podsoc #40

Family violence post disaster:

In conversation with Deb Parkinson

The increased intensity of disasters and their impact on individuals and communities are frequent in today’s world. Little is known about violence after disasters in the Australian context, despite considerable academic research on this phenomenon in developing countries. Deb Parkinson and colleagues seek to fill that gap. In this podcast, Deb talks to us about family violence following disasters such as the Black Saturday bushfires that devastated parts of Australia and how recognising family violence may be a blind spot for the helping professions in developed countries.

Debra Parkinson is a social researcher, committed to feminism and social justice. She is currently Research Officer at Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE), Manager of Research, Advocacy and Policy at Women’s Health In the North (WHIN), and is completing a PhD with Monash University. She was a founding member of The Centre’s Research Ethics Committee and Chair from 2005-2006, has worked in evaluation consultancy through Jigsaw Research and as Senior Research Officer with the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault in 2009-10.

Key research into violence against women within intimate relationships over two decades within the women’s sector are the ‘Powerful Journey’, ‘Raped by a Partner’, and the ‘Women, Lawyers, Workers’ project. This work has led to authorship of book chapters, invited conferences and forum presentations, and to her current work, again with colleague Claire Zara, into relationship violence following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

Debra and Claire’s qualitative research through WHGNE indicated that violence against women increased in the aftermath of Black Saturday and that women were effectively silenced and prevented from accessing help due to concern for men’s wellbeing. WHGNE partnered with WHIN and the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse to present these findings and host Australia’s first national conference on this topic, ‘The Hidden Disaster: Natural Disaster and Family Violence’ in Melbourne in March 2012. Soon after, WHGNE secured funding through the National Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme to partner with the Monash Injury Research Institute and Prof. Elaine Enarson in 2013 to research men’s health and wellbeing after Black Saturday with a focus on harmful behaviours, both to themselves and those around them. A high-level Advisory Group has been formed to guide this work, with membership from academia, Victoria Police, the CFA and DSE, local government and the Fire Services Commission.

Recommended citation – APA6th

Fronek, P. (Host). (2013, January 19). Family violence post disaster: In conversation with Deb Parkinson [Episode 40]. Podsocs. Podcast retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://www.podsocs.com/podcast/family-violence-post-disaster/.

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