Forced migration in the United Kingdom: women’s journeys to escape domestic violence

About the speaker:
Janet Bowstead is a feminist academic with a professional background of over 30 years in frontline, policy and coordination work on violence against women and domestic violence issues. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature, across geography, social policy and sociology; integrating quantitative, spatial, qualitative and creative methods.

Her PhD was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and drew on theory, concepts and analysis techniques from migration research and applied them to the internal migration journeys of women within the UK escaping domestic violence. It included the first geographical mapping of domestic violence journeys across England and the innovative theorisation of this being forced migration, creating Internally Displaced Persons in the United Kingdom. In addition to article publications in high-ranking Geography and Social Policy journals, the research has had significant media coverage including several local radio broadcasts, and national newspapers such as the Daily Mail, and the front page of The Independent. Women’s Aid (England), which supports a network of around 300 local domestic violence services, has used the findings from the research in its campaigning for refuge provision, and in briefings to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

As well as academic research, Janet has considerable research experience outside academia as a consultant and as a local government officer, for example carrying out an early local study on mental health and domestic violence. Research outside academia includes service and impact evaluations, such as for a community domestic violence service (Safe As Houses), and for an international programme on women’s leadership and culturally-justified violence against women (Women Living Under Muslim Laws). A particular focus is on more effective use of administrative and monitoring data for policy and practice insights; and on writing accessibly for policy and practice audiences.