The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Still Forgotten, Still Hurting

BOOK REVIEW:

Understanding Adult Survivors of Domestic Violence in Childhood: Still Forgotten, Still Hurting

Gill Hague with Ann Harvey and Kathy Willis. 2012. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London. (www.jkp.com) Paperback: £22.99. ISBN 978-1-84905-096-8

This wasn’t the book I was expecting it to be.  The impression is given that this is a book for survivors as well as professionals working with survivors.  However the layout and content has a much more academic focus. 

Existing research and literature relating to adult survivors of domestic violence in childhood is next to non-existent and the authors draw instead on more generic research that looks at the impact of traumatic childhood events and experiences of abuse.  Using a qualitative approach, including the work of a focus group, personal interviews and the writings of survivors, the authors highlight the lifetime impact on individuals whose childhoods were specifically affected by domestic violence.   Chapter 8 focuses on practice and summarises the wide range of, sometimes conflicting, approaches that can be taken in helping recovery.

In looking beyond the impact on children experiencing domestic violence in the home, to how as adults they can continue to be affected by, and helped to overcome, the trauma of witnessing violence as children, this book is breaking new ground and will undoubtedly appeal to anyone working with adults: therapists, counsellors, social workers, students and policy makers alike.

Chapters 5, 7 & 9 are set aside to tell the personal testimonies of two women and one man, while other stories, quotes and poems are woven throughout the rest of the text.  The stories and poems are powerful and poignant.  Although the authors state this book is not intended as being solely for professionals, the overwhelming feel of the writing is academic.  For the book to appeal more to survivors themselves, it might have been better to have brought these testimonies together in one section at the beginning of the book.

 

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