Diversifying Justice examines access to justice within the contexts of diversity and domestic abuse, with a view to revealing viable pathways for a particularly underserved population: South Asian women. Based between the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and the School of Education, with funding from the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services, the research adopts a participatory action, arts-based approach, designed to capture and respond to the diverse factors which shape and limit South Asian women’s help-seeking during and following domestic abuse.
The impacts of gender-based violence on black and minority ethnic women and girls in the UK is disproportionate to the rest of the population (Siddiqui, 2018). In the case of South Asian women, experiences and perceptions of abuse are shaped by an intersection of socio-cultural and political factors (Gill, 2004; Burman & Chantler, 2005). Access to help via the police, often viewed as the gateway to other services, is complicated by community mistrust over issues of institutional racism, practices of ‘stop and search’, and racial stereotyping (Mirza, 2017).
A Scottish understanding and response to such issues is much needed. The current justice strategy seeks to ensure ‘strong, safe and resilient communities’ whilst striving to meet the ‘diverse needs’ of those who come into contact with the justice system (Justice in Scotland, 2017). At the same time, current criminal justice understandings and responses remain premised on adult, ethnically white women (Armstrong, et al., 2021), eliding the ways in which experiences during and following domestic abuse are affected by other contexts and factors.
This research seeks to explore the ways in which race, culture, education social and community factors intersect to shape South Asian women’s perceptions of domestic abuse and their decisions to access help services; as well as draw into view alternative help-seeking pathways that they may follow. Inspired by approaches in community development and education, the project works with community groups and dedicated BME women’s organisations to explore if, when and how victims engage with criminal justice, and how they locate their experiences within the context of their own lives. In addition to producing policy briefings and reports for the Scottish Government, the research works directly with South Asian women to co-produce literature for service providers highlighting particular barriers that are faced, and literature for South Asian women which outlines viable pathways to help and justice through criminal justice and other services.
Start and End date
March 2021 – October 2022
Funder and Funding amount
Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government