15th September 2021

Researchers based at the University of Glasgow have launched a new study which will look at how South Asian women in Scotland get help for domestic abuse, and their experiences of the criminal justice system.

The study will fill a vital gap in our understanding of how race, culture, social, education and community factors play into victim/survivors’ decision-making on which services to access and when, as well as their perceptions of justice, and the justice system.

Dr Nughmana Mirza, Dr Lisa Bradley, and Nicola Dickson, based between the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and the School of Education, will publish their findings in December 2022.

Dr Mirza said: “There is a growing body of research and literature on domestic abuse but the experience of South Asian women in Scotland is almost entirely invisible.

“We hope that by identifying the barriers facing this group we can bring these issues to light and inspire change. We aim to support organisations and those working in the criminal justice sector to adopt policies and practices that best meet the needs of these women.

“Over the next 20 months we will engaging with community groups, women’s services and charities to carry out focus groups and interviews.”

The ‘Diversifying Justice: Revealing viable pathways for South Asian women’ study, which is funded by the Scottish Government, will also use a creative arts-based and participatory approach to conduct the research and disseminate findings.

Dr Bradley said: “We know that domestic abuse is a difficult subject to talk about but have found in previous research projects on gender-based violence that using art and creative methods can be really beneficial, and transformative for those who take part.

“We plan on using a variety of creative techniques in this study, including collaging and textile work, to bring women together and build a relationship with us as researchers and with one another as a group.

“In addition to the creative outputs that will come through this approach of doing research, we will also co-produce leaflets and infographics with the women, to go out to other service-users and providers.”

More generally, whilst this work highlights the barriers faced by South Asian women, the researchers hope that the learning it develops has a far broader reach to speak to other marginalised communities included/excluded from justice, including LGBTQ+ groups, disabled people, and ethnic communities such as East Asian and Roma populations.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Keith Brown said: “The introduction of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 has been a milestone legislation and ensures that the experiences of those who suffer domestic abuse are captured and that perpetrators can be held accountable for it. More than half of the rise in violent convictions in 2019-20 were accounted for under Scotland’s new Domestic Abuse Act.

“However, we know that only around a fifth of this type of abuse is reported to the police and there may be a number of reasons why a victim will decide to not come forward.  This research is vital for us to understand why there is reluctance to report and where the specific barriers are for South Asian women and the findings will help us strengthen and improve pathways to encourage victims to report.”

To keep up to date with research progress you can follow the research on Instagram @diversifyingjustice and visit the website at: https://diversifyingjustice.com. Find Lisa and Nicola on Twitter @Lisa_Bradley_ and @NicMDickson.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) is a partnership between the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, and Stirling. We aim to produce research that informs policy and practice and advances our understanding of justice.
  2. ‘Diversifying Justice: Revealing viable pathways for South Asian women’ is funded by the Scottish Government.

Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice

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Diversifying Justice: Revealing viable pathways for South Asian women

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