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Parental Conflict or Control of Women by Men? Experiences and Perspectives of Children and Adolescents Exposed to Domestic Violence

Simon Lapierre, Isabelle Côté, David Buetti, Amélie Lambert, Geneviève Lessard, Marie Drolet

This article presents the findings of a study conducted with children and adolescents who have been exposed to domestic violence. The goal of the study was to better understand their experiences and perspectives on the issue. This article focuses on how young people define domestic violence. Drawing upon a qualitative and participative methodology, focus groups were conducted with 20 participants, followed by 46 individual interviews. The research participants were French-speaking children and adolescents from Québec and Ontario, all of whom had been exposed to domestic violence. Overall, the research findings reveal that while the participants’ definition focused on the intensification of violence and conflicts, reinforcing the notion of gender symmetry in domestic violence, their actual experiences tended to highlight gender inequalities as well as men’s power and control over women.