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School of Law

Queen Mary leads new project looking into domestic violence in India

The £300,000 grant will address the gap between law, policy, and access to both support services and justice for domestic abuse victims.

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Shazia Choudhry, Professor of Law, and Philippa Williams, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London, have been awarded a £300,000 grant by the British Academy for a 21-month research project into domestic violence in India. Despite legal initiatives over the last fifteen years, this issue has seen little progress, and requires victims to turn to informal, non-legal strategies and networks in order to cope, build resilience, and seek justice.

The project, “Surviving Violence: Everyday Resilience and Gender Justice in Rural-Urban India”, addresses the gap between law, policy, and access to both support services and justice for domestic abuse victims. It seeks to critically examine how victims access legal and non-legal services across a continuum of rural-urban sites, enhancing empirical knowledge and informing evidence-based policy.

In doing so, it adopts a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on expertise from Law, Political Science, Geography, and Anthropology, and employs participatory feminist methodology that emphasises women’s experiences and narratives of domestic violence, as well as their articulations of rights and justice. Consequently, it contributes to developing ever more nuanced understandings of domestic violence—crucial for enhancing formal-informal support and legal provisions for victim-survivors in order to achieve more gender just, and peaceful societies within India. Through this, the project is thus also expected to advance conceptual knowledge regarding domestic violence while developing feminist-legal methodology.

The project is also highly collaborative, drawing on existing civil society-academic partnerships across 3 key states: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Haryana. In addition to the Queen Mary, the India-UK team involves partners including IIT Mumbai, Jindal University, New Delhi and Swarna Rajagopalan (Civil Society Organisation and Political Scientist) Chennai.