Cultural Encounters in Interventions Against Violence (CEINAV)

Project summary

The project “Cultural Encounters in Interventions Against Violence” (CEINAV) took a dual approach to cultural encounters as they play out in ethics, justice, and citizenship, through a focus on the fundamental rights of women and of children to safety from violence. It explored both national legal and institutional cultures as they affect practices of intervention, and the growing diversity within European countries, where symbolic boundaries of cultural belonging can define social exclusion and inclusion. Four EU countries – Germany, Portugal, Slovenia and England and Wales – were studied, and differing approaches to the protective role of the state (as expressed in law, policing, and social welfare intervention) were contextualized in the history of colonialism, democracy, migration, and diversity.

The research explored on the one hand why, despite an explicit European consensus on stopping violence against women and protecting children from harm, the practices of intervention and the rationales behind them differ between countries, and on the other hand, how policies and institutional practices intended to ensure the “best interests of the child” and the freedom and safety of women from violence may be deployed differently and have quite different effects for disadvantaged minorities within each country.

In consultation with 12 associate partners who represent networks of practitioners and stakeholders the project focused on three forms of violence for which state responsibility is well established: intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, and trafficking for sexual exploitation. Using paradigmatic narratives, in-depth discussions with professionals involved in intervention were analysed for their implicit and explicit discursive constructions and normative representations. Exploring the perspectives of stakeholders who work with migrant and minority women and children illuminated the tensions each group negotiates and through this enriched the debates on multiculturalism and diversity.

The project also gave space to the voices of women and children who have travelled through a personal history of violence and of social interventions. Collecting their stories and working in a creative art process sought to uncover the potential both of narrative and of visual representation to stimulate the imagination needed to hear different voices and to recognise the agency of victims. Artist-researchers in each of the four countries integrated creative art and aesthetic education as instruments through which disempowered voices may be heard, creating resources that can be used in change processes.

Comprising innovative methodological approaches, theory-based research and a creative synergy CEINAV worked ‘in between’ research, policy and practice. The project analysed ethical issues of rights and discrimination, seeking to clarify the implications of European norms and of practices of protection, taking account of multiple and intersecting structures of power and oppression. It framed an intersectional approach to intervention that recognises the voice and agency of diverse victims. The outcomes included working papers, video documentaries, a document outlining ethical foundations for responsible practice and two books.

View the main results of the project

CEINAV project blog

You can download the article Interventions against GV and CA .

The Final report  is now available.

You can also view CEINAV's Cultural Encounters video – Art encounters.

Associated partners 

Domestic violence

AP-1: Bundesverband Frauenberatungsstellen und Frauennotrufe, Frauen gegen Gewalt e.V., DE, Ms Ute Zillig,
AP-2: Association for Non-violent Communication, SI, Ms Katarina Zabukovec Kerin,
AP-3: IMKAAN, UK, Ms Sumanta Roy,
AP-4: União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta – Umar, PT, Dr Ilda Afonso,


AP-5: Koordinierungskreis gegen Frauenhandel und Gewalt an Frauen im Migrationsprozess – KOK e.V., DE, Ms Eva Kueblbeck,
AP-6: Society Kljuc – Centre for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings, SI, Ms Polona Kovac,
AP-7: Black Association of Women Step Out Ltd. (BAWSO), Cardiff, UK, Dr Mwenya Chimba,
AP-8: Association for Family Planning /Associação para o Planeamento e a Família (APF), Porto, Fernanda Pinto,

Child abuse and neglect

AP-9: German section of the Fédération lnternationale des Communautés Educatives (FICE) e. V, DE, Dr Monika Weber,
AP-10: Association against sexual abuse, SI, Ms Erica Kovac,
AP-11: Childrens' Services, London Borough of Hounslow, UK, Janet Johnson and Emma Worthington 
AP-12: Associacão Projecto Criar (APC), PT, Ms Leonor Valente Monteiro,

Project leader

Professor Carol Hagemann-White
University of Osnabrück, Germany 

Project partners

Assoc. Professor Vlasta Jalušic
Peace Institute, Slovenia

Professor Liz Kelly
London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Professor Maria José Magalhães
University of Porto, Portugal

Dr Thomas Meysen
SOCLES International Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

Main results    

CEINAV has achieved one of its main goals: to develop a transnational foundation for ethical practice in intervention, taking a holistic view of the forms of violence we have studied, while attending to differences. The paper Transnational Foundations for Ethical Practice in Interventions Against Violence Against Women and Child Abuse has resulted from in-depth discussions between the entire four-country team, and was written by Liz Kelly and Thomas Meysen with an approach that speaks directly to practitioners and the challenges they face. We make this paper available in the four languages of our project and invite others to translate into further languages (but please let us know if you do).

UK – Transnational Foundations for Ethical Practice in Interventions Against Violence

Germany – Transnationale Grundlagen für eine ethische Praxis bei Interventionen wegen Gewalt gegen Frauen und Kinder

Portugal – Kelly_Meysen CEINAV_Transnational Foundations_2016_Web_PT

Slovenia – Transnacionalna izhodišča za etično prakso v interveniranju proti nasilju nad ženskami in zlorabi otrok

Anthology of stories

The five CEINAV teams sought to hear the voices of women and young people with a minority or migration background who had travelled through a history of violence and intervention. From these interviews an anthology of stories was created, in which the women and young people describe when and how intervention helped them or failed to help, and what they think could be done better. The anthology has been artistically designed and aims to be widely accessible. All stories were translated into English next to the original language as an invitation to think about how experiences may differ or be similar in different countries of Europe. The anthology is available online but it also available in print.

Experiences of Intervention Against Violence - An Anthology of Stories, Cultural Encounters in Intervention Against Violence vol 2, Carol Hagemann-White & Bianca Grafe eds. Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers 2016.

  • Responses to violence encounter complex intersections of power relations, rights, culture and ethics. This book offers perspectives from a four-country study of interventions on domestic violence, trafficking for sexual exploitation, physical child abuse and neglect. Voices of professionals as well as of women and young people who have experienced intervention illuminate how and why practices may differ. Theories of structural inequality and ethics are discussed and translated into practice.

Interventions against child abuse and violence against women: Ethics and culture in practice and policy, Cultural Encounters in Intervention Against Violence vol 1, Carol Hagemann- White, Liz Kelly & Thomas Meysen eds. Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers 2019.

Working papers

CEINAV workshop 14 CEINAV workshop background paper 2019_06

Working paper on Salient ethical issues for intervention against violence

Comparative Paper of 15 MJM_CEINAV_DV Comparative paper

Child Abuse and Neglect

Domestic Violence

Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation

Funding information

This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 291827”. The project Cultural Encounters in Interventions Against Violence (CEINAV) is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via PT-DLR, DASTI, ETAG, FCT, FNR, FNRS, FWF, FWO, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MHEST, NWO, NCN, RANNÍS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the socio-economic sciences and humanities programme.