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2018-19 Graduate Student Fellows Announced

The Initiative to End Family Violence (IEFV) is pleased to announce our Graduate Student Fellows, who will each receive $3,500 in funding for research on family violence during the 2018-19 academic year.

The IEFV Graduate Student Fellowship was created to support graduate students whose research has the potential to prevent, intervene in, or end family violence. Fellows are:

Jessica Cabrera, Department of Sociology

Power Struggles in Administering Civil Rights: A Field-Level Analysis of Title IX Policy in Action

My research aims to understand how different organizations and institutional actors shape the meaning of sexual assault policies on university campuses. I will focus specifically on the shaping of Title IX policies on sexual harassment and sexual violence. Within the last decade, campus sexual assault has come to be seen as a civil rights issue nationally, given that women experience disproportionately high rates of violence on college campuses. Title IX feminist activists argued that this negatively impacts women’s equal access to education, and the federal government’s Office of Civil Rights followed up by requiring that colleges establish Title IX Offices to help measure and intervene in campus violence. However, offices intended to serve survivors of violence—mainly women—have come to lend an ear to many other interest groups, including advocates for the accused, feminists who oppose Title IX policy and procedures, and higher education bureaucracies in charge of establishing and running these offices. My dissertation will study these groups using interdisciplinary methods such as mobile ethnography and grounded theory. I want to map out the language these groups use in order to gain a sense of the field logics and interpersonal relations that shape Title IX policy formation and implementation. Further, I want to answer important questions about how concepts like victimhood, civil rights administration, and risk management are conceptualized in different settings, and how this impacts law on the books versus law in action.

Fellowship funds will be used to help pay for transcription of interviews collected during the ethnographic process, as well as to help cover travel costs to different meetings and conferences relevant to my research topic.  

Emma Conner, Department of Criminology, Law, and Society

Legal Mobilization Among Incarcerated Fathers: Experiences Inside County Jail

In my dissertation, I will use data from Dr. Kristin Turney’s Jail and Family Life Study to understand how incarcerated fathers handle family conflict that arises during their incarceration.  The Jail and Family Life Study consists of interviews with approximately 150 incarcerated fathers from three Orange County jails, as well as the mother of their child(ren), their children, and other adult family members when applicable. These fathers are incarcerated for a variety of reasons, including domestic violence, violation of a restraining order against family, and child endangerment.  My dissertation will utilize the baseline interviews from these fathers while they are incarcerated to explore how men plan to address family conflict—with the law, around the law, against the law—and why. How does an incarcerated father negotiate conflict with the mother of his child(ren) outside of the law, but non-violently? In my dissertation, I will examine how incarcerated fathers engage with and invoke the law through their discourse and behavior around their family relationships and arrangements. I will examine the legal and extra-legal ways that fathers mobilize to address family conflict and under what circumstances.

I will use funds for data analysis as well as presenting my findings at the International Prisoners Families conference and the American Society of Criminology conference in 2019.

Zoe Eng, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Efficacy of a Stress Reduction Workshop for Domestic Violence Survivors

I am working with a local domestic violence shelter that provides women with a one-hour workshop to learn stress reduction techniques which they can use to help them cope with encountering their abusers at their court hearings to obtain a temporary protective order. 

To our knowledge, no previous research has focused on interventions specifically designed to alleviate stress on the day of the protective order hearing. This intervention is also innovative in that it only requires one evening and is possible in a group setting led by a single individual, which is less expensive and easier to implement than individual counseling sessions. The data resulting from this study, if successful, will provide the knowledge necessary to more broadly implement targeted strategies to support victims of domestic violence seeking legal strategies for protection.

With the support from this IEFV fellowship, I will be able to study the effectiveness of these workshops and include biological markers to assess participants’ stress reactivity. The funding will also support the costs of compensation for the participants’ time and help with the study.

Alison Goldstein, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Informing Preventative Interventions: Targeting Parenting Behaviors and Reducing Child-Directed Reactive Aggression

Child abuse is a systemic problem in dire need of a solution. According to the U.S. Administration for Children & Families, 1,670 children in the United States died from abuse and neglect in 2015 and 683,00 children experienced abuse or neglect that year. One such method to address child abuse is by identifying risk factors within parents to modify through psychosocial interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to inform the development of parent prevention programs targeting the reduction of child-directed reactive aggression (a key element of child abuse). We aim to do this through conducting a brief intervention with parents and observing how this may change the way parents interact with their children. If found to be successful, this intervention can be disseminated widely as it is inexpensive to implement and can be implemented by community practitioners. In conclusion, we hope to inform future preventative parent interventions that may reduce the incidence of child-directed reactive aggression, and in turn, child abuse.

The funds will be used to compensate participants for their time dedicated to the study.

Aria Golestani, Department of Economics

Judicial Responses to Domestic Violence Through Specialized Training

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 4 out of every 1,000 US residents over the age of 12 are victims of domestic violence each year. In 2015, domestic violence was more prevalent than aggravated assault, or rape and robbery combined. My project aims to evaluate the impact of a variety of criminal justice interventions aimed at reducing the harm associated with domestic violence currently used by the Davidson County (TN) court. Specifically, I intend to study the use of specialized domestic violence courts that are overseen by judges who have received specialized training in these types of offenses. Using individual-level crime data on both offenders and victims, I will be able to track not only future criminal behavior by offenders, but the likelihood that victims exposed to different treatment regimes, due to random judge assignment, are able to avoid abusive relationships in the future.

The UCI Initiative to End Family Violence (IEFV) Fellowship will primarily be used to support my travel to Nashville for collecting administrative records that would significantly accelerate my progress in understanding and analyzing data.

Klaudia Kosiak, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

The Role of Shame in Psychological Distress Among Women Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

Numerous studies have identified social support as a protective factor against the development of psychological distress in women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) (Coker et al., 2004; Jose & Novaco, 2016).  However, the causal mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear.  One possibility is that negative perceptions of social relations among women exposed to IPV limit their willingness to utilize available social network resources.  Such an explanation is supported by studies that have found strong relationships between shame, an emotion associated with social isolation and distrust of social network members, and psychological distress in IPV-exposed women (Dodson & Beck, 2017).  The inter-connections between shame, perceptions of social support, and psychological distress bear on the design of effective interventions for IPV-exposed women.  Shame and negative perceptions of social network resources could reduce the effectiveness of interventions by minimizing survivors’ engagement in the treatment process.  This study will examine how various types of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), along with positive and negative social experiences predict shame, and how shame relates to perceptions of social support and the development of traumatic stress, depression, and health problems. Treatment-modifiable factors that could be targeted in interventions to reduce shame and to enhance social support will be highlighted.

The funds will solely be used to compensate women for participating in a 40-minute interview. Participants will be given a $20 Target gift card. The project will involve a sample of 150 adult women (18 years of age and older) seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against their abusive partners at the Orange County Family Justice Center (OCFJC).

Amy Magnus, Department of Criminology, Law and Society

At the Social Margins of the Spatial Margins: An Ethnographic Study of Rural Social Services, Resources, and Politics

Social services and resources are often concentrated in highly populated, metropolitan areas across the United States. Because of this, rural communities often suffer from a lack of important resources and, by extension, funding and political support for public and individual health, education, and justice initiatives. Extreme poverty and social stratification is common in rural communities and also a major risk factor for poor health outcomes, limited education opportunities, and likelihood of experiencing domestic and family violence. These phenomena are especially true for women. In light of this, the scarcity of social- and health-related resources often perpetuates cycles of poverty and violence. In recent years, pockets of innovative social service efforts have emerged in America’s rural landscape as non-profit organizations, small community workgroups, and mobile clinics that bring needed services to communities lacking social service infrastructure. These strategies are a promising yet understudied area of inquiry that can potentially reconceive the way society thinks about and engages in social justice, social movements, and social change. My dissertation deploys ethnographic, community-based action research methods to examine the interface between rural social inequality, the effectiveness of budding rural social service efforts, and the politics of activism and community organizing in these landscapes.

The Initiative to End Family Violence fellowship funds will be used for gas money to travel to and from my field site during data collection as well as compensation for interview and focus group participants throughout the project. 

Hwawon Seo, Department of Criminology, Law, and Society

Community context of domestic violence: Do Neighborhood factors matter?

Although there has been myriad of research on the relationship between crime, especially property crimes and violent crimes, and community characteristics, little is known about how community context, including neighborhood factors such as poverty, economic inequality, and local institutions, impact domestic violence. In addition, the existing body of research on domestic violence at the community level is extremely small: what studies do exist have failed to account for important neighborhood factors such as local institutions; and the previous research has examined only certain types of domestic violence due to a reliance on official crime data namely, Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data, which do not reflect the full spectrum of domestic violence because the data includes only reported incidents and the law strictly defines domestic violence.

The present study seeks to examine the effects of various community structural characteristics including poverty, economic inequality, and local institutions on domestic violence using police calls for service data to reflect the full spectrum of domestic violence. In particular, this study integrates data from the U.S. Census (for basic socio-demographic variables) and County Business Patterns (for local institution variables), with police calls for service data in a number of cities in the U.S. around the year 2016.

The funds will primarily be used to support my progress in analyzing data and preparing results for presentation and publication by contributing to my summer fellowship. In addition, funding also will be used to support my travel to 2019 Western Society of Criminology(WSC) conference on February 2019. 


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