“It’s very complex”: Professionals’ work with domestic violence (DV): Report – FGI and interviews 2022


Ingunn Studsrød; Ragnhild Gjerstad Sørensen; Brita Gjerstad; Patrycja Sosnowska-Buxton ; Kathrine Skoland


focus group interviews, Domestic violence, interprofessional collaboration, The Istanbul Convention, Violence in close relationships, partnervold


This study explores Norwegian professionals' experiences of working within partner violence (PV) prevention area, including, cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation as well as possible successful strategies and measures in this area. This report is one of the deliverables of the “Integrated System of Domestic Violence Prevention” (ISDVP) project and of the agreement with The State Treasury, the Institute of Justice in Warsaw, Poland. This study contributes to research on professionals’ experiences of interprofessional collaboration in the domestic violence prevention area – a similar study was conducted in Poland.  To facilitate an interdisciplinary and interagency group discussion, five focus groups (with 19 participants) were conducted. The analysis reveals that there is inter- and intra-sectoral collaboration in the domestic violence prevention area. There are marked challenges but also notable success stories. The participants talked about several barriers to cross-sectoral collaborations, such as i) professional requirements of confidentiality, mandate, and/or duty to report, especially in the domestic violence prevention stages; ii) the complexity and plethora of practical and organizational measures and initiatives as well as who does what and when, particularly when helping a client navigate through the system; and iii) the difficulty in defining as well as uncovering domestic violence because it can be understood differently by various parties, especially from a cross-cultural perspective and gender stereotypes. In terms of effective management of multisectoral collaboration, the participants mentioned i) several tools and models, e.g., SARA and Flexid, and ii) organization of emergency shelters; and iii) networking. Besides, the participants reported a need for a nuanced and multifocal approach to domestic violence prevention, including addressing the specificities of different vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the LGBQT+ community. They also talked about the importance of initiatives aimed at removing the stigma and taboo around domestic violence, also through targeting higher education establishments.

Author Biographies

Ingunn Studsrød

Department of Social Studies
University of Stavanger

Ragnhild Gjerstad Sørensen

NORCE (Norwegian Research Centre)
Department of Health and Social Sciences

Brita Gjerstad

Associate professor
Department of Social Studies
University of Stavanger

Patrycja Sosnowska-Buxton

Postdoctoral fellow
Department of Social Studies
University of Stavanger

Kathrine Skoland

Associate professor
Department of Social Studies
University of Stavanger


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November 8, 2022

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