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Unit information: Gender based Violence in 2020/21

Unit name Gender based Violence
Unit code SPOL30029
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Williamson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit considers gender based violence (GBV) and abuse, that is, harm inflicted on people because of their gender. GBV is mostly mostly male on female and happens in different settings though the domestic is most common. There is therefore an emphasis on domestic and other kinds of intimate violence including sexual, emotional, psychological and physical assault. The unit also covers rape and sexual abuse outside the home, forced marriage, pornography, sexual harassment and links between the abuse of humans and other animals. Consideration will be given to various theoretical perspectives on GBV, including feminist insights, and to the gendered nature of violence against both children and adults. Some history of the social movements against the abuse of women, both nationally and internationally, is included, and the whole is placed within a context of social policy responses.

Intended learning outcomes

  1. Critical understanding of the nature, definitions and scope of gender based violence in a national and international contexts.
  2. Knowledge of the history and development of social action in relation to gender based violence both in the UK and in international contexts.
  3. Give an account and an assessment of the international forms of gender based violence, and social policy responses.
  4. Understanding of theoretical approaches to gender based violence, and their application in policy and practice.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including weekly lectures, practical activities supported by study group sessions and self-drected exercises.

Assessment Details

Part 1: Annotated bibliography (1000 words) (25%) - ILO's 1 & 2. Part 2: 3000 word essay (75%) - ILO's 1,3,4.

Reading and References

Dobash, R. E. and Dobash, R. (1992) Women, Violence and Social Change, London: Routledge.

Donovan, C., Hester, M., Holmes, J. and McCarry, M. (2006) Comparing Domestic Abuse in Same Sex and Heterosexual Relationships. Bristol: University of Bristol.

Gangoli, G. and Westmarland, N, (2006) International Approaches to Prostitution, Bristol: The Policy Press

Hester, M., Pearson, C. and Harwin, N. with H. Abrahams (2007) Making an Impact: Children and Domestic Violence: A Reader (Second Edition) London: Jessica Kingsley.

Gangoli, G. (2007) Indian feminisms: law, patriarchies, and violence in India, Hants: Ashgate

Hague, G. and Malos, E. (2005) 3rd edition, Domestic Violence: Action for Change, Cheltenham: New Clarion Press.

Lees, S. (1996), 2nd edition (2002) Carnal Knowledge – Rape on Trial, London: Hamish Hamilton. Stark, E. (2007) Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Taylor-Browne J. (ed.) What works in Reducing Domestic Violence: A comprehensive guide for professionals (Home Office Review), London: Whiting and Birch.