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An Exploratory Framework for Community-Led Research to Address Intimate Partner Violence: a Case Study of the Survivor-Centered Advocacy Project

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This case study discusses the Survivor-Centered Advocacy (SCA) Project, a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project that convened anti-violence advocates from culturally specific communities to design and implement research. The project used a unique approach to build grassroots research capacity and center survivors of intimate partner violence from historically marginalized communities. This approach coalesced into the creation of an exploratory Community-Led Research (CLR) framework that incorporated trauma-informed, research justice and language justice principles. The CLR framework responded to community members’ desire to lead, rather than simply participate in, the research process. As a result, five studies were designed and executed by practitioners turned community-based researchers, most of whom had never before engaged in research, except as subjects. The CLR framework integrated the skills and experiences of community-based and external researchers, and led to high levels of engagement, rich data, more equitable research processes and innovative research projects.
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An Exploratory Framework for Community-Led Research to Address
Intimate Partner Violence: a Case Study of the Survivor-Centered
Advocacy Project
Susan Ghanbarpour
&Ada Palotai
&Mimi E. Kim
&Aracelia Aguilar
&Juana Flores
&Amber Hodson
Tara Holcomb
&Maria Jimenez
&Mallika Kaur
&Orchid Pusey
&Alvina Rosales
&Wendy Schlater
&Hyejin Shim
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
This case study discusses the Survivor-Centered Advocacy (SCA) Project, a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project
that convened anti-violence advocates from culturally specific communities to design and implement research. The project used a
unique approach to build grassroots research capacity and center survivors of intimate partner violence from historically marginalized
communities. This approach coalesced into the creation of an exploratory Community-Led Research (CLR) framework that incorpo-
rated trauma-informed, research justice and language justice principles. The CLR framework responded to community members
desire to lead, rather than simply participate in, the research process. As a result, five studies were designed and executed by
practitioners turned community-based researchers, most of whom had never before engaged in research, except as subjects. The
CLR framework integrated the skills and experiences of community-based and external researchers, and led to high levels of engage-
ment, rich data, more equitable research processes and innovative research projects.
Keywords Community-based participatory research .Community-led research .Research justice .Language justice .
Survivor-centered advocacy .Domestic violence .Intimate partner violence .Family violence .Culturally responsive .
Culturally specific
Susan Ghanbarpour was formerlyattheAsianPacificInstituteon
Gender-Based Violence.
*Susan Ghanbarpour
Ada Palotai
Mimi E. Kim
Aracelia Aguilar
Juana Flores
Amber Hodson
Tara Holcomb
Maria Jimenez
Mallika Kaur
Orchid Pusey
Alvina Rosales
Wendy Schlater
Hyejin Shim
Independent Consultant, San Francisco, CA, USA
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Oakland, CA,
School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach,
Long Beach, CA, USA
DeafHope, Oakland, CA, USA
Mujeres Unidas y Activas, San Francisco, CA, USA
Sikh Family Center, San Carlos, CA, USA
Asian Womens Shelter, San Francisco, CA, USA
Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Avellaka Program of La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, La Jolla, CA,
Queer and Trans Koreans Yearning for Unity and Liberation
(QYUL), the Queer and Trans Workgroup of the Korean American
Coalition to End Domestic Abuse, El Cerrito, CA, USA
Journal of Family Violence
Building the power of those Bmost impacted^by social, po-
litical and economic problems has been a central tenet of prac-
tice, policy and research in the arena of human services (Green
et al. 1995;Minkler2012;ReischandGarvin2016). For those
addressing intimate partner violence (IPV), the question of who
is Bmost impacted^has been confounded by concerns about
how to center not only the needs but also the agency and self-
determination of survivors of IPV in an increasingly profession-
alized field (Cattaneo and Goodman 2015;Koyama2006).
While often viewed through an individualized lens, the dynam-
ics of IPV are not simply interpersonal or inter-familial. Within
marginalized communities, IPV is embedded in a structural
context in which individualized patterns of violence are medi-
ated by legacies of structural oppression, discriminatory poli-
cies and lack of access to resources (Mehrotra et al. 2016);
Sokoloff and Dupont 2005). Marginalized communities in the
United States include communities of color, immigrant/refugee
communities, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning-in-
tersex (LGBTQI) or Bqueer and trans^communities, commu-
nities of people with disabilities, religious minority communi-
ties, low-income communities and their intersections.
How can research on IPV build knowledge that addresses
the needs of and elevates the position of power of survivors,
particularly those within the context of marginalized commu-
nities? How can the research process, itself, align with values
and practices rooted in and relevant to diverse marginalized
communities? This case study documents and analyzes the
Survivor-Centered Advocacy (SCA) Project, which attempted
to address these two central questions through its aims and
processes, and all participants of which identified as being
from marginalized communities.
The SCA Project was initiated by the Asian Pacific
Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV), a national
resource center that serves a network of providers, researchers,
policymakers and activists working on issues of gender-based
violence (including IPVand domestic violence) in Asian and
Pacific Islander (API) communities. Despite the vast knowl-
edge of API survivors of IPV and community-based practi-
tioners on issues related to IPV, API-GBVand its constituents
recognizedthe paucity of 1) research documenting this knowl-
edge; 2) community capacity to gather it; and 3) practices and
policies that reflected it in the broader mainstream domestic
violence field. BCommunity-based practitioners^identify
themselves and their roles in a variety of ways, including:
practitioners, advocates, organizers, and survivors of violence
(not currently in crisis). In general, they work to provide re-
sources, services and/or support to survivors of violence, as
well as build awareness around and mobilize against violence.
Although we acknowledge and honor each of these identities,
for the sake of brevity in this case study, we generally use the
term Bpractitioners.^Mainstream services and service pro-
viders can be thought of as those that are not culturally spe-
cific. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of
2013 defines Bculturally specific^as Bprimarily directed to-
ward racial and ethnic minority groups (as defined in section
1707(g) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300u-
6(g))^(42 U.S.C. 13,925(a)(6)). Section 300u-6(g)(1) defines
the term Bracial and ethnic minority group^to mean
BAmerican Indians (including Alaska Natives, Eskimos, and
Aleuts); Asian Americans; Native Hawaiians and other
Pacific Islanders; Blacks; and Hispanics.^
API-GBV was also particularly interested in exploring the
concept of SCA, which is broadly defined as both a compre-
hensive and individualized approach of working with survi-
vors in a way that strives to meet their individual needs, as
they define and prioritize them, rather than applying a generic
service delivery model that centers more on the needs and
preferences of professionalized Bservice providers^(Allen et
al. 2004; Center for Survivor Agency and Justice 2017;
Goodman and Epstein 2008). While SCA has long been a
familiar grassroots concept and practice, a preliminary litera-
ture search found that very little academic knowledge exists
regarding culturally specific SCA. Further exploration
employing key informant interviews with API practitioners
revealed an Bintuitive^sense of what culturally specific
SCA is but with little or no supporting documentation. For
these reasons, the SCA Project team envisioned a research
project that would both generate knowledge about the mean-
ing and practice of survivor-centered advocacy in culturally
specific marginalized communities; as well as build the capac-
ity of community-based practitioners to conduct research ad-
dressing survivor-centered, culturally specific needs, perspec-
tives and power to positively change related practice, policy
Principles Informing the Design of the SCA
Language Justice
The SCA Projects Design Team was composed of API-GBV
project staff and external consultants, all of whom were
steeped in a range of research- and practice-based experiences
addressing IPV in marginalized communities. The Design
Teams initial vision of the project included principles and
practices emerging from API-GBVs work in the field. One
was the intention to support a multilingual space by applying a
Blanguage justice^lens, which stemmed from API-GBVs
work providing training and technical assistance on language
access, and later grew to encompass an equity focus.
Language access is commonly defined as providing services
and support in-language or with appropriate interpretation and
translation for those who have limited English ability. It is
critical in multilingual environments in the United States
(where the dominant language is English) to insure that non-
English speakers are able to participate fully in all aspects of
human life, more generally, and in the context of this project,
in activities related to research, specifically (Batterbury 2014;
Judicial Council of California 2015; McKee et al. 2012).
Language justice goes beyond expanding language accessibil-
ity in that it also aims for equity, which includes de-centering
English in favor of centering the perspectives and experiences
of limited or non-English speakers. Language justice works to
level power dynamics that result in language inequities, by
including in its analysis the observation that the very selection
and meaning of words in most public contexts are structured
from the perspective of the dominant culture (Antena 2013).
Accordingly, language justice has an explicit focus on social
justice, since so many non-English speakers are among the
most marginalized, especially those from communities of col-
or and immigrant and refugee communities (Antena 2013).
Trauma-Informed Approach
The Design Team was also acutely aware of how important it
would be for the project to acknowledge and attend to
community and individual histories of trauma. As
Goodman and colleagues (2017) note, citing previous work,
researchers working with communities on issues related to
IPV should have Ba trauma informed lens that takes into ac-
count that survivors, their family members, and program staff
may be experiencing current trauma, or consequences of past
trauma^(Edleson and Bible 2001; World Health Organization
2001; Slattery and Goodman 2009;Sullivanetal.2017).
Furthermore, for many marginalized communities, there are
deep wounds stemming from historical legacies of coloniza-
tion, slavery, cultural suppression, and other forms of histori-
cal oppression, as well as from displacement due to war, geno-
cide, and colonial occupation (Kirmayer et al. 2014,p.300;
McKee et al. 2012). Further compounding these wounds is the
increased targeting and vulnerability experienced by members
of marginalized communities in the always-evolving socio-
political climate. While there was not much information avail-
able about trauma-informed research practices specifically, the
Design Team felt that it could apply two sources of knowledge
to the project: its collective experience around trauma and
trauma-informed practices in the IPV field, as well as its indi-
vidual memberslived experiences as part of marginalized
Research Justice
Finally, the Design Team was guided by an intention to disrupt
structural inequities in typical mainstream research processes,
which can cause harm to marginalized communities. These
structural inequities encompass all aspects of the research pro-
cess, from who is doing the research and which communities are
included in it, to the process by which it is done, to who has
access to the research products. For example, many communities
of color and other marginalized groups are generally underrep-
resented among the total population of researchers, and there
is evidence that researchers of color receive disproportionately
less research funding than their white peers with similar levels
of achievement and experience (Ginther et al. 2011;Hayden
2015). Similarly, many marginalized groups are underrepre-
sented in research studies, yet this seldom prevents such stud-
ies' findings from becoming canonized as evidence-based
practices (Serrata et al. 2017;Sheikh2006). In addition, as
Assil and colleagues (2015) point out, communities often
have limited or no access to research products from academic
and government institutions due to language limitations, cost,
and privatization of information (there is little open access to
the literature base, which mostly lies behind paywalls and is
in English); they have experienced stigma due to negative
portrayals of their community in research, often stemming
from ill-informed or biased assumptions; and community
sources of knowledge have been discounted as Banecdotal^
or Bbiased^compared to mainstream academic or institutional
sources of knowledge.
In contrast, the Design Team wished to use a framework
that is perhaps best described as Bresearch justice.^As defined
by DataCenter, research justice is a strategic framework that
aims to address and transform structural inequities in research
by centering community voices and leadership as a pathway to
meaningful and long-term social change (Assil et al. 2015).
Assil and colleagues (2015) suggest that in a research jus-
tice framework, research driven by community priorities con-
fronts institutional barriers to information, offers communities
opportunities to challenge and retool power structures in re-
search processes, and creates community-generated solutions
in public policy and decision-making arenas. A research jus-
tice framework also acknowledges and gives equal power and
legitimacy to different sources of knowledge, weaving togeth-
er mainstream or institutional knowledge with cultural and
spiritual knowledge, as well as experiential (Blived
experience^) knowledge (Assil et al. 2015). This approach
has parallels in Satterfield and colleagues' (2009)transdisci-
plinary model of evidence-based practice, which highlights
the importance of considering practitioner and client
perspectives along with the research evidence base and
environmental context; as well as Serrata and colleagues'
(2017) community-centered evidence-based practice ap-
proach, which prioritizes culturally relevant evidence ground-
ed in the voices of community members.
Adopting a Community-Based Participatory
Research Approach
As the Design Team investigated different frameworks
to guide the research processes of the SCA Project, the
community-based participatory research (CBPR) ap-
proach emerged as one that fit many of the projects
initial goals well. There was no framework that seemed
to encompass all aspects of the trauma-informed, lan-
guage justice, and research justice principles described
above, and particularly not as applied to a diverse group
of practitioners from historically marginalized culturally
specific communities. Yet much of the core components
of CBPR fit the projects intended goals, such as Green
and colleagues' (1995) straightforward description of
CBPR as a method of Binquiry with the participation
of those affected by an issue for the purpose of educa-
tion and action for effecting change^(p. 4). The prima-
ry principles of CBPR are described as intending to
bridge the gap between researchers and communities,
to create trust, share power, cultivate co-learning, aug-
ment strengths and resources, build capacity, and ob-
serve and tend to needs identified by communities
(Israel et al. 2005). CBPR also attends to issues of
power differentials, particularly between external (often
academic) researchers and community partners (Garzón
et al. 2013;Israeletal.2005;Minkler2005).
CBPR often incorporates another concept that was
relevant to the SCA Project, that of cultural humility.
Tervalon and Murray-Garcia (1998) discuss cultural hu-
mility as a process that requires ongoing self-reflection
and critique, which includes examining onesownpat-
tern of conscious and unconscious racism, sexism, and
other forms of discrimination and oppression; addressing
power imbalances; and establishing and maintaining
partnerships with communities that are mutually benefi-
cial and non-paternalistic. Israel and colleagues (2005)
note that cultural humility is embedded in the principles
of CBPR because of its emphasis on co-learning, which
requires surrendering the role of Bexpert^in order to
value the role of community members as partners in
the learning process. This was a particularly germane
concept in the SCA Project, which had capacity build-
ing as one of its explicit goals.
The team ultimately decided to proceed with CBPR as
the central framework guiding the research processes of the
project. CBPR principles seemed like a good fit with the
initial vision of the project, and Design Team members felt
they had a sufficient understanding of CBPR. Many of the
Design Team members had professional experiences with
CBPR approaches in the domestic violence, public health,
and health care fields; and had knowledge from the litera-
ture, which provided useful examples and guidance about
research projects in IPV contexts involving collaborations
with community-based organizations, some of which were
culturally specific (Bloom et al. 2009;EdlesonandBible
1998;Glass2009; Mouradian et al. 2001;Sullivanetal.
Structure and Evolution of the SCA Project
Project Description, Goals and Outcomes
The SCA Project was structured as a 15 month CBPR
project with a two-tiered or Bnested^research design.
The first tier focused on building knowledge about the
meaning and practice of culturally specific survivor-
centered advocacy; and the second tier on building
capacity of practitioners from marginalized communities
to conduct research in their own communities. Both of
these tiers were connected to the final action-oriented
goals: to use the data generated about survivor-
centered advocacy practices that lift up and support
marginalized communities; and to inform advocacy ef-
forts to change practices and policies to prevent and
intervene in IPV (in both culturally-specific and other
communities), as well as those structural conditions that
serve to perpetuate violence. This paper focuses primar-
ily on the second tier, building research capacity, al-
though more details about the other aspects of the pro-
ject can be found in the SCA Project final report.
With regard to the capacity-building tier, by the end of
the project period the SCA Project: 1) increased the re-
search skills of 10 practitioners from five community-
based organizations/groups from Deaf and Hard-of-
Hearing, Korean American, Native, Latinx and Sikh
American communities; 2) built research capacity within
each of these organizational and community settings; 3)
produced a wealth of research capacity-building training
and technical assistance materials in English and
Spanish, and conducted in-person training and technical
assistance in bi- or tri-lingual settings; 4) supported five
community-based teams to design and execute a research
project, including implementing human subjects protec-
tions, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting and
disseminating research findings; 5) produced community-
grounded knowledge about survivor-centered advocacy
in historically marginalized culturally-specific communi-
ties; and 6) co-created a set of CBPR principles and
agreements with community partners that guided research
activities and collaborative processes during the project,
as well as laid the foundation for the exploratory frame-
work for community-led research (CLR) discussed in this
Full details about the SCA Project can be foundin the final report thatwill be
posted to the following website by Spring 2019: The SCA
Project team and participants included: Aracelia Aguilar, Maria Carrillo,
Harmit Cheema, Juana Flores, Susan Ghanbarpour, Irene Girgis, Amber
Hodson, Tara Holcomb, Maria Jimenez, Mallika Kaur, Mimi Kim, Lesli
Irene LeGras, Beckie Masaki, Carolina Morales, Kao BTang ^Ying Moua,
Nuri Nusrat, Ada Palotai, Orchid Pusey, Riffat J. Rahman, Alvina Rosales,
Wendy Schlater, Hyejin Shim and Liz Suk.
Project Phases
The project activities relevant to the capacity-building tier
were organized into roughly three phases. The first was
the co-creation of shared CBPR principles and agreements
that would guide the SCA Project; the second was re-
search capacity skills building via trainings and individu-
alized technical assistance; and the third was the
community-based teamsdesign and execution of their
research projects, including a shared analysis / sense-
making session. While these phases somewhat overlapped
(for example, the preliminary design of research projects
informed which skills training would be most relevant),
they were designed to scaffold upon each previous activ-
ity, as depicted in Table 1.
Project Roles
The SCA Project was initiated and guided by a Design Team
composed of API-GBV project staff and external consultants,
all of whom identified as being from API communities, and
who possessed a range of research- and practice-based expe-
riences addressing IPV in marginalized communities.
Seventeen IPV practitioners from diverse culturally-
specific marginalized communities from across the State of
California participated in the first tier, representing 10
community-based organizations or groups, as well as a couple
participants who were unaffiliated or were not representing
their organizations/groups. They included practitioners from
African-American, Sikh, Korean, Native, Latinx, Deaf and
Hard of Hearing, Arab, Hmong, South Asian, and LGBTQ/
Two Spirit communities, many with intersecting identities;
they worked in the IPV field or from fields that intersect with
it, including restorative justice, community development, and
reproductive justice. They are referred to in this manuscript as
community partners.
The second tier was a subset of the first, comprising 10
practitioners from five different organizations/groups, who
formed into five corresponding research teams. They were
community-based Bresearchers in training,^that is, they
were the focus of intensive research capacity-building ef-
forts. It is important to note that at the beginning of the
project, eight out of the 10 practitioners reported little to
no experience conducting research, and had little experience
even as a participant in a research project (the other two,
both from the same organization, reported experience
conducting research projects). Indeed, the Design Team in-
tentionally framed the SCA Project as an opportunity for
practitioners who were interested in learning to conduct their
own research projects, to receive intensive research capacity
building regardless of prior experience conducting or partic-
ipating in research. That is, part of the design of the project
was to share these research skills with communities that
Table 1 Research phases of the Survivor-Centered Advocacy Project: Aims, convenings, activities and outcomes
Phase Project aim Collective convenings Primary activities Outcomes
1 Co-creation of CBPR principles & preliminary
design/selection of SCA research projects
Community partner orientation Project description & aims
How do we define survivors?
What is research?
What is CBPR?
Workshopping preliminary research design
SCA CBPR Principles and Agreements document
Proposals for SCA research projects
Selection of SCA research projects
2 Research skills building Research capacity building trainings
(remote & in-person)
Research ethics
Focus groups
Story telling
Qualitative analysis
CBPR curriculum
Community-based researcher workbook
3 Community-based research project design,
implementation, data collection, analysis
and dissemination
Community partner sense-making /
collective analysis
Review of SCA process
Shared research learnings
Presentation of research findings
Site-specific research reports
Evaluation findings
Final SCA Project report
otherwise had little exposure to them, as part of the projects
commitment to reducing structural inequities in research,
including inequitable distribution of and access to research
skills. This subset of practitioners is referred to in this man-
uscript as community-based researchers.
Each of the community-based researcher teams designed
and executed a culturally-specific research project related to
SCA, with the support of API-GBV project staff and consul-
tants who were organized into a team of four external re-
searchers (three of whom overlapped with the Design
Team). That is, the external researchers were a group of
Western-educated academically- and/or formally-trained re-
searchers who were external to the communities with whom
they were working. Their role was to design and deliver group
trainings as well as provide one-on-one technical assistance to
build the capacity of the community-based researchers to de-
sign and implement their own research projects. Each external
researcher was usually paired with one (sometimes overlap-
ping with two) community-based research team, based upon
geographic availability, familiarity with research methods that
matched the selected research design of that team, and rapport.
Though the external researchers were not from the communi-
ties with whom they were working, they identified as having a
culturally specific and/or culturally responsive approach to
research, in part because each identified as members of histor-
ically marginalized communities with substantial histories of
working in community-based organizations and settings.
They were also selected on the basis of having deep knowl-
edge of and experience with participatory research approaches
like CBPR, as well as the flexibility and willingness to de-
code research jargon and provide capacity-building from a
strengths-based perspective. Table 2provides more details
about these roles.
SCA Project Learnings about Community-Led
Lesson One: Acknowledge the CommunitysHistory
with Research Harms
At the initial SCA Project orientation gathering with commu-
nity partners, the Design Team facilitated a discussion and
free-listing activity about the participantsprior experience
with research and their resulting conceptions of research.
The responses were immediate, passionate and remarkably
aligned in their negative assessment of research. The word
cloud in Fig. 1was constructed from their response to the
question, BWhat comes up for you when you hear the word
research?^In explaining their answers, participants spoke at
length about their communitiesexperiences (both historical
and contemporary) of research being used as a colonizing
practice, a tool of exploitation and extraction, a method of
Table 2 Survivor-Centered Advocacy Project teams and roles
General Role Team Constitution Specific role
Project design and research support Design team API-GBV project staff
External research consultants (2 out of 3 consultants)
Design overall SCA Project objectives, activities, and timeline
External researchers API-GBV project staff
External research consultants (2 out of 3 consultants)
Conduct CBPR skills-building trainings
Provide technical assistance for site-specific SCA research projects
Evaluation team External research consultants (2 out of 3 consultants) Design evaluation
Create instruments
Implement evaluation
Produce evaluation findings
Community-based partners Community partners Network of culturally specific community-based
advocates, practitioners and organizers familiar with
IPV in marginalized communities
Inform SCA Project design and implementation
Co-create CBPR Principles and Agreements
Pool from which SCA research projects are selected
Contribute to sense-making at analysis stage of SCA Project
Community-based researchers Self-selected subset of community partners who conducted
SCA research
Trained in CBPR methods
Designed, implemented, analyzed and disseminated SCA research
stigmatizing communities, and a way of maintaining and re-
inforcing researcher-subject and academic-community hierar-
chies that support systems of oppression. One particular re-
peating theme was of academic researchers who came into
communities to take information and leave without ever giv-
ing back, described as Bdrive-by research.^The conversation
around research harms was much longer, richer, and more
complex than had been expected by the Design Team. It was
clear from the response that most participantscommunities
not only had an extensive, and mostly negative, history with
research, but that it was critically important for them to have
that history heard and acknowledged before they could con-
sider engaging in a research process.
Lesson Two: Establish Co-Created Principles &
Following the discussion of the negative response to
research, the Design Team facilitated a more aspirational
discussion of principles that should inform research,
asking community partners: what could be positive
about research? What would the research process look
like if you were creating it? This discussion resulted in
the co-creation of a CBPR framework with community
partner-driven research principles and practices, named
the SCA Project CBPR Principles and Agreements, a
condensed summary of which is presented in Table 3
(the full version can be found in the SCA Project final
report). The Principles and Agreements served as a
foundation for the overall project, and were regarded
by the community partners as a critical step in setting
out a vision for a research process that they considered
to be trustworthy and in line with their values. The
Principles & Agreements were meant not only to guide
the interactions between the Design Team and the com-
munity partners, but also the research process between
the community-based researchers and their research
Ave llak a s experience illustrates a perfect example related to
the principle about centering trauma-informed practices.
Avellakas Field Research team (Wendy) is located in a small,
rural, Native American Reservation. During the study period,
Wen d ys community experienced a wave of deaths that were
not only close together in time, but also in relation, and had a
devastating cumulative effect on community members from
Sister Reservations. Based on a deep understanding of tribal
customs and traditions, to give space to honor the communities
mourning, Avellakas team intuitively applied a trauma-
informed lens and shifted from the original research plan of
individual interviews, which would put further strain on com-
munity members by requesting too much of their participation,
to a focus group. Not only was the focus group more respectful
of peoples needs at that moment, but it also provided a format
for individuals to come together to share their stories in a way
that participants expressed was so positive and healing, that
they were interested in perhaps continuing the group past the
research. Recognizing the lack of equal access to justice for
tribal based (within tribal jurisdiction) LGBTQ/two-spirit folks
was re-triggering in that it recalled the communityshistoryof
loss, disruption, and fracturing of families due to historical
genocide, dislocation, disease, and other negative conse-
quences of contact, missionization and US policy.
Fig. 1 Pre-Project word cloud of
free-list responses to the question,
BWhat comes up for you when you
hear the word research?^Note:
Positive associations coded as
green, neutral associations coded
as yellow, and negative associa-
tions coded as red
Table 3 The Survivor-Centered Advocacy Projects community-based
participatory research principles and agreements (condensed version)
1) Transparency in all stages of a project.
2) Collaborative decision-making in all aspects of the project.
3) Balancing of mutual accountability of researchers to participants, of
participants to researchers, of participants to community, etc.
4) Community/participants are recognized as experts.
5) Center those most impacted.
6) Center practices that are trauma-informed/trauma-mitigating.
7) Center anti-oppression principles and frameworks.
8) Participants/community members own their own data.
9) Build in self-reflection and consciousness-raising practices to examine
our own dominant culture/oppressive habits.
Lesson Three: Maintain Community Researchers
As community partners revealed histories of exploitation, ex-
traction, stigmatization, and other forms of oppression by
mainstream researchers, the Design Team recognized that
the community-based research teams would need a high de-
gree of control and autonomy over their own research pro-
jects. As a result, the Design Team created project parameters
that clearly articulated that the community-based researchers
had broad autonomy to define their own research questions,
choose their methodologies and participants, request the re-
search capacity-building technical assistance and resources
they needed (including language resources at no cost to them),
and focus their reporting and dissemination strategies in the
ways that bestreflected and supported their own communities,
rather than adhere to an externally-imposed research or
funder-driven agenda. Importantly, this included clarifying
that any data that they generated belonged to them, and not
to API-GBVor the funder; and that if, at the end of the anal-
ysis, there were findings that they chose not to share externally
(for example, due to concerns about community stigmatiza-
tion or exposure of vulnerable community members), that was
their prerogative. At all points during the project, the Design
Team asked participants about what information could be
shared with the funder or publicly, versus what was restricted
to just the Design Team or internal to the community-based
researcher team.
It should be noted that the Design Team did keep a handful
of externally imposed requirements in place, primarily for
internal administrative reasons including budget and fiscal
management, as well as to provide some standard guidance
around research ethics. Among the requirements were that
community-based researchersprojects 1) relate to some as-
pect of SCA (defined broadly); 2) reflect the co-created CBPR
Principles and Agreements; and 3) uphold human subjects
protections and ethical research practices.
Lesson Four: Apply an Equity Frame to Collaborations
between Community and External Researchers
A research justice lens highlights structural inequities in how
research knowledge and resources are held and distributed,
who has access to them, and which are regarded as
Blegitimate^and Bcredible.^Thus, until those inequities are
erased, many community-based research projects are likely to
include collaborations with external researchers, who have
had formal and/or academic training and hold certain kinds
of privilege that have facilitated their access to this knowl-
edge. This was true for the SCA Project, which attempted to
mitigate this by structuring the collaborations between
community-based and external researchers in ways that pro-
moted capacity building and skill-sharing, to work towards
breaking down some of these inequitable access issues within
the scope of the project. For example, capacity-building train-
ings included the straightforward presentation of research jar-
gon and its translation into lay-person language, without fa-
voring either. The goal was to equip community-based re-
searchers with knowledge of both research practices and their
corresponding academic jargon, so that they could build fa-
miliarity and confidence with both. This process of translating
research concepts and jargon for a non-academic audience,
while upholding a high standard of research process and prac-
tice, was another key step towards research capacity building.
Throughout, the team of external researchers also worked hard
to center principles of cultural responsiveness and cultural
humility in their collaborations with the community-based
However, as the project proceeded, the Design Team be-
came aware that to a certain extent, and despite their best
intentions, the external researchers were being regarded as
Bexperts^in a way that reinforced their power and privilege,
and was undermining the collective goal for equitable research
processes. It was difficult to tell how much of this Bexpertise^
dynamic occurred as a result of the inherent challenges in
dismantling some of the external researchersown privilege
and biases, or was due to some other factor; but the discrep-
ancy between intent and impact was apparent. This dynamic
was exacerbated by other privileges the external researchers
enjoyed, which in addition to their formal education included
access to the literature base, funding, and other researchers
and personnel; credibility among the academic research com-
munity; respected academic outlets for dissemination; materi-
al resources (e.g., meeting space, supplies, admin support);
and technical resources (specialized technology and software,
and proficiency using it).
It became clear that external researchers wishing to collab-
orate with historically marginalized communities would often
be confronted with these and other difficult questions related
to power and privilege. This would require external re-
searchers to not only bring to bear the multitude of skills and
knowledge that came with their formal training, but also to
have a particular inclination toward anti-oppression and self-
reflection practices, and a desire to move beyond mere aware-
ness of the privilege inherent to their role, to instead take
action to address and mitigate it so as to not reinforce systemic
After discussion and reflection among the external re-
searchers and Design teams, they decided to address this priv-
ilege gap by stepping back and taking a more subordinate role,
as well as more openly recognizing and supporting the
community-based researchers as the lead researchers. While
this was always the projects intent, the external researchers
decided to more actively re-commit to this intention, with
more tangible practices. This meant they listened more closely
to the community-based researcherscapacity-building needs
and requests, and customized trainings and one-on-one tech-
nical assistance to attend to them, rather than using generic
capacity-building resources; they shared the fruits of their for-
mal education and access to resources by creating capacity-
building materials such as a workbook for community-based
researchers with customized templates and guidance, and dis-
tributing research methodology-related materials in English
and Spanish; and they communicated with community-based
partners via their preferred methods (whether in-person with
interpretation, via online video, etc.), even if that method in-
troduced some inconvenience to the external researchers. An
example of this was how an external researcher created a
training guide on qualitative thematic analysis that was highly
customized for a particular community-based research teams
beginner skill level, was translated into that teams preferred
language, used examples from that teams story circle tran-
script, and was walked through with the team during an in-
person mini-analysis and coding session that was simulta-
neously interpreted, so that the team could feel comfortable
applying these analytic skills on their own, to their in-
language transcripts (rather than have the external researcher
code them, using translated transcripts).
This interplay between the community-based and external
researchersknowledge, skills, and expertise, and the dynam-
ics of how issues of privilege and equity were negotiated be-
tween them, caused the Design Team to continually rethink
and redesign the SCA Project as it progressed. This resulted in
a stronger emphasis on infusing principles of cultural humility
throughout the project, including allocating resources to
repairing harm when microagressions or other evidence of
inequitable behavior on the part of external researchers sur-
faced (regardless of intention). It also included emphasizing a
strengths-based approach to capacity-building; supporting bi-
directional learning; and surfacing, naming and valorizing re-
search skills that community-based researchers possessed, but
that tended to be under-valued or under-appreciated due to
systemic research inequities and internalized research oppres-
sion, as described in the following sections.
Lesson Five: Scaffold Capacity Building
on Community Strengths and Bidirectional Learning
The SCA Project external researchers were charged with cre-
ating trainings and providing individualized technical assis-
tance to build the capacity of the community-based re-
searchers to execute their research projects. However, the pro-
jects overall approach was to link this learning to community
partnerspractitioner competencies and lived experiences in
ways that promoted Bacts of cognition, not transferals of
information,^as noted by Freire in his description of liberat-
ing education (Freire, 1970, p. 79). For the formally-trained
external researchers, this was challenging, as it required them
to move beyond simply de-coding jargon and rendering
esoteric concepts slightly more accessible, which is too often
the typical approach in training community partners. Rather, it
required them to scaffold new concepts and skills on top of
those that community-based researchers already had. In order
to do that, they needed to spend time building relationships
with community partners to learn more about their profession-
al and lived experiences, and then deliver training or technical
assistance components that were highly-individualized and
responsive to that particular community researcher team.
One example of this is the way in which Mujeres Unidas y
Activas (MUA) built upon their storytelling expertise to in-
form how they did their qualitative data collection. A core part
of MUAs work is facilitating groups and building their mem-
bersskills in telling their own stories, as part of their political
advocacy work. Thus, when MUAs Field Research team
(Juana, Maria, and teammate Maria Carrillo) chose qualitative
methods (a focus group and story circle) for their Field
Research project, many of the skills inherent to their practi-
tioner role, such as group facilitation and instilling confidence
in participants, were easily transferable. They also had a deep
rapport and inherent trust with their research participants, all
of whom were MUA members for at least a year, as well as
many shared life experiences and native language skills. For
participants who may have been immigrant Latina women,
their organization and team was known as a safe space for
disclosure, even at a time of escalating anti-immigrant and
racist targeting and discrimination, and fear of families being
separated or denied services. This combination of shared iden-
tity and practitioner expertise, along with their openness to
seeing results as an opportunity to grow and change, enabled
MUAs team to develop insightful research questions, elicit
rich narratives, and analyze and interpret the qualitative data
with a high degree of validity and trustworthiness.
Some topics were easier than others. For example, the
Design Team initially struggled with how to provide a training
on research ethics, which is typically quite dry, abstract, and
jargon-laden. One especially important concept that was nec-
essary to convey was about consent in research, which as-
sumes an ongoing process in which the participant can opt
out at any time without penalty or other negative conse-
quences, rather than a one-time static consent. Ultimately,
the team was able to frame it as analogous to consent in the
sexual assault/healthy relationships context, a concept with
which all of the community-based researchers were already
familiar through their work as practitioners in the domestic
violence field. Similarly, participants had a deep and intuitive
understanding about mandated reporting and confidentiality
protections described in the consent form, because these had
analogues to their work. Both their work and their lived expe-
riences as members of marginalized communities informed
their approach to infusing trauma-informed research processes
throughout the project, such as using embodiment and
grounding practices in their research sessions, and having
support staff like a counselor on-site to help participants man-
age any triggering or negative feelings.
A related concept was the bidirectional learning exchanged
between the external researchers and community partners. The
external researchers possessed valuable knowledge and skills
about research processes and methods, which they shared in
various formats with the community-based research teams. In
turn, the community-based researchers brought a plethora of
equally valuable research-related knowledge and skills to the
table, including expertise in the historical harms of research and
forms of research oppression. Unfortunately, despite their com-
mitment to cultural humility and research justice, the external
researchers still made errors that reflected some of those harms.
One such example was when two of the external researchers
were working with the DeafHope team on qualitative thematic
coding, and needed to be called in to learn lessons about lan-
guage justice related to Deaf communities and ASL. When the
DeafHope Field Research team (Amber, Aracelia, and Tara)
video-recorded their in-depth interviews with participants com-
municating in American Sign Language (ASL), their external
researchers assumed that the video recordings would be
interpreted and transcribed into English. However, they quickly
and gently reminded the external researchers that ASL is a
gestural/visual language and has no written form, and thus,
rendering ASL into a written form such as English requires
interpreting the original ASL statement, a process which, by
nature changes the original data. Exacerbating matters further
was the reality that research done in and on Deaf and signing
populations routinely uses this flawed approach. However, so
many variables in the interpretation process can severely im-
pact the quality of the data and therefore the findings. Were
appropriately qualified interpreters used? Did they use a Bcheck
interpreter^process to increase validity of the interpretation?
Did the Deaf research participant have some linguistic need that
required the expertise of a Certified Deaf Interpreter? Did the
Deaf participant alter their language use due to historic mistrust
of having quality interpretation? Researchers with cultural in-
telligence would analyze data directly from the original lan-
guage, ASL or otherwise, to preserve quality and accuracy.
The DeafHope team shared both academic literature, as well
as their own perspectives grounded in their lived experiences,
to convey that their process of data analysis must be carried out
through thematic coding of uninterpreted / untranscribed
videotaped interviews, and that collaborative research partners
must understand and respect the specific language conditions
for Deaf participants and researchers. Once the external re-
searchers understood that research conventions that rely upon
verbal or written English, rather than centering ASL, can be
oppressive, they were able to adjust their technical assistance
around thematic analysis and coding so it did not rely on text.
They also were able to think creatively with the DeafHope team
about how to use other visual components besides text to retain
more meaning, when presenting their findings to non-ASL
audiences. In this way, the DeafHope team learned some qual-
itative analysis techniques while the external researchers
learned about a form of research oppression they were unaware
of, and expanded their knowledge around qualitative analysis.
This focus on strengths-based capacity building and bidi-
rectional learning had an unintended but salutary effect, which
is that the external researchers began to pay very close atten-
tion to the different skills and attributes that the community-
based researchers possessed. In doing so, and through exten-
sive conversations with the community partners and observa-
tions of their research projects, they began to notice a pattern
in the skills that the community-based researchers brought to
the table.
Lesson Six: Value Community PartnersResearch
Skills: Recognizing Cultural Intelligence
Through their extensive interactions with the community-
based research teams, and shared reflections over the course
of the project, the external researchers noticed a core set of
skills and attributes that seemed to be a consistent thread run-
ning through all the community researcher teams, and which
appeared to generally enhance their research processes and
outcomes. For the sake of expediency, we have termed this
concept Bcultural intelligence,^although we recognize certain
problematic aspects of the term. For example, the manage-
ment literature has adopted this same term to refer to Ban
individuals capability to function and manage effectively in
culturally diverse settings^(Ang et al. 2007, p. 335; Earley
and Mosakowski 2004). The construct builds upon notions of
Bsocial intelligence^which focuses on Bcapabilities to grasp,
reason and behave effectively in situations characterized by
cultural diversity^(Ang et al. 2007, p. 337). While this article
uses a concept of the same name, it should not be confused
with that applied to the context of management.
In the context of the SCA Project, cultural intelligence is a
type of knowledge that is based upon lived experience within
a particular community setting as one identifying with that
community. It includes embeddedness and social positioning
within the community; deep knowledge of the communitys
culture, norms, priorities, history, and legacies of trauma; flu-
ency in the primary language(s) spoken by the community,
including jargon and slang; critical analysis of inequitable
and oppressive practices and structures, particularly as they
impact their community; emotional intelligence and empathy;
and shared identity and lived experiences with other commu-
nity members around the research topic of interest. It can also
include understanding and using modes of communication
and preserving meaning that are intrinsic to the community,
such as oral or narrative traditions, like creation stories.
What distinguished cultural intelligence as a concept with-
in the project was not only the frequency and consistency with
which it was observed, but the ways in which it manifested to
enhance the community-based research projects. These in-
cluded community-based researchers: 1) consistently intui-
tive understanding of which research questions are meaning-
ful and relevant to their community, including the appropriate
way to ask them; 2) authentic trust and strong rapport with
community research participants; 3) ease of understanding
and ability to navigate their communitys cultural context,
histories, signifiers and cultural beliefs; 4) recruitment strate-
gies that used novel methods and leveraged social positioning,
shared identity and trust to reach difficult-to-reach groups; 5)
rich interpretation and analysis of data consistent with the
meanings intended by community participants; 6) access to
community resources (e.g., community accessible spaces
and language accessible materials) that facilitated data collec-
tion and dissemination of findings; and 7) community-based
dissemination strategies and access to the communities that
most need the information.
Sikh Family Centers (SFC) story gives an example of how
embeddedness within the community can lead to access to
community institutions, as well as longer-term dissemination
and community mobilization activities that lead to positive
community and institutional changes. SFCs Field Research
team (Mallika and teammate Harmit Cheema) chose to exam-
ine, through focus groups and storytelling interviews, how
community-based interventions on family violence in the
Sikh community could be initiated or strengthened, particular-
ly in the context of community peer groups and gurdwaras
(Sikh faith centers). Through SFCs research, they repeatedly
heard how peergroups in the community often understand and
empathize with the concerns of survivors, but think them-
selves ill-equipped to intervene. Meanwhile, the institutions
of gurdwaras, meant to be places of community support and
refuge, were critiqued by research participants for not meet-
ing, or being perceived as unableto meet specific social needs,
particularly for women and survivors of violence. However,
because their organization has already been working in the
community for several years, they were able to identify sev-
eral situations in which they did successfully work together
with gurdwaras to support survivors, and think about how to
build on those as potential points of entry in the future, as well
as how to amplify positive stories, despite the confidential
nature of the work. SFCs embeddedness in the community
means that they both have a history on which they can poten-
tially build to improve services for survivors at personal and
institutional levels, as well as a commitment to staying in the
community to see that potential through. Further, they believe
their history of evidence-based research and reporting-back
statistics to the community, galvanizes further action by their
stakeholders and partners, as well as counters the
invisibilization often experienced by U.S.s half a million
Sikhs in general, and Sikh American survivors in particular.
Similarly, the field research done by KACEDA (Korean
American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse)/QYUL (Queer
and Trans Koreans Yearning for Unity and Liberation) dem-
onstrates how shared lived experiences and deep trust and
rapport withthe community can lead to a novel,robust recruit-
ment strategy and participants who were highly invested in the
research project. KACEDAs QYUL Workgroups Field
Research team (Hyejin) fielded a survey to a queer and trans
community that is stigmatized within an already marginalized
culturally-specific community. External researchers would
typically find recruiting participants from such a hidden group
incredibly challenging, and struggle to get the number of par-
ticipants that would be needed for statistically-significant find-
ings. Yet they were able to get over 150 respondents in an
incredibly short period of time, the first 100 in just a week.
Because they are members of the LGBTQ Korean American
community, they were able to leverage their familiarity with
LGBTQ networks to quickly create an innovative social
media-based snowball sampling dissemination strategy, ask-
ing questions that were both relevant to the community and
that used culturally appropriate wording. Sharing their own
stories highlighted the visibility of LGBTQ people within
the Korean American community and legitimized their re-
search effort as one that was initiated by and important to
the community. This degree of trust and investment in the
research by the respondents was only made possible because
their research team was perceived as trustworthy and part of
the community, themselves. Furthermore, the incredible level
of buy-in from respondents was likely due to participants
knowledge of their work and advocacy in the community,
instilling a sense of confidence that the depth and detail of
the stories that were shared would not just go into a research
void, but would have meaningful impact.
The sum of the culturally specific knowledge and experi-
ences of the community-based researchers in the context of
their whole lives as members of marginalized culturally specific
communities and in their experience as practitioners and or-
ganizers working with IPV survivors culminated in extraor-
dinarily robust, credible, and relevant research projects. Our
observation was that this success stemmed at least in part from
their intrinsic skills and knowledge, which strengthened their
ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data about communities
who are rarely, if ever, represented in the research literature.
An Exploratory Framework
for Community-Led Research
Moving from CBPR to CLR: Nine Key Elements
CBPR is an inherently flexible approach that contains a spec-
trum of possibilities for participatory research processes and
collaborations. Thus, it is not entirely clear to us whether the
framework we are proposing in this paper can be contained
within that spectrum, or is qualitatively different. However,
most of the members of the Design Team had at least some
experience and in some cases, extensive experience with
various permutations of CBPR, and concluded there was some-
thing in the subtle shift from communities Bparticipating^in
research, to leading it, that merited attention. In addition, al-
though CBPR doesnt preclude it, we havent yet become
aware of a research project that integrated all of the various
principles that were embedded in or evolved over the course
of the SCA Project. Yet, it was clear to us that each one of these
core components were integral to the success of the project,
particularly in the context of working with a diverse group of
historically marginalized communities. Thus, we offer this ex-
ploratory framework for community-led research (CLR) as a
starting point and perhaps roadmap for other researchers inter-
ested in pursuing this kind of collaboration.
The CLR framework weaves together principles that were
infused into the project from the beginning, as well as those that
came to the fore or evolved over the course of the project. It takes
account of the skills and attributes exhibited by the community-
based researchers as well as the external researchers. Based upon
the experience of the SCA Project, the CLR framework has nine
key elements: 1) centering those most impacted by the issue
being studied as the primary drivers and leaders of the research
project; 2) embedding language justice principles throughout the
project; 3) recognizing trauma and using trauma-informed re-
search practices that reinforce grounding, promote self-care,
and provide nurturing and safe spaces for participants; 4) ac-
knowledging and addressing the communitys history with re-
search and researchers, and especially any harms it may have
suffered as a result of that research; 5) establishing a set of co-
created principles and agreements that define and guide the re-
lationships between different partners in the research, and partic-
ularly between community and external partners, as well as be-
tween researchers and research participants; 6) maintaining a
high degree of autonomy for community-based researchers to
define, execute and contextualize their research; 7) Applying an
equity frame to collaborations between community and external
researchers; 8) scaffolding capacity building on community
strengths and bidirectional learning; and 9) recognizing and val-
uing cultural intelligence, or the community partners knowledge
rooted in shared norms, history, language, experience of ineq-
uities and oppression and shared identity and lived experience
with their community (see Table 4).
The field of IPV has long upheld the importance of fostering
more collaborations between researchers, practitioners, and
survivors, while recognizing that the gap between external
researchers and community-based stakeholders exists at least
partly due to tensions or at times even antagonism between
these groups (Edleson and Bible 1998; Mouradian et al. 2001;
Murray and Smith 2009). This gap may be even more pro-
nounced with historically marginalized communities, where
intersections of race, gender, class, immigration status, sexual
orientation, disability, religion and other identities contribute
to unique strengths, concerns and challenges that do not easily
conform to a Bone size fits all^approach (Sokoloff and
Dupont 2005). However, there is evidence that marginalized
communities have successfully engaged in research projects
that use participatory approaches and build equitable partner-
ships (Sullivan et al. 2005). Through our work on the SCA
Project, we learned that part of bridging this gap meant ac-
knowledging the harms that marginalized communities have
suffered from externally-led research processes, and applying
a research justice-oriented framework that supports
community-based researchers to lead the research process
from start to finish from design to data collection, through
to analysis and dissemination. It also meant pushing back
against a mainstream culture that privileges external re-
searchers; rather, we recognized the unique perspectives,
backgrounds, values, and experiences of community-based
researchers, along with the skills inherent to the way they do
their work, as a valuable collection of attributes what we
Table 4 Elements of an exploratory framework for community-led research
1Centering those most impacted by the issue being studied as primary drivers and leaders of the research
2Embedding language justice principles throughout the project
3 Recognizing trauma and using trauma-informed research practices that reinforce grounding, promote self-care, and provide nurturing and safe spaces
for participants
4Acknowledging and addressing the communityshistorywith research and researchers, and especially any harms suffered as a result of that research
5Establishingasetofco-created principles and agreements that define and guide the relationships between different partners in the research, and
particularly between community and external partners, as well as between researchers and research participants
6 Maintaining a high degree of autonomy for community-based researchers to define, execute and contextualize their research
7Applying an equity frame to collaborations between community and external researchers
8Scaffolding capacity building on community strengths and bidirectional learning
9Recognizing and valuing cultural intelligence, or the community partners knowledge rooted in shared norms, history, language, experience of
inequities and oppression and shared identity and lived experience with their community
referred to as cultural intelligence that enhance, rather than
hinder or bias, the research process and outcomes.
While the SCA project started with a CBPR approach as its
foundation, traditional CPBR approaches do not necessarily
integrate trauma-informed, language justice and research jus-
tice framing. Thus, applying those equity lenses, and the les-
sons learned over the course of the project as a result of that
application, started to illuminate components of a framework
that felt similar in some ways, but fundamentally different in
others, from what we have typically seen described as CBPR
what we came to call CLR. This exploratory CLR framework
answers the call from community members to lead, rather than
simply participate in, research processes, and integrates the
skills and experiences of both community-based and external
culturally responsive researchers in a way that led to a high
level of engagement, richer quality of data, more equitable
research processes, and innovative research projects.
There were several limitations relating to the design and im-
plementation of the SCA Project that could have an impact on
the concepts and recommendations presented in this paper.
While the SCA Project brought together a fairly diverse group
of culturally specific community partners, these community
partners were all based in California, and Asian groups tended
to be over-represented, reflecting the identities of the Design
Team and the work of the convening organization. Thus, it is
unclear whether the CLR framework would have broad appli-
cability or transferability to other culturally specific commu-
nities in other regions.
In addition, while we identified the core components of the
exploratory CLR framework based on the projectsextensive
documentation, as well as subsequent communications among
the co-authors, it is possible there are unidentified components
we are unaware of but that were essential to the projects
success. Conversely, it is also possible that there are compo-
nents identified in this paper that were critical to the projects
success in this specific implementation, but that would not be
necessary if implemented elsewhere. Among these unidenti-
fied components is the possibility of selection bias. The
Design Team invited many more community partners than
could or would participate; of those who attended the first
meeting, only about half proceeded to implement a research
project. This leaves open the strong possibility that this small
cohort possessed certain strengths and resources that facilitat-
ed their success within this CLR framework, but that might
not be common to other potential participants. Hence, CLR
along with cultural intelligence as it applies to CLR should
be further investigated to determine the exploratory frame-
works applicability in a multiplicity of settings and/or with
different configurations of communities.
Lastly, the SCA Project was very time- and resource-inten-
sive. The project employed extensive interpretation and trans-
lation resources in Spanish and interpretation in ASL, profes-
sional services that generally require considerable financial
resources. Resources were also available for travel to in-
person gatherings that facilitated rich and diverse shared learn-
ing and also helped bring cohesion to the project. The extent to
which CLR components are feasible or adaptable in projects
with fewer resources remains to be seen.
This case study has potentially far-reaching implications for
policy and practice in the areas of research, program design,
and service delivery. The structural inequities surfaced in the
SCA Project through the application of principles related to
trauma-informed care, research justice, and language justice
suggest that a more thorough examination of research projects
involving historically marginalized communities is warranted.
Community partners in the SCA Project overwhelmingly de-
scribed a profound lack of trust characterizing the relationship
between community members in historically marginalized
communities and external researchers, stemming from many
historical and contemporary examples in which communities
have been harmed by mainstream research processes and ex-
ternal researchers. It is apparent that this marred relationship
could contribute to questionable research findings and out-
comes by external researchers who are unaware of, or exacer-
bate, the harms done to the communities being studied.
These questions are inextricably tied to both inequities in
education access and issues relating to academic privilege: cur-
rently, only those with formal academic training are deemed
Bqualified^to conduct research, as is evidenced by what is re-
quired for research projects of any size to get any kind of main-
stream research funding. This disadvantages marginalized com-
munities, who not only face barriers to accessing education, but
also find the skills and expertise they develop outside of academ-
ic settings to be devalued. Further, this connects to a need to more
deeply explore the professionalization of the IPV field, and to
examine the notion that a certain level of educational attainment
is a necessary qualification for certain work.
Engaging marginalized communities, not just as mere par-
ticipants in research endeavors, but as leaders and drivers of
said research, can result in the expansion of a rich array of
findings from and about groups that have historically been
underrepresented in the research literature, thereby enriching
the field; can address gaps in representation in the researcher
community; and can create pathways to access traditionally
hard-to-reach communities. Finally, research projects using a
CLR framework can potentially inform prevention and inter-
vention efforts to address IPV and other pervasive forms of
harm in marginalized communities in a more targeted way that
can more effectively reach those most impacted.
Acknowledgements The SCA Project was supported by Grant Number
90EV0430 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families,
Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services; the Blue Shield of California Foundation; and the
NoVo Foundation. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of any of the
abovementioned entities. We are grateful to and acknowledge the contri-
butions of Trilce Santana and Florencia Manovil Spanish-English inter-
preters and translators and members of a Bay Area language justice col-
lective who worked with us extensively throughout the SCA project,
and who first introducedus to the term and concept ofBlanguage justice.^
Lastly, a special thank you to API-GBV staff member, Biney Kaur Dev,
who contributed much to the preparation of this manuscript and to the
SCA Project overall.
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... As outlined in the literature above, increasing opportunities for participants to contribute to the design and implementation of research greatly strengthens and grounds the research (Wallerstein & Duran, 2017). The literature also outlines that to do this e7ectively and responsively for IPV survivors and other vulnerable populations, the participatory approaches must be survivorcentered and trauma-informed (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). ...
... Bidirectional learning involves the mutual exchange of knowledge between academic and community partners. It is a critical component of participatory approaches due to the neglected and oft-dismissed expertise of community partners -a result of structural oppression embedded within traditional research methods (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). Thus, participatory methods require that opportunities be established for both parties to learn from one another (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018;Goodman et al., 2017). ...
... It is a critical component of participatory approaches due to the neglected and oft-dismissed expertise of community partners -a result of structural oppression embedded within traditional research methods (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). Thus, participatory methods require that opportunities be established for both parties to learn from one another (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018;Goodman et al., 2017). Many examples of bidirectional learning in our process have been mentioned above. ...
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Participatory research methods increase the quality and relevance of a study and are a key element of community practice. However, participatory methods can be di8cult to employ at the outset of a research study with vulnerable, hard-to-reach populations. Intimate partner violence survivors are a particularly vulnerable population who are at increased risk of experiencing abuse-related trauma and have distinct safety-related needs. In order to engage survivor populations, researchers can employ survivor-centered, trauma-informed approaches to build trust and develop relationships that facilitate increased engagement in the research process over time. This paper outlines the methods and strategies that academic partners used to establish, increase, and maintain participatory engagement with women who experienced harm by intimate partners. The process began with a community-based, qualitative needs assessment study for survivors whose partners were in a relationship violence intervention program. In addition to responding to speci9c aims, this study simultaneously helped to create a pool of potential collaborators. Academic partners used member checking to establish trustworthiness of the study 9ndings and introduce the participants to the concepts of participatory engagement. Next, researchers established an advisory group to develop practice recommendations, which ultimately led to academic and community partners co-designing a community-based dissemination project. We discuss successes and tensions inherent in the engagement process, important lessons learned, and provide recommendations for future community practice.
... For example, researchers may provide police agencies or other criminal justice practitioners with access to novel tools and strategies (Hansen et al., 2014). Researchers are likewise encouraged to approach collaborations as an opportunity to provide training to community partners designed to address systemic inequities through efforts such as capacity-and skill-building training (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). This type of training contributes to practitioners' understanding of the vocabulary and frames of references used by the researchers (Murray et al., 2015). ...
... A foundation in mutual respect may help partners to overcome such hurdles (Witteman et al., 2018). In addition, researchers seeking to engage in community-based research must actively listen and acknowledge prior harms that participants and their communities may have experienced from their involvement with prior research if they seek to encourage trust (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). ...
... It additionally creates an opportunity to facilitate good communication across the partnership, which is key to establishing and keeping trust (Murray et al., 2015;Sullivan et al., 2017;Witteman et al., 2018). In addition, throughout any project that evolves from a partnership, researchers should recognize practitioners' autonomy and expertise and be open to modification of their preferred methods (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018;Sullivan et al., 2017). This incorporates the principle of "reflexivity," which instructs researchers to evaluate themselves and their methods based on input from practitioners. ...
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an insidious public health concern that affects people of all demographic backgrounds. In the city of Cincinnati, Ohio there has been a significant increase in IPV-related homicides over the past 5 years. Women Helping Women (WHW), a nonprofit organization that works to prevent gender-based violence, collaborated with Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) to create the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT). Researchers from the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice were invited to work with WHW to evaluate the program. This article discusses the history of the DVERT program and collaboration, obstacles that ensued, lessons learned, and successes of the relationship between the researchers, WHW, and CPD. Implications for other researchers and practitioners looking to form partnerships are discussed.
... 1479). In recent years, some interpersonal violence researchers (e.g., Ghanbarpour et al., 2018;Wojcik et al., 2021) have contributed articles to the literature that outline lessons learned in specific researcher-practitioner case studies that may be useful to researchers pursuing similar partnerships. While these articles are less prescriptive than the aforementioned guides, providing the kind of nuanced examples of PAR principles in action that can perhaps best be attained from rich reflective personal narratives, they are specific to only one project and not to a researcher's experience as a whole. ...
Promising community-level approaches to addressing interpersonal violence have increased in popularity over the last few decades. However, the shift towards community-based research has not necessarily extended to all graduate program pedagogies, especially given the range of disciplines from which researchers of interpersonal violence hail. Coupled with the fact that many new doctorates relocate to unfamiliar communities to secure their tenure-track positions, junior faculty may find the task of forming and maintaining rewarding community partnerships to be daunting at best. This article focuses on the process of embarking on community-based research as a new faculty member within a new community. In this article, three tenure-track assistant professors of a psychology department within an urban, Midwestern-based university reflected on their own experiences establishing community-based research collaborations after relocating for their positions. Personal narratives focused on experienced challenges and successes related to building mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations of relevance to addressing interpersonal violence (e.g., victim response services, healthcare providers, school systems) were written. Individual narratives were then compiled and six overarching themes (i.e., establishing initial connections, messaging and marketing one’s research to gain buy-in, overcoming misperceptions and distrust, maintaining relationships as an external partner, conducting research with community organizations, balancing community-based research and academic demands) related to challenges and multiple associated strategies and lessons learned were identified. Implications of this article for researchers of interpersonal violence who are building careers in a new community are discussed. Some of these implications include the need for increased mentorship, trainings and resources that are specifically targeted to junior faculty’s unique needs, and changes to departmental and college level infrastructures that better support and reward community-based research.
... There is a need for research that illuminates the experiences of student activists who are survivors of sexual violence research. Research in similar fields suggests that the most fruitful research involves power-sharing between researchers and participants and as such is collaborative and conducted in coalition with activists throughout the process (see, for example, Ragavan et al., 2020;Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). In this way, new knowledge that is generated and any resulting policy change is informed by robust evidence, based on experience. ...
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Objective: This systematic literature review maps the landscape of higher education and student sexual violence survivors who become involved in sexual violence activism. It was undertaken to understand what drives student sexual violence survivors to become activists, the negative and positive impacts of this activism on the students, how higher education institutions might work with sexual violence activists to foster effective prevention and response, and how activism has been negotiated by and within practice, policy and research. Method: A qualitative evidence synthesis methodology was used to identify research which examines drivers to and consequences of sexual violence activism for student activists. Searches across seven databases were conducted using six keywords combined in various ways, with further inclusion criteria of published in English between 2010 and 2020. Searches of grey literature were also carried out. Results: 28 sources met the inclusion criteria. Thematic analysis, conducted in NVivo, resulted in identification of four themes: survival from harm, community, labour in the personal made public and power between activists and institutions. Conclusions/Recommendations/Limitations: Inadequate institutional response was a key driver of student sexual violence activism. Activism had positive and negative impacts on the activists. Recommendations are that activists, institutions, researchers and policy makers work as coalitions to bring about enduring cultural change. Review limitations were the small number of studies in this field; additionally, they were dominated by US and UK perspectives.
... or 'I will stop and check my question sheet every so often, to keep myself on track') Discuss your approach to distress with the participant prior and consider offering a nonverbal cue fi they want to pause (e.g. 'emotions are welcome during the interview, If you do get upset and want to take a break, you can hold up your hand or let me know') Re-iterate who will have access to any recording or transcripts Ghanbarpour et al. (2018) suggests that even in design, TI research needs to disrupt structural inequities in typical mainstream research processes, which can cause harm to marginalized communities. This requires careful consideration of why research is being undertaken, who undertakes it, who participates and whom it may benefit. ...
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Mental health nurses who engage in research are likely to undertake research on sensitive topics, related to experiences of illness, care delivery and treatment. With recognition of the high prevalence of trauma in the lives of people who interact with mental health services, it is likely that many research participants will have experienced trauma in their lives and that while this may not be the focus of the research, sensitivity and awareness are required. Reference to ‘trauma-informed’ approaches in research design and practice is emerging in fields such as trauma-focused research and social sciences; however, it has not yet been applied to nurses. Trauma-informed approaches can build upon existing ethical and methodological frameworks to inform how mental health nurses go about qualitative research and what they need to consider when doing so. This discursive paper explores some of the implications of awareness and sensitivity to trauma for research undertaken by mental health nurses, including practical and methodological considerations. Recommendations include training and structural supports for nurse researchers, collaborative research designs, consideration of the environments where research occurs, awareness of approaches to distress and inclusion of trauma sensitivity within research policies, frameworks and leadership, alongside vigilance to interpersonal approach and the establishment and protection of psychological safety throughout. Continuing to undertake research on topics, and with people, where trauma is present, is essential to ensure ongoing awareness. Many of the existing skills held by mental health nurses can also support research to be undertaken in trauma-informed ways.
... Recent research indicates survivors' needs for more economic supports focused on employment, housing, flexible funding and childcare, as well as needs for more culturally specific services which can highlight the protective strengths of culture identities and address systemic forms of discrimination (Burman et al., 2004;Gillum, 2009;Ragavan et al, 2018). In addition, for marginalized groups, DV occurs in tandem with structural oppression that often limits access to needed resources after violence (Ghanbarpour et al., 2018). While increased perception of respect for cultural background was not significantly associated with needs met, social support or physical health, future studies should explore the impact of microaggressions, racial injustice, white privilege, and staff diversity in DV program outcomes (Donnelly, et al., 2005;Nnawulezi & Sullivan, 2014). ...
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Survivors of domestic violence (DV) have a wide range of needs when they seek help from DV programs. While there is growing evidence that advocacy and other supportive services for DV survivors are helpful for increasing wellbeing, little is known about the mechanisms that best promote these goals. This study sought to further understand the role of survivor advocacy and service duration on survivors’ physical and mental health, safety, and needs. Structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 150 women recruited from 16 DV programs across seven regions in a southwestern state. Independent variables included overall service duration, time with advocate, and feelings of connection with advocate. Bivariate and regression analyses were conducted to test associations of the advocate-survivor relationship and length of time in services with physical, social, and psychological outcomes. The majority (75.8%) of survivors indicated decreases in abuse since obtaining services. Frequent needs included housing, counseling, and safety planning. Regression analysis indicates longer service duration and increased connection with an advocate were significantly associated with a greater number of survivor needs being met. No other independent variables were significant in regression models, but several covariates reached significance. This study adds to the growing and needed body of literature on survivors’ experiences with DV services and associated outcomes. Advocates should prioritize connecting with clients in favor of a priori service goals based on time limits. Further study can be used to better understand health outcomes for survivors.
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Community based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships simultaneously increase knowledge and community well-being. Despite the growing number of long-term (as opposed to project-specific) CBPR partnerships, research has yet to sufficiently explore factors that contribute to their success and sustainability over time. This study investigated this question by exploring the perceived benefits, barriers, and facilitators of participation in one long-term CBPR partnership, with particular attention to the role of power. Fifteen members and non-members of a CBPR partnership were interviewed, and data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Interviewees discussed the value of involvement in the partnership, including strong relationships, honest discussion of power dynamics, mutual learning, and capacity building. Barriers and facilitators to involvement included access factors (ability to be involved) and participation factors (desire to be involved.) Attention to power dynamics was an important benefit for members, yet culturally-specific organizations faced unique barriers to participation. The findings of this study suggest that future long-term CBPR partnerships should prioritize addressing inequitable logistical barriers to participation, discussing power dynamics and power-sharing, and “centering the margins” by focusing on the needs and interests of culturally-specific organizations.
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Person-centred approaches, such as latent class (LCA) and latent profile (LPA) analyses, aid the identification of sub-groups within sample populations. These methods can identify patterns of co-occurrence between different forms of intimate partner violence (IPV), providing valuable information for prevention and intervention efforts. The aim of this systematic review was to yield a summary and conduct a critical evaluation of the current research that utilises LCA/LPA to investigate IPV victimisation profiles. We provide an outline of 14 relevant studies, retrieved from searches conducted on PsycInfo, Scopus, and Eric databases. There was a large amount of variability in relation to the forms of IPV assessed, measures utilised, number of classes identified, and the sample populations recruited. However, broad similarities were revealed as there were some commonly identified classes, including the no/low violence class, the physical and psychological victimisation class, and the multiple victimisation class, yet the labels assigned to those classes differed across studies. A range of external criteria (risk factors and consequences) were also identified as being associated with class membership. We highlight methodological features which may have impacted data collection and class enumeration, including the differences in sample population, the range of IPV indicators assessed, the time period from which IPV data was recorded, and whether data was collected regarding participants’ current or previous relationships. Marginalised populations were underrepresented, and psychological abuse was most inconsistently operationalised. Recommendations for future research are provided, including recommendations with regards to labelling the classes for greater consistency across studies.
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Objective: To identify recommendations for conducting public health research with trauma-exposed populations. Methods: Researchers searched Embase, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Open Grey, and Google Scholar for recommendations. Trauma that causes psychological impact was our exposure of interest and we excluded clinical articles on treating physical trauma. We reviewed titles and abstracts of 8,070 articles and full text of 300 articles. We analyzed recommendations with thematic analysis, generated questions from the existing pool of recommendations, and then summarized select gaps. Results: We abstracted recommendations from 145 articles in five categories: community benefit, participant benefit, safety, researcher well-being, and recommendations for conduct of trauma research. Conclusions: Gold standards to guide the conduct of trauma-informed public health research do not yet exist. The literature suggests participation in trauma research is not inherently harmful, and current recommendations concern using research to benefit communities and participants, protecting participants and researchers from harm, and improving professional practice. As public health researchers increasingly analyze trauma as a determinant of health, gold standards for the conduct of trauma-informed public health research would be appropriate and timely.
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Evaluation interconnects with myriad social needs and must be responsive to diverse, intersecting identities and experiences, including language. Over 25 million people in the United States speak English less than “very well,” according to the U.S. Census. Many are from marginalized communities that face multiple forms of oppression, including racism, xenophobia, and linguicism. We propose an evaluation framework grounded in language justice—simply defined as the right to communicate in the language in which one feels most comfortable. This right is threatened by structural inequities that include unexamined and exclusionary evaluation practices. Our chapter discusses language equity and oppression, and distinguishes between language access and language justice. We also explore definitions and principles of language justice and assert its special salience for practitioners of Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation. Finally, we provide guidance on integrating a language justice framework into common evaluation practices, with a particular emphasis on participatory methodologies.
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Objective: Community-based domestic violence (DV) organizations require an adapted model for demonstrating how their strategies fit evidence-based practice (EBP). In response, a national DV resource center Casa de Esperanza adapted an EBP model called the community-centered evidence-based practice (CCEBP) approach. CCEBP offers an expanded definition of EBP that prioritizes culturally relevant evidence grounded in the voices of community members. The authors use Te Invito (I Invite You), a DV prevention initiative, as an illustrative example of how CCEBP can successfully guide practitioners to collect and apply community-related evidence in their work. Key points: The CCEBP approach addresses the lack of a practice model consistent with the work of cultural-specific, community-based practitioners. By expanding traditional models of EBP to prioritize community expertise, it provides an alternative understanding of what is considered EBP in the field of DV. Conclusions: The CCEBP approach offers an enhanced EBP model for community-based organizations working alongside Latina/o and other cultural-specific communities. The focus on community within the CCEBP approach can protect against the indiscriminate application of practice ill-fitting to the needs of Latino/a families and other diverse groups.
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The benefits of researcher–practitioner (R-P) collaborations focused on violence against women (VAW) are many. Such projects support researchers and practitioners working together to create uniquely comprehensive projects that have the potential to change practices, policies, and services. Extant literature is limited in that it has (a) focused on the experiences of a very limited number of collaborations, (b) ignored collaborations conducted in the context of the criminal justice system, and (c) excluded as a focus the products that result from the collaborations and their dissemination. Therefore, the goal of this qualitative study is to identify the essential elements to consider for successful R-P collaborations on VAW research in the criminal justice system.
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Although the idea of empowerment lies at the heart of the anti-domestic violence movement, consensus on the defining characteristics of this construct have remained elusive. A clear and consistent definition of empowerment would promote the development of common metrics for research and evaluation, and guide the development of best practices. In this article, we describe specific challenges that have made the conceptualization of empowerment difficult. We then overview the Empowerment Process Model, and describe the ways in which it addresses those challenges. This model articulates empowerment as a meaningful shift in the experience of power attained through interaction in the social world, and describes the process of building empowerment as an iterative one, in which a person takes action toward personally meaningful goals; draws on community supports, skill, knowledge, and self-efficacy to move toward those goals; and observes the extent to which those actions result in progress. By incorporating both process and outcome dimensions, bridging the psychological and contextual realms, and allowing for domain specificity, the model addresses challenges to a clear conceptualization; and provides a common framework that may be used as a reference point for practitioners and researchers wishing to apply the construct. We conclude with suggestions for and examples of its application in research and practice.
The third edition of Community Organizing and Community Building for Healthand Welfare provides new and more established ways to approach community building and organizing, from collaborating with communities on assessment and issue selection to using the power of coalition building, media advocacy, and social media to enhance the effectiveness of such work. With a strong emphasis on cultural relevance and humility, this collection offers a wealth of case studies in areas ranging from childhood obesity to immigrant worker rights to health care reform. A "tool kit" of appendixes includes guidelines for assessing coalition effectiveness, exercises for critical reflection on our own power and privilege, and training tools such as "policy bingo." From former organizer and now President Barack Obama to academics and professionals in the fields of public health, social work, urban planning, and community psychology, the book offers a comprehensive vision and on-the-ground examples of the many ways community building and organizing can help us address some of the most intractable health and social problems of our times.
Objectives: This commentary seeks to highlight the benefits of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and promote its use in the violence field. Community perspectives remain underrepresented in the CBPR literature despite the emphasis on equitable partnerships and shared ownership in the research process. Method: Informal interviews were conducted with 10 community partners to understand their perspectives on using and participating in research. Results: Several recommendations for strengthening academic-community research partnerships emerged from the community partners' responses. They were: (a) conduct research that is useful to communities, with a focus on evidence-based practices and cost-benefit analyses; (b) involve community partners early in the development of research questions to ensure that local needs are addressed; (c) engage in frequent and open communication and maintain transparency about research goals and roles and responsibilities of each partner; (d) provide benefits to communities during the research process to promote professional development and build capacity; and (e) disseminate findings quickly, using outlets accessible to communities, and translate into strategies for practice. Conclusion: Although the recommendations require significant investments of time and resources by all partners, use of CBPR can contribute to increased development of innovative and sustainable violence prevention programs, services, and policies that are uniquely informed by scientific evidence and community expertise. By emphasizing partnerships with communities, CBPR helps to reduce the gap between research and practice and facilitates the inclusion of community strengths and resilience as valuable components of violence prevention and intervention.
Minorities still less likely to win biomedical funding.
Although some scholars recognize community empowerment as a desired outcome of the participatory research process, the power dynamics that shape the process and outcomes of research partnerships are rarely explicitly addressed in appraising partnership success. Participatory research is often portrayed as a means of building community power because it involves those most affected by the issues being researched in the decisions that guide the process of producing knowledge. This article explores how questions of power and privilege have played out in a long-term partnership between a nonprofit research institute and a community-based organization to document environmental and health conditions in West Oakland, CA. After over a decade of working together, a series of one-on-one and group dialogues among partners explored power dynamics both internal and external to the partnership, and generated shared analysis to inform future collaborations. Internal power dynamics refer to how differentials in power and privilege across partners manifest in joint work, such as asymmetries in educational credentialing, recognition, and reward incentive structures within and across partner organizations. External power and privilege dynamics refer to how differentials in power between the partnership and target audiences manifest in joint work, such as asymmetries in access to financial resources and credibility with decision makers. The shared analysis generated by partners links internal and external power dynamics to create a deeper understanding of the “ripple effects” of these dynamics across the process and outcomes of the partnership.
The paper argues that policies relating to Sign Language Peoples (SLPs) in the UK are based on an assumption that they are a disability rather than a minority language formation. Consequently, they deliver unsatisfactory outcomes which struggle to reduce linguistic exclusion. Multicultural policies incorporating SLPs' perspectives would offer greater synergy between policy theories and SLPs' lived experience. More specifically, democratisation of the policy formulation process could deliver greater social justice for SLPs. Looking forward, the power of transnational networks to provoke national policy change offers a possible way of breaking through existing UK discourse barriers to more democratic SLP-led policy formulation.