Violent conflict, political settlement and intimate partner violence: Lessons from Northern Ireland

Monica McWilliams, Jessica Doyle

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global phenomenon, but it is shaped by the socio-political and cultural factors that exist within a given society. A key factor shaping IPV is the presence of violent conflict, although empirical research on the precise ways in which IPV and conflict connect has been scarce. Drawing on a Northern Ireland case study, this briefing paper seeks to address this gap by investigating how the transition from violent conflict to peaceful political settlement has shaped experiences of and responses to IPV. More specifically, the research investigates changes across three key areas, namely policing, paramilitarism and firearms. It does so on the basis of findings from more than 100 in-depth semi-structured interviews with women victims of IPV from across Northern Ireland conducted at two junctures; first in 1992 during a period of protracted violent conflict, and more recently in 2016 at a time of enduring peace. The findings trace the changes that have occurred across each of these areas and highlight the problems that remain in the post-conflict environment. The policy implications of these findings for political settlements are outlined below. The research contributes to better understanding of how IPV shapes women’s participation in peace processes, and how peace processes can re-shape violence beyond the conflict in ways that enable the fuller participation of women.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2017


  • Intimate partner violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Armed conflict
  • Violence Against Women
  • Political Settlements
  • Conflict
  • Post-Conflict
  • Peace Agreement
  • Gender-Based Violence


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