Episode 19

Published on:

22nd Sep 2022

Dr Jade Levell - Boys, Domestic Abuse and Gang Involvement: Eliciting Men’s Stories Through Music

What impact does domestic abuse have on boys when growing up? Why is it that so many young men who are ‘on-road’ or involved in gangs have experienced domestic abuse in the home as children? If the boundaries between being a ‘perpetrator’ and a ‘victim’ of violence are not always as clear cut as we might think, what implications does this have for trying to prevent violence from happening in the first place? We explore these challenging questions and more with Dr Jade Levell, who has recently written a book on her research entitled ‘Boys, Childhood Domestic Abuse and Gang Involvement: Violence at Home, Violence On-Road’, published by Bristol University Press in June 2022.

Jade is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Gender Violence at the University of Bristol, and is part of the Gender and Violence Research Centre there. Prior to her research career she was based for over ten years in organisations working to end gender-based violence, including a refuge for women and children, a rape crisis centre, and other projects supporting survivors.

Find out more about Jade’s work at https://jadelevell.com. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JadeLevell, and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-jade-levell-88099830/. Buy her book: https://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/boys-childhood-domestic-abuse-and-gang-involvement

We cover the following topics in the episode: 

  • The impacts domestic abuse has on boys (01:17 - 02:56)
  • What childhood domestic abuse and gang involvement have to do with each other (02:56 - 11:33)
  • What Raewyn Connell’s concept of ‘protest masculinity’ means and how it was relevant in Jade’s research (11:33 - 14:56)
  • Why and how Jade uses ‘music elicitation’ in her work (14:56 - 18:41)
  • Why when talking about serious youth violence, we rarely think about gender (18:41 - 21:37)
  • The implications of Jade’s research for policy and practice on preventing violence (21:37 - 24:44)
  • The ‘cycle of violence’ theory (24:44 - 28:00)
  • The police killing of Chris Kaba and the impacts of stereotypes about young Black men (28:00 - 32:12)
  • Why Jade decided to carry out research on domestic abuse and boys and men in the first place (32:12 - 36:54)
  • Researching these issues as a parent (36:54 - 40:16)
  • What effective work with domestic abuse perpetrators looks like (40:16 - 49:25)
  • Three songs which help to tell Jade’s own life story (49:25 - 53:13)

Further reading:

For domestic abuse support in the UK, contact the National Helpline: https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk, the Men’s Advice Line: https://mensadviceline.org.uk, or the Respect Phoneline if you’re concerned about your own behaviour: https://respectphoneline.org.uk

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About the Podcast

Now and Men
Current conversations about men's lives
What's it like to be a man in the 21st century? How are feminist issues relevant to men and boys? How can we engage in productive conversations about gender equality? These questions are being discussed more than ever.

Our monthly podcast delves into these issues with experts such as practitioners, activists and academics. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth conversations about a wide-range of topics connected to masculinity and the lives of men and boys, such as preventing gender-based violence, promoting active fatherhood, and supporting men's health.

The podcast is hosted by two social science researchers, based on the opposite sides of the world: Sandy Ruxton from Durham University's Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (UK) and Dr Stephen Burrell from the University of Melbourne (Australia). If you would like to give us your feedback, suggest a guest, or have a question you'd like us to discuss, get in touch at nowandmen@gmail.com. And if you like what we do, please share us with your friends, and leave a review on Apple podcasts!

About your hosts

Stephen Burrell

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I am a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where I moved to at the beginning of 2024. My research is about men, masculinities and violence. I am particularly interested in the prevention of men's violence against women, building gender equality, addressing environmental harm, and promoting an ethic of care among men and boys. In my spare time I'm a big fan of drinking tea, being in nature, eating vegan ice cream, and listening to heavy metal music. I'm also a trustee for White Ribbon UK.

Sandy Ruxton

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Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University (UK). Independent researcher, expert on men and masculinities. Previous policy work on human rights, children and families, poverty and social exclusion, and asylum and migration. Programme experience with boys and young men in schools, community, and prisons. Steering Committee member, MenEngage Europe. Volunteer for OX4 Food Crew. Chess-player, bike-rider, tree-hugger. Great grandfather edited Boy's Own Paper, but was sacked.