Children with multiple stays at refuges for abused women and their experiences of teacher recognition


Numerous children around the world are forced to make multiple moves with their mothers in and out of refuges for abused women. Each time, they experience a sudden upheaval of their familiar environment. For these children, domestic violence and flight from violence is not an isolated event but part of their upbringing. Few statistics and little research exist on their living conditions and experiences. This article adopts the children’s perspective, examining the ways their teachers recognize their situation and offer them support. Experiences were collected in qualitative interviews with 20 children of ages 6–16 residing at Norwegian refuges. The choice of “mutual recognition” (Schibbye 2009) as a theoretical framework was inductively generated from the data. The constructivist grounded theory coding system was implemented as a data analysis method (Charmaz 2014). The analysis produced five different forms of teacher recognition—formal, practical, third-party, forced, and coincidental—through which teachers offered children various forms of support.

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Thanks to Erik Skaalvik for guiding comments. Special thanks to Anne Solberg for her great support and constructive comments on different versions of this article. Thanks to Extrastiftelsen for funding this research (Grant number: 2012/2/0246).

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Correspondence to Sabreen Selvik.

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Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Sabreen Selvik. Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS), C/O NKVTS/P.b 181 Nydalen/0409, Oslo, Norway. Department of Education, University of Bergen, Postboks 7807, 5020 Bergen, Norway. E-mail:

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This research was conducted at the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS).

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Selvik, S., Raaheim, A. & Øverlien, C. Children with multiple stays at refuges for abused women and their experiences of teacher recognition. Eur J Psychol Educ 32, 463–481 (2017).

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  • Recognition
  • Domestic violence
  • School
  • Teacher
  • Children