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The use of ‘empowerment’ among organisations supporting victims of domestic violence in Sweden

  • Sara Helmersson
  • Håkan Jönson
Publiceringsår: 2015
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 51-64
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Social Work
Volym: 18
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Routledge Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

The aim of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and character of ‘empowerment’ as an approach used by women’s shelters, crime victim support groups and municipal crisis centres that provide support for battered women in Sweden. The study was based on a mail survey distributed among representatives of local crime victim support

groups and women’s shelters run by non-governmental organisations and the public sector (N = 207). The survey showed that empowerment was perceived as similar to the already established ‘help to self-help’ approach. Empowerment was described as a tool for individual change rather than collective action, although links to powersensitivity

and social change did appear in some answers. Contrary to expectations, the use of empowerment was not accompanied by comments on problematic power relations and difficulties in merging a non-directive approach with professional responsibilities. Using neo-institutional theory, results were interpreted in relation to

established work-patterns and problems that empowerment was perceived to solve.


  • Social Work
  • help to self-help
  • empowerment
  • violence against women
  • women’s shelters
  • policy translation
  • victim support


  • ISSN: 1369-1457
Sara Helmersson. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: sara [dot] helmersson [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se




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