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Social Sciences

The Understanding, Construction and Representation of Trauma in Legal Proceedings

1 September 2016 - 31 August 2019

PI/s in Exeter: Dr Natalie Ohana

Funding awarded: £ 249,880

Sponsor(s): British Academy

About the research

Fellowship for Dr Natalie Ohana-Eavry

Mentor - Professor Anne Barlow

My research will be the first comprehensive examination of the adaptability of legal proceedings to people who experienced trauma. It will examine whether a significant gap can be located between the experience of trauma and its representation in legal proceedings, arguing that such a gap can be crucial to the ability to provide effective and responsive legal remedies to people who suffer trauma, and explore whether this gap, if located, is reducible.

In my reading of leading texts in trauma-studies I have found three foundational characteristics of trauma that stand in potential tension with the manners by which trauma is represented in legal proceedings: the adaptability of legal mediums available for the representation of trauma; the legal evaluation of harm caused by trauma; and the evaluation of the evidential weight that should be given to testimonies on trauma. I intend to analyse these tensions through examining a case study by working directly with women in domestic violence refuges and integrating an art based research method as part of my methodology.