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Learning domestic violence interagency work: enacting “practice multiple”

Sarah Stewart (Centre for Research in Learning and Change, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 8 September 2014




This paper aims to shed light on the complex multiplicity of domestic violence interagency work. It proposes a new conceptualisation that reflects the entangled nature of professional practice and learning.


The research on which this paper draws is an ethnographic study of practice in an integrated local domestic violence initiative. Data include focussed workplace observations, semi-structured interviews and key documents. The study draws on practice-based sociomaterial approaches and the conceptual framework, and methodology is informed by actor-network theory, in particular, the work of Annemarie Mol.


Findings suggest that interagency work that starts from the victim and traces threads of connection outwards is able to “hang together” as “practice multiple” in integrated service provision. I argue that the learning that happens in these circumstances is a relational effect and depends on who and what is assembled in the actor-network.

Research limitations/implications

The research has significant implications for framing understandings of domestic violence interagency work, as it firmly anchors “working together” to victims. Findings are expected to be of interest not only to practitioners, educators and researchers but also to policymakers.


The paper addresses a current gap in the literature, applies a novel research approach and proposes a new conceptualisation of domestic violence interagency work.



This paper was based on one originally presented at the 8th International Researching Work & Learning conference held at the University of Stirling, Scotland, in June 2013. The author would like to acknowledge the valuable comments provided by the anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of the paper, as well as the ongoing support and feedback of the author's doctoral supervisors, Dr Ann Reich and Dr Nick Hopwood.


Stewart, S. (2014), "Learning domestic violence interagency work: enacting “practice multiple”", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 26 No. 6/7, pp. 432-443.



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