Negotiating agency in cases of intimate partner violence in Vietnam.Glob Public Health. 2016; 11(1-2):34-47.GP
Understandings of women's agency in cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) have been dominated by an individualistic focus on help-seeking behaviour. The role of children in influencing, enabling and restricting the decision-making processes of their mothers has been largely ignored. We adopt biographical analytical approaches to qualitative longitudinal data collected as part of the Young Lives study to highlight the interdependency of women's and children's agency in contexts of IPV in Vietnam. We illustrate how women's agency is both enabled and constrained by their relationships with their children, as well as by wider structural processes, and examine how gender and generation intersect. In marginalised settings where few formal services exist or strong social norms preclude women from accessing support, understanding these informal coping strategies and the processes by which these are negotiated is essential for developing more effective policy responses.