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Adrienne Everest

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Voices from the family violence landscape: Gifts of experiences, understandings and insights from the heart of the sector

Ms Everest applied a systemic lens to family violence responses in Aotearoa New Zealand, gathering insights from experienced frontline workers. She found evidence of abusive societal conditions that enabled family violence to continue. The voices of children experiencing family violence could be silenced, and adults experienced barriers in seeking help. The research also highlighted the presence of “empire builders” who built parts of the system that were disconnected from the needs of families and wh?nau, because they excluded the knowledge of key people, agencies, and cultures. However, Ms Everest’s research also highlighted effective responses, including “heart-based” practice that built a trusting relationship with people, enabling deep and genuine exploration of issues. This could avoid hostile reactions, superficiality, victim blaming, and disconnections, and meant that thriving became possible.

Professor Mandy Morgan
Dr Leigh Coombes