Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Asking for help without asking for help: how victims request and police offer assistance in cases of domestic violence when perpetrators are potentially co-present

Stokoe, Elizabeth ORCID: 0000-0002-7353-4121 and Richardson, Emma (2023) Asking for help without asking for help: how victims request and police offer assistance in cases of domestic violence when perpetrators are potentially co-present. Discourse Studies, 25 (3). pp. 383-408. ISSN 1461-4456

[img] Text (Asking for help without asking for help) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (215kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177/14614456231157293

Abstract

Requesting police assistance can be especially challenging in cases of domestic violence, since perpetrators may be able to overhear victims’ telephone calls. This means that callers may not be able to make direct requests for help. Simultaneously, a routine task for police call-takers is to categorize incoming calls as genuine rather than, say, accidental or nuisance. We collected and transcribed 192 audio-recorded calls to a UK police service, which included interactions between callers and call-takers as well as between national operators and local call-takers. The latter provided access to the professional parties’ pre-transfer discussion and interpretation of what kind of trouble might be occurring in silent and otherwise ambiguous calls. Using conversation analysis, we found that, as well as unambiguous requests for help (e.g., “I need you to come because of assault by my partner”), callers formulated apparently inapposite turns (“hiya, you all right?”) and used non-lexical resources (e.g., breaths) to build actions which also mobilized assistance. Professional call-takers’ discussions included domestic violence-implicative interpretations (e.g., “I heard a woman shout”). Parties collaboratively leveraged the affordances of turn design and sequence to request and offer help without revealing to potentially overhearing parties that callers were talking to the police. Our findings have implications for understanding how actions like requesting are accomplished in social interaction, as well as for training call-takers to recognize and act on communicative ambiguities in cases of domestic violence. Data are in British English.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/DIS
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 10:54
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 20:48
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118066

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics