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The Family Violence Combined Lived Experience Lens

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Kia ora ECLIPSE whānau,

Welcome to our new ECLIPSE blog! We’re really excited to be starting this blog to share ideas, resources, and concepts about family violence. If you haven’t already, subscribe now for our monthly email updates so you too can stay up-to-date with what’s happening at ECLIPSE.

The combined lived experience lens - 3 intersecting circles labelled family violence, practitioner capability and knowledge, and sectoral awareness.

For my first blog, I want to introduce you to what we call the Combined Lived Experience Lens. The combined lived experience lens is what ECLIPSE is built on and we incorporate it into all of our training and mahi. The lens is made up of the intersection of three types of lived experience:

  • Family violence lived experience.

  • Practice lived experience.

  • Sectoral awareness experience.

At ECLIPSE, we believe each of these forms of lived experience is equally valid and important, however, when you combine the three together this brings deeper insight, understanding, and knowledge.

Family violence lived experience

It’s important we continue to amplify the voices of those who have experience of family violence. When we truly listen to those who have this experience, we gain a deeper understanding of the whole of person and whānau entrapment which occurs as a result of family violence. We gain insight into the cumulative impacts of coercive control which is an overarching umbrella tactic of family violence. We can learn more about how our practice, services, systems, and structures are impacting on those we work with.

We can learn so much from the lived experience of family violence.

The voice of the victim-survivor should be at the centre of all we do. Our practice, policy, systems, processes, legislation should be guided by victim-survivors. Imagine if we had strong victim-survivor voices on the governance board of every organisation who works in the family violence sector.

Practice knowledge and capability lived experience

The second area of lived experience is those who are practitioners and have capability and knowledge of family violence practice. It’s important we also hear from their voices and integrate their practice wisdom and knowledge of theory into our practice. Without this voice at the table, we can make decisions which don’t align with best practice.

Sectoral awareness lived experience

The final area of the combined lived experience lens is that of sectoral awareness. Sectoral awareness is understanding how the wider family violence sector operates and how government policies, legislation, and systems impact on individuals, whānau, communities, and systems. It’s a much broader view of the family violence sector than just practice alone.

The ECLIPSE Point of Difference

The combined lived experience lens is how we articulate the intersection that makes ECLIPSE unique – we bring lived experience, practice expertise, and sectoral awareness into our mahi. People can have one, two, or all three of these lived experiences.

All are equally important and valid but the combination of the three provides unique insights and understanding of family violence. You can still be an excellent family violence practitioner without lived experience of family violence through seeking to understand the complex dynamics of family violence in an empathetic and dignity-enhancing manner. Continue to be open to listening and learning from those who have different lived experiences from yourself - we can all learn something from someone!

Do you want to learn more about any of the three areas of the combined lived experience lens? Why not come along to an upcoming ECLIPSE training and experienced unique family violence training from the combined lived experience lens – that is of family violence, practice, and sectoral awareness.

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for our communities and whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an incredible honour to be able to travel throughout our beautiful country and hear the stories of the amazing mahi you do on a day-to-day basis. It’s not easy – please take care of yourself.

Aroha nui,


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