Andrea Barrick, social work and gerontology, co-authored an article in the Journal of Policy Practice and Research.
Barrick, A,. and Worsham, J. (2020). Issue framing, entrepreneurship and the passage of the violence against women act. Journal of Policy Practice and Research, doi: 10.1007/s42972-020-00012-z
The authors map how the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) made it to the legislative agenda and seek to answer the question of how gender entered the discussion of violence. We adopt a longitudinal approach to examine how the media, experts, and legislative entrepreneurs engaged in a dialogue to get domestic violence on the government agenda. The study develops and uses indicators of media attention, expert attention, presidential attention, and legislative attention to track the evolution of domestic violence policy between 1965 and 2020. Our results showed that public attention matters to those interested in getting an issue on the agenda. But more importantly, expert attention can be instrumental in keeping an issue alive. Salience is a key factor that allows expansion of conflict and redefinition of issues. These findings demonstrate that government can and does enact major policy change without a punctuating event. The controversial character of domestic violence might explain its struggles to gain access to the government and decision agendas. Initially constructed as a private family issue, and thus not suitable for government attention, it was not until it was framed as criminal violence that the public began to take notice. This construction involved the media, academics, and select members of congress, who worked to move the issue to the government agenda where crime was a perennial favorite.