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Elizabeth Swart - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Elizabeth Swart Elizabeth Swart

Adjunct Lecturer Dept. of Social Change & Innovation | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Elizabeth Swart is an expert in gender-based trauma issues including domestic and dating violence and rape.



Elizabeth Swart Publication






Elizabeth Swart, who joined the adjunct faculty in 2013, teaches courses in domestic violence, global violence against women and global social policy.

She has an MSW and a PhD from the University of Central Florida, as well as an MA from Carnegie Mellon University.

As a licensed clinical social worker in private practice, Swart specializes in gender-based trauma issues including domestic and dating violence and rape. She also counsels immigrant clients, particularly unaccompanied minors, at Hope Community Center in Apopka, Fla. Previously she was a clinical counselor with international clients seeking at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture in Clearwater and at the SafeHouse domestic violence shelter in the metropolitan Orlando area.

Also an ethnographic researcher, she has worked with populations of women in marginalized communities in Kenya, seeking to understand how they redefine agency as they cope with violence and seek empowerment. During 2007–17, she worked with local women in the largest informal settlement in sub-Saharan Africa to create a women’s oral-history project and a women’s diary project.

She serves on the board of directors for Hope Community Center for immigration education and advocacy in Apopka, the Florida chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, and the Orlando Committee to Bridge the Color Divide. She is a member of the Orlando Refugee Task Force and the Social Justice Task Force of the National Women’s Studies Association. Since 1992 she has been a delegate to the UN’s CITES conference on global and social policies for conserving the environment and indigenous populations, the most recent meeting of which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2016. In 2012 she was a delegate to the UN Summit on Women and Girls in New York.

She received a Certificate of Honor from the University of Central Florida’s Center for Success of Women Faculty in 2013. A reviewer for the journals Social Science and Feminist Criminology, she has published two books, Socialization (2012) and Women’s Voices from the Margins (2017), as well as numerous articles in academic journals.

Education (3)

University of Central Florida: Ph.D. 2011

University of Central Florida: M.S.W. 2008

Carnegie Mellon University: M.A. 1975

Areas of Expertise (3)

Domestic Violence Gender-based Trauma Dating Violence

Industry Expertise (2)

Education/Learning Health and Wellness

Accomplishments (2)

Certificate of Honor (professional)

University of Central Florida Center for Success of Women

Best Dissertation, (professional)

University of Central Florida, College of Sciences

Affiliations (4)

  • Hope Community Center, Board of Directors
  • Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, Board of Directors
  • Orlando Committee to Bridge the Color Divide, Board of Directors
  • Orlando Refugee Task Force and the Social Justice Task Force of the National Women’s Studies Association, Member


Articles & Publications (4)

Attraction in the field: What we need to acknowledge and implications for research and teaching Qualitative Inquiry

Liz Grauerholz, Mandi Barringer, Timothy Colyer, Nicholas Guittar, Jaime Hecht, Rachel L Rayburn, Elizabeth Swart


Physical or sexual attraction plays an important role in shaping a wide range of relationships and in myriad ways. Our primary interest here is in how attraction shapes the qualitative research experience. Close examination of popular sociological ethnographies found that attractiveness is used as a descriptor, and almost always in a distancing fashion, but never considered in a reflexive manner. We explore implications of this silence surrounding attraction and urge greater candidness among sociologists conducting field research and teachers of qualitative methods.

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Doing Survival: Strategies for Coping With Gender-Based Violence in Kenya’s Kibera Slum Affilia

Elizabeth Swart


The current study analyzed strategies for coping with gender-based violence described in the diary accounts of 20 women residents of Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. Three distinct strategies are reported: endurance and faith, escape, and limited partnership. Previous qualitative studies of this population report acceptance of gender-based violence, based on lack of education and patriarchal social norms. The current study indicates that coping strategies may sometimes be agential choices made by women negotiating a complex web of structural oppression. Implications for practice are discussed.

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Gender-based violence in a Kenyan slum: creating local, woman-centered interventions Journal of Social Service Research

Elizabeth Swart


Gender-based violence in the developing world is beginning to receive serious scholarly attention. However, much of that research still overlooks violence against women in the burgeoning slum communities around the globe. This survey of 200 women between the ages of 18 and 30 years old describes gender-based violence in the “informal” settlement of Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. Prevalence and attitudes toward gender-based violence among survey participants are compared to those measured in the general population. Because results of the Kiberan survey show a higher rate of gender-based violence among women than the general population of Kenya, it appears that interventions are urgently needed in the slum. At the same time, slum-dwelling women reported lower attitudinal tolerance of gender-based violence than the larger population, supporting the readiness to accept interventions if available. The current study is one of the first to report data specifically about gender-based violence among women in Kibera and thus serves as a platform upon which larger future studies may be built. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Words are a place to stand: journals by young women in Kibera, Kenya Affilia

Elizabeth Swart


The study analyzes 5 months of daily journal entries by young women residing in Kibera, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. The findings are similar to previous findings about young women in impoverished urban environments, revealing few female support networks among this population. However, results show many supportive, one-to-one relationships between among women, indicating that poverty and socialization may impede larger networks that could otherwise occur. They also reveal flexible relationships between so-called street and non-street women as well as the use of journals to create a private space in an otherwise completely public existence.

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