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Universities and charities to research new domestic abuse approaches

The Home Office announces 21 organisations who have been secured part of £1.4 million of funding for research projects on perpetrators of domestic abuse.

14/02/22

Universities and charities to research new domestic abuse approaches

Charities, universities, research organisations and public services have been awarded £1.4m from the Government to conduct research into domestic abuse.

The Home Office says the funding will support 21 projects that build on existing research and aim to cover gaps in areas where there is limited knowledge, such as interpersonal abuse in adolescent relationships and suicides associated with domestic abuse. Projects will also look at identifying perpetrators and interventions to help victims at risk of serious abuse earlier.

“Research plays a vital role in strengthening our approach to preventing domestic abuse and safeguarding victims,” Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean said.

“This new funding will enable organisations to significantly improve our understanding of many aspects of perpetrators’ behaviour and I look forward to seeing the results.”

The announcement follows a similar £500,000 funding stream, which ran last year to develop understanding of domestic abuse perpetrators and to strengthen the evidence base for what works in addressing their behaviour. The organisations awarded that funding are currently in the process of publishing their research.

The National Centre for Social Research was awarded more than £50,000 to conduct a study focusing on how social workers identify perpetrators, how they assess risk, and how they respond to this risk. The Centre for Justice Innovation received similar funding to explore the co-occurrence of substance misuse and perpetration of domestic abuse, and/or the co-occurrence of experience of trauma and perpetration of domestic abuse.

Many universities were successful in their applications for the research funding. The University of Durham was successful in two separate applications for research projects, both awarded more than £80,000 of funding. One study will provide evidence on the profiles and characteristics of perpetrators of domestic abuse against older adults (aged 60 and over) causes of domestic abuse against older adults and professional responses, including how risk of abuse/abusers are identified and how risk is assessed and managed. The other project will focus on perpetrators coming from minoritised communities of race and/or targeting minoritised victim/survivors because of their sexuality and/or (trans) gender identity.

London Southbank University was awarded more than £115,000 to conduct a feasibility study testing the viability of ‘natural language processing’ – a way for computers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to process and analyze large amounts of text communications – as a tool in combating abuse. It is hoped that the tool will be used to identify and risk-assess alleged perpetrators of technology facilitated coercive control, such as those using social media to control and coerce victims, including those in adolescent relationships.

Liverpool John Moores was awarded more than £50,000 to examine the profiles of domestic abuse perpetrators with the aim of understanding what predicts increased severity and repeat domestic abuse offending.

Similarly, the University of Essex will conduct a study to understand domestic abuse perpetrators using quantitative analysis to develop perpetrator profiles and exploring their implications for targeted intervention and risk assessment.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will explore temporality of typology membership, individual offender risk and trajectory, and offending behaviour in terms of child to parent domestic abuse, as well as wider violence towards intimate partners and non-family victims. Meanwhile, the University of Gloucestershire will gather data on perpetrators of domestic abuse and practitioner interventions, from what are called ‘near-miss’ cases.

Some statutory services were also awarded funding for research, including more than £60,000 for the Police and Crime Commissioner West Midlands to explore whether the perpetration of certain forms of abuse are more likely to lead to suicide and consider the relationship between suicide and forced marriage/honour based violence. Meanwhile, South London and Maudsley NHS was awarded more than £52,000 for research which aims to improve the standards and outcomes of risk assessment for domestic abuse cases through exploring the links with mental health risk assessments.

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