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Upcoming conference: Adolescent domestic abuse

The conference is in the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre (C101), in the Tait Building, at City.

If registered, please enter through the main entrance in the University Building, across from Northampton Square, a green space with a gazebo. There is also a silver sculpture in front of University Building.

Only those that registered will be able to enter the conference room.

To register please see: VISION and VASC Adolescent Domestic Abuse conference

The UK Prevention Research Partnership Violence, Health & Society (VISION) consortium and the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London, are pleased to announce the Adolescent Domestic Abuse conference.

Thursday 18th April 2024, 10:00 – 17:00 followed by a reception 
Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre (Tait Bldg), City, University of London, EC1B 0HB 

Adolescent domestic abuse, which includes physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse that occurs between young people who are, or were, dating, is often overlooked in research, policy and practice. The current definition of domestic abuse leaves those aged under 16 in teenage relationships falling into the gap between child protection procedures and adult-focused domestic abuse policy. 

The conference brings together academics, practitioners, and policy makers to share existing research, policy and practice.

Registration is required and free. This is an in person conference only and catering will be provided. If you cannot attend but would like the slides, please contact the email listed below.

The programme: 

  • 9:30 – 10:00 Registration & refreshments 
  • 10:00 – 10:20 Welcome & setting the scene, Dr Ruth Weir, Violence and Society Centre, City, University of London and Katy Barrow-Grint, Assistant Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police
  • 10:20 – 10:40 Introductory Speaker, Louisa Rolfe OBE, Metropolitan Police and National Police Chief Council lead for Domestic Abuse
  • 10:40 – 11:00 Rapid evidence review on domestic abuse in teenage relationships, Flavia Lamarre, and Dr Ruth Weir, City, University of London
  • 11:00 – 11:30 Learning from the lived experience, SafeLives Changemakers
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Researching abuse within teenage relationships: A critique of a decade’s work and what we could do better, Professor Christine Barter, Co-Director of the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm, University of Central Lancashire 
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00 – 14:20 Panel 1: Teenage relationships and abuse: What the research says, chaired by Professor Sally McManus, Director of the Violence and Society Centre and Deputy Director of the VISION research project
  • Panel 1: Step up, Speak Out: Amplifying young people’s voices in understanding and responding to adolescent domestic abuse, Janelle Rabe, Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, Durham University
  • Panel 1: In practice it can be so much harder’: Young people’s approaches and experiences of supporting friends experiencing domestic abuse, Jen Daw and Sally Steadman South, SafeLives
  • Panel 1: Healthy relationships: children and young people attitudes and influences, Hannah Williams and Sarah Davidge, Women’s Aid
  • Panel 1: Intimate partner femicide against young women, Dr Shilan Caman, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • 14:20 – 14:35 Break
  • 14:35 – 15:35 Panel 2: Sexual violence in teenage relationships, chaired by Katy Barrow-Grint, Thames Valley Police
  • Panel 2: “Always the rule that you can’t say no”: Adolescent women’s experiences of sexual violence in dating relationships – Dr Kirsty McGregor, Loughborough University 
  • Panel 2: Empowering Youth: Addressing Online Pornography and Adolescent Domestic Abuse – Insights from the CONSENT Project – Berta Vall, Elena Lloberas and Jaume Grané, Blanquerna, Barcelona, Spain and The European Network for Work with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence, Berlin, Germany
  • Panel 2: Image-Based Sexual Abuse as a Facet of Domestic Abuse in Young People’s Relationships – Dr Alishya Dhir, Durham University
  • 15:35 – 15:50 Break
  • 15:50 – 16:50 Panel 3: Specialist services and local government, chaired by Dr Olumide Adisa, University of Suffolk
  • Panel 3: The role and value of Early Intervention Workers in supporting children and young people aged 11–18 in a domestic abuse service context – Elaha Walizadeh and Leonor Capelier, Refuge 
  • Panel 3: Prevention, Identification, Intervention and Protection: Learning on teenage domestic abuse from a multi-agency model in the London Borough of Islington – Aisling Barker, Islington Borough Council
  • Panel 3: Tackling adolescent domestic abuse in Lambeth – Rose Parker, Erika Pavely, Ariana Markowitz, and Siofra Peeren, Lambeth Health Inequalities Research and Evaluation Network 
  • 16:50 – 17:00 Closing remarks and next steps
  • 17.00 – onwards Drinks reception, Conference attendees are invited to a drinks reception in the Oliver Thompson foyer

The abstracts

The abstracts below are provided for further information on each presentation and for downloading.

For further information and any questions, please contact VISION at VISION_Management_Team@city.ac.uk

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Presentations from 2nd VISION annual conference now available

We are pleased to provide the presentations from our 2nd annual conference held 21 September 2023 at Mary Ward House in London. 

The theme was Responding to violence across the life course. Sessions included presentations on childhood and teenage years; working life, poverty & economic impacts; older years; and social inclusion in policy and research. The conference concluded with a panel discussion on violence and complex systems.

Seventy-seven academics, central and local government officials, practitioners, and voluntary and community sector organisations attended from a range of health and crime / justice disciplines.

Please feel free to download the presentations below. Each session is one download.

Photo caption: Dr Ladan Hashemi, Senior Research Fellow at VISION, answers a question after her presentation, ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences and Childhood Obesity:​ Exploring Potential Mediating and Moderating Factors​’

Download the Welcome slides

Download the slides from Session 1 – Childhood and teenage years

Download the slides from Session 2 – Social inclusion in policy & research

Download the slides from Session 3 – Working life, poverty and economic impacts

Download the slides from Session 4 – Older people

Call for proposals now closed: Adolescent domestic abuse

The call for proposals for the Adolescent Domestic Abuse conference on 18 April 2024, is now closed.

The event is free to attend, and registration will open in early 2024. For any questions or comments about the upcoming conference in the meantime, please contact Ruth Weir at ruth.weir@city.ac.uk or VISION_Management_Team@city.ac.uk.

We invited proposals for conference presentations and welcome applications from researchers, academics, practitioners, and policy makers. 

Adolescent domestic abuse, which includes physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse that occurs between young people who are, or were, dating, is often overlooked in research, policy and practice. The current definition of domestic abuse leaves those in teenage relationships falling into the gap between child protection procedures and adult-focused domestic abuse policy (Barrow-Grint et al, 2022).    

The Crime Survey for England and Wales finds that women aged 16 to 19 are more likely to experience domestic abuse than any other age group (ONS, 2020), but despite the prevalence, women in this age group are less likely to be referred to support services (SafeLives, 2017). The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brought in new legislation that saw children who live in a home where domestic abuse takes place recognised for the first time as victims in their own right. The Act also lowered the minimum age for a person to be classified as a victim of domestic abuse from 18 to 16 years.

However, research from SafeLives found that, on average, experiencing abusive behaviour from a partner begins at age 14 or 15, leaving a gap in recognition and support for those under the age of 16 (SafeLives, 2017).  Research among those aged 11-16 in Wales found a range of mental health and social impacts associated with experiencing domestic abuse, including teenage pregnancy, self-harm and violent behaviour (Young et al, 2021). 

These challenges are echoed by those trying to police domestic abuse, with the Assistant Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police questioning whether the age at which domestic abuse is recognised in law and practice for victims and perpetrators should be lowered to 13.

We acknowledge this is a complex and contested question that needs significant research and nuanced consideration from many angles. For example, consideration of intersectional issues such as the criminalisation of young people and the lack of alternatives to custody currently available to those who use harmful or abusive behaviours, as well as issues pertaining to cultural backgrounds. 

Proposals for single presentations on topics relating to adolescent domestic abuse were encouraged to include – but not limited to – the following topics:  

• Empirical evidence on victimisation and/or perpetration of adolescent domestic abuse 

• Evidence on different approaches, theories or practices in response to adolescent domestic abuse  

• Policy or practice initiatives, developments or frameworks (including legal) regarding adolescent domestic abuse

The conference is organised and hosted by the following:

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Young People and Intimate Partner Violence: Experiences of Support and Services in England

Although estimating the prevalence of victimisation among young people is challenging, previous research indicates that around a fifth of young people have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner, half experienced emotional victimisation, and a quarter report some type of unwanted sexual contact. National UK crime surveys consistently find young women to be at greater risk of victimisation than those over 25, and intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA) is one of the leading risks of death globally for younger women (aged 20–24).

In this paper, VISION Director Professor Gene Feder and colleagues from the University of Bristol and University of Central Lancashire, explored young people’s experiences of seeking or receiving institutional help and support in relation to IPVA.

Semi-structured interviews were carried with 18 young people aged 18 to 25, using Life History Calendars. Experiences of range of types of services in relation to intimate partner violence were explored, including support from education; primary and maternity services; third sector organisations; and counselling and support workers.

Participants said that they wanted clearer information to be provided in schools on identifying abuse from a younger age and better signposting and access to specialist services. They described how they benefited from equal power dynamics in relationships with professionals where they were supported to make their own decisions.

The authors found that young people often view adult support services as not for them and more needs to be done to understand effective responses to IPVA among different groups. Professionals in all sectors (including schools) need IPVA trauma-informed training that encourages equal power dynamics, with a clear understanding of and access to referral pathways, to be able to respond better to the specific needs of young people experiencing IPVA.

For further information please see: Young People and Intimate Partner Violence: Experiences of Institutional Support and Services in England | SpringerLink

Or contact Dr Maria Barnes at maria.barnes@bristol.ac.uk

Photo on Photostockeditor

Different childhood adversities lead to different health inequalities

Even experiencing just one type of adverse childhood experience (ACE) increases the risks of poor health outcomes in adulthood, including health-harming behaviours, poor sexual and mental health, and crime and violence.

Among people experiencing one type of ACE, this study examined which ACEs were most strongly related to each type of health harms, using a combined study sample of 20,556 18–69 years living in England and Wales. The research team, including VISION researcher Mark Bellis, found that sexual abuse in childhood strongly predicted subsequent obesity. Sexual abuse also showed the biggest increase in later cannabis use. Household alcohol problems in childhood was the ACE most strongly associated with violence and incarceration in adulthood. 

Toxic stress can arise from ACEs such as physical and sexual abuse, but other more prevalent ACEs, for example verbal abuse and parental separation, may also contribute substantively to poorer life course health.

For further information, please see: Comparing relationships between single types of adverse childhood experiences and health-related outcomes: a combined primary data study of eight cross-sectional surveys in England and Wales | BMJ Open

Or contact Mark Bellis at M.A.Bellis@ljmu.ac.uk

Photo by Adam McCoid on Unsplash

Reducing the impact of parental intimate partner violence

A fifth of children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children experienced parental intimate partner violence in early childhood. This analysis sought to identify which positive experiences might reduce the chances that such children would go on to develop depressive symptoms in adolescence.

VISION Interim Director, Professor Gene Feder, collaborated with Bristol University colleagues. They found that exposure to parental intimate partner violence in early childhood was associated with more depressive symptoms at age 18.

Most positive experiences were linked with lower levels of depressive symptoms regardless of parental intimate partner violence exposure. However, among those exposed to parental intimate partner violence, this association was found only for relationships with peers, school enjoyment, neighbourhood safety and cohesion on depressive symptoms.

Interventions aiming to nurture positive relationships with peers, school experiences and neighbourhood safety and cohesion have the potential to improve adolescent depression, including among those exposed to parental intimate partner violence.

For further information please see:  Factors mitigating the harmful effects of intimate partner violence on adolescents’ depressive symptoms: a longitudinal birth cohort study — University of Bristol or contact Gene at gene.feder@bristol.ac.uk