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Bystander experiences of domestic violence and abuse during COVID

VISION researchers Alex Walker, Bryony Perry, Emma R Barton, Lara Snowdon and Mark Bellis surveyed people in Wales about their experiences of being a bystander to domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during the COVID-19 pandemic, with their colleagues at University of Exeter, Public Health Wales, and University of Durham.

This research provides a unique perspective on DVA during a global pandemic, and therefore offers important new evidence that can contribute to DVA prevention during public health emergencies. 

Globally, professionals voiced concern over the COVID-19 restrictions exacerbating conditions for DVA to occur. Yet evidence suggests this also increased opportunities for bystanders to become aware of DVA and take action against it. This mixed methods study consists of a quantitative online survey and follow-up interviews with survey respondents. Conducted in Wales, UK, during a national lockdown in 2021, this article reports on the experiences of 186 bystanders to DVA during the pandemic.

The researchers found that while public health restrictions exacerbated DVA, they also increased the opportunity for bystanders to become aware of DVA, and to take prosocial action. Results support the bystander situational model whereby respondents have to become aware of the behaviour, recognise it as a problem, feel that they possess the correct skills, and have confidence in their skills, before they will take action.

Having received bystander training was a significant predictor variable in bystanders taking action against DVA; this is an important finding that should be utilised to upskill general members of the community.

For further information please see: Bystander experiences of domestic violence and abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic in: Journal of Gender-Based Violence – Ahead of print (bristoluniversitypressdigital.com)

Or contact Lara at lara.snowdon@wales.nhs.uk  

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Differentiating risk: The association between relationship type and risk of repeat victimization of domestic abuse

Much of the literature on domestic abuse focuses on those in intimate partner relationships or ex-partners, however, in the UK the Home Office definition also includes those in familial relationships. The Domestic Abuse, Stalking, and Harassment and Honour-Based Violence Risk Assessment assumes homogeneous risk factors across all relationships.

This paper, Differentiating risk: The association between relationship type and risk of repeat victimization of domestic abuse, therefore examines the risk factors for repeat victimization of domestic abuse by relationship type between the victim and perpetrator in a UK police force.

Using police-recorded domestic abuse incident and crime data, a logistic regression model found that the most similar repeat victimization risk profiles for 14,519 victims were amongst partners and ex-partners, with both relationships demonstrating the greatest degree of gender asymmetry, compared with other familial relationships. Physical violence was the strongest predictor of repeat victimization and was a statistically significant predictor for ex-partners, partners, and all familial relationships. Coercive behaviour was also a significant predictor for all relationships apart from partners, but not at the same magnitude as physical abuse.

Recognizing the difference in risk by relationship type may assist the police in deciding the most appropriate response and interventions to reduce the risk of further harm. 

 For further information please see: https://academic.oup.com/policing/article/doi/10.1093/police/paae024/7641219?login=false

Or contact Ruth at ruth.weir@city.ac.uk  

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Prevalence of physical violence against people in insecure migration status 

VISION researchers from the Systematic Review working group (Andri Innes, Sophie Carlisle, Hannah Manzur, Elizabeth Cook, Jessica Corsi and Natalia Lewis) have published a systematic review and meta-analysis in PLOS One, estimating prevalence of physical violence against people in insecure migration status. This is the first review of its type, synthesizing global data on violence against migrants in all types of insecure status. 

The review finds that around 1 in 3 migrants in insecure status experience physical violence. Violence included physical interpersonal, community and state violence. Insecure status was conceptualised encompassing undocumented status, lapsed statuses, asylum seeking and other pending applications, and any status that embeds a form of insecurity by tying status to a particular relationship (such as spousal or employer-employee). Studies were only included in the review if the violence happened while the victim was in insecure status. 

The VISION team reviewed academic literature published between January 2000 and May 2023, across social and health sciences. The study was global in scope, although data was limited by the English language search.  

Key Findings 

More than one in four migrants in insecure status disclosed intimate partner violence specifically. Spousal visas embed a particular risk of violence because the visa status is connected to an intimate partner relationship, creating an important power disparity. Nevertheless, there was no significant difference in prevalence of violence by gender across the dataset. Prevalence also did not differ meaningfully across geographic region, perpetrator, status type or time frame.  

The most significant findings included that violence exposure is not meaningfully different for people in undocumented status than in other types of insecure status. Physical violence is a concern across all types of insecure migration status types. 

The findings were limited because of high levels of heterogeneity in the data. It was also difficult to consider intersectional identity characteristics such as age, race or ethnicity, nationality, religion, marital status, socio-economic status, education level or motivation for migration because these were not standardised across included studies. This suggests that further and specified research is needed in this area. 

The review is open access and is available to read in full here

If you have any comments or feedback for the authors, please contact Andri at alexandria.innes@city.ac.uk  

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Consultation: Is there a need for a VAWG data dashboard?

In 2022, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) developed a prototype violence against women and girls (VAWG) dashboard. The tool presents statistics and charts on violence against women and girls in England and Wales, drawing on multiple sources. However, due to re-prioritisation at ONS, maintenance of the dashboard was halted and from 1st April 2024 it will no longer be accessible.

The VISION consortium is consulting on whether there is need for a VAWG data dashboard. This consultation is seeking views on:

  •  Whether the dashboard was useful
  •  Who used it and why
  •  If the dashboard was to continue, what aspects should be kept, dropped or added.

The consultation link is here: Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management

Anyone interested in the idea of a VAWG data dashboard is welcome to respond to the survey, particularly if interested in using one in the future.

Answer as many questions as you like. You can provide contact details or complete this anonymously. The findings will be used to draft a report and provide recommendations on whether the dashboard should continue. The report will include a list of the groups and organisations that participated (where details are provided). Individuals will not be named, although quotes may be taken from the text provided. The report may be published, for example on the VISION website.

The ONS VAWG dashboard was available online until 31 March 2024. Therefore, if you would like to participate in this consultation, please view the sample screenshots of the tool below.

This consultation closes Monday 22 April.

For further information, please contact us at VISION_Management_Team@city.ac.uk

Working with specialist services’ administrative data

VISION researchers Dr Annie Bunce and Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa have been working with administrative data provided by specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse (DSVA) support services.

Whilst the wealth and breadth of the data collected creates exciting opportunities for improving our understanding of patterns in experiences of violence and service use, the process of preparing the data for analysis has its challenges. Such challenges- and potential strategies for overcoming them- are not well documented, creating missed opportunities for improving the utilisation of specialist services’ data.

In their new publication, Annie and Estela, along with City, University of London PhD student, Katie Smith, and Dr Sophie Carlisle, a former VISION researcher, reviewed the scope and merits of administrative data generally, and that collected by specialist DSVA services specifically, and the evidence to date for its use by researchers.

They found that the extent to which new insights on violence from specialist services’ data can be used to inform policy and practice is limited by three interrelated challenges: different approaches to the measurement of violence and abuse; the issue of disproportionate funding and capacity of services, and the practicalities of multi-agency working.

Nonetheless, the authors maintain the unique contribution to knowledge on violence that can be provided by DSVA services’ administrative data, and are hopeful that the paper will encourage further discussion about how to better utilise it. Additional resources, collaboration between multiple agencies, service providers and researchers, and the integration of specialist services’ data with other sources of data on violence are needed to maximise policy impact. Given the benefits individuals and society stand to gain, this is a worthwhile endeavour.

For further information please see: Challenges of using specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse service data to inform policy and practice on violence reduction in the UK in: Journal of Gender-Based Violence – Ahead of print (bristoluniversitypressdigital.com)

Or contact Dr Annie Bunce at annie.bunce@city.ac.uk

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VISION/VASC Webinar Series: IPV and the LGBTQI+ communities

This event is in the past.

We are pleased to announce the VISION and Violence & Society Centre (VASC) Webinar Series.

The purpose of the series is to provide a platform for academia, government and the voluntary and community sector that work to reduce and prevent violence to present their work / research to a wider audience. This is a multidisciplinary platform and we welcome speakers from across a variety of fields such as health, crime, policing, ethnicity, migration, sociology, social work, primary care, front line services, etc.

Our first webinar is Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 1300 – 1350. We welcome Dr Steven Maxwell, Research Associate in the School of Social & Environmental Sustainability and Associate in the School of Health and Wellbeing, at the University of Glasgow.

Steven will present his research on intimate partner violence within the LGBTQI+ communities. He is a former mental health nurse and completed his PhD in Global Public Health at University College London in 2021. Steven’s PhD explored HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis uptake/adherence among men who have sex with men who engaged in sexualised drug use. His current interest is researching health inequities/social justices across minority and deprived populations, particularly sexual & mental health, and related substance use.   

To register for the event in order to receive the Teams invitation and / or if interested in presenting at a future Series, please contact: VISION_Management_Team@city.ac.uk

The VISION/VASC Webinar Series is sponsored by the UK Prevention and Research Partnership consortium, Violence, Health and Society (MR-V049879) and the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London.

Cost effectiveness of primary care training & support programme for secondary prevention of DVA

Recent research evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety plus (IRIS+) intervention compared with usual care using feasibility data derived from seven UK general practice sites.

IRIS+ is a training and support programme for clinicians working in primary care to aid in their identification of those experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence / abuse (DVA).

VISION Deputy Director, Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa and Director, Professor Gene Feder, worked with their University of Bristol colleagues to conduct a cost–utility analysis, a form of economic evaluation comparing cost with patient-centred outcome measures, as a means to measure the benefit obtained from the treatment or intervention.

The specific cost-utility analysis they conducted assessed the potential cost-effectiveness of IRIS+ which assists primary care staff in identifying, documenting and referring not only women, but also men and children who may have experienced DVA as victims, perpetrators or both.

The analysis showed that in practices that adopted the IRIS+ intervention, a savings of £92 per patient occurred. The incremental net monetary benefit was positive (£145) and the IRIS+ intervention was cost-effective in 55% of simulations (when the model is repeated with different assumptions).

The research team therefore concluded that the IRIS+ intervention could be cost-effective in the UK from a societal perspective though there are large uncertainties. To resolve these the team will conduct a large trial with further economic analysis.

For further information please see: Primary care system-level training and support programme for the secondary prevention of domestic violence and abuse: a cost-effectiveness feasibility model | BMJ Open

Or contact Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa at e.capelasbarbosa@bristol.ac.uk

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COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse

Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa, VISION Deputy Director has recently published, COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse: a mixed methods rapid study in the BMC Primary Care journal, with Lucy Downes, IRIS Network Director.

Increased incidence and/or reporting of domestic abuse (DA) occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the lockdowns across the UK, services providing support to victims had to adapt and consider adding methods of remote outreach to their programmes.

Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) is a programme to improve the response to domestic abuse in general practice, providing training for general practice teams and support for patients affected by DA. The COVID-19 pandemic required those running the programme to adapt to online training and remote support.

Estela and Lucy employed a mixed methods rapid approach to this research in order to gather evidence around the relevance, desirability and acceptability of IRIS operating remotely. Quantitative IRIS referral data were triangulated with data from surveys and interviews. They found that the adaptation to online training and support of IRIS was acceptable and desirable.

This study contributes to practice by asserting the desirability and acceptability of training clinicians to be able to identify, ask about DA and refer to the IRIS programme during telephone/online consultations. The findings from this study may be of interest to (public) health commissioners when making commissioning decisions to improve the general practice response to domestic abuse.

For further information please see: COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse: a mixed methods rapid study | BMC Primary Care (springer.com)

Or contact Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa at e.capelasbarbosa@bristol.ac.uk

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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

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