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Mental health in the workplace: how employers should respond to domestic violence

This event is in the past.

VISION member Sally McManus will be talking at a Westminster Insight event on Supporting Women’s Health in the Workplace on 20 March 2024.

Sally will use a life-course approach to understanding women’s mental health and wellbeing at work, including the impact of the psychosocial working environment, bullying and harassment at work, and what support and signposting employers can offer in relation to domestic violence.

For further information, please contact Sally at sally.mcmanus@city.ac.uk

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

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

New partnership between VISION and the Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network

We are pleased to announce a new, one-year partnership with the Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network (VAMHN).

VAMHN is a network of individuals and organisations aiming to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems by addressing associated violence and abuse, particularly domestic and sexual violence.

The interdisciplinary cross-sector network brings together and supports research by experts from a range of disciplines, sectors, and backgrounds – some with lived experience, others with expertise from the work that they do, and survivor researchers with both.

VAMHN’s work aligns with our own goals of improving measurement of violence and better use of data to prevent and mitigate the harm that violence causes to health and wellbeing.

VAMHN has done sterling work engaging with survivors of violence in co-producing research and creating a Lived Experience (LE) Advisory Group. They will support VISION as we build and expand on LE engagement across our project.

For further information on VAMHN, please see: The Violence, Abuse, and Mental Health Network

Or contact us at VISION_Management_Team@city.ac.uk

Illustration by Elnur/Shutterstock.com

Podcast on police and domestic violence publication

Hear VISION Senior Research Fellow, Ruth Weir, in conversation with Jackie Turton, University of Essex, as they discuss their recent publication, Policing Domestic Violence: Risk, Policy, and Practice, with Jules Pretty of The Louder than Words podcast series.

Ruth and Jackie collaborated with two serving police officers, Kate Barrow-Grint and Jacqueline Sebire, to write a book that improves police force understanding of the dynamics of how domestic abuse occurs, how best to respond to and investigate it, and, in the longer term, how to prevent it. 

It is a unique collaboration of real-life policing experience blended with the latest academic research and best practice to update some of the theoretical analysis and to highlight areas of good practice like what works and why.

To listen to the podcast please see: The Louder than Words podcast

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

Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

VISION member awarded UKDS Impact Fellow focused on the socioeconomics of violence

Dr Niels Blom

We’re delighted that one of VISION’s core researchers, Dr Niels Blom, has been awarded a prestigious UK Data Service (UKDS) Fellowship.

The award will be used to improve the reach and impact of Niels’ research on violence and abuse and its relationship with job loss, health, and wellbeing. He is using several UKDS datasets, including the UK Longitudinal Household Survey and the Crime Survey for England Wales, to understand the link between violence, particularly intimate partner violence, and its socioeconomic, wellbeing, and health impact.

For more information about Niels, his work, and what he hopes to get out of the Fellowship scheme, see his blog on the UKDS website.  

The UKDS is funded by the UKRI and houses the largest collection of economic, social and population data in the UK. Its Data Impact Fellowship scheme is for early career researchers in the academic or the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VSCE) sector. The focus in 2023 is on research in poverty, deprivation, the cost of living crisis, housing and homelessness, using data in the UK Data Service collection. The purpose of the programme is to support impact activities stemming from data-enhanced work.  

For further information on the UK Data Service please see: UK Data Service

To read Niels’ blog please see: UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows 2023: Niels Blom – Data Impact blog

Or contact Niels at niels.blom@city.ac.uk

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Measuring violence using administrative data collected by specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse support services

Interpersonal violence, which can include various forms of domestic and sexual violence and abuse (DSVA) is a leading cause of death, particularly among young adults. In the UK, specialist DSVA services provide much-needed support to victim-survivors of these types of violence, and some provide support for perpetrators to change their behaviour. To monitor and support their work, specialist services collect data on violence. This data has the potential to improve understanding of violence but presents unique challenges.

In this review, VISION researchers Dr Annie Bunce, Dr Sophie Carlisle and Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa describe and discuss some of the key challenges facing the data collected by specialist services.

Inconsistencies in data collection arise due to the differing remits and priorities of specialist services, which mean violence and abuse are defined and measured in slightly different ways by these organisations. Particularly, the review highlights the significant variation in outcomes and outcome measurement tools used to evidence the effectiveness of services and interventions.

Specialist support services collect valuable data on many and multiple types of violence, the wide impacts of violence on victim-survivors’ lives, and information about perpetrators. As the data are not collected for research purposes, a considerable amount of work is often required to make the data suitable for statistical analysis. Critically, the piecemeal and insecure funding of specialist services limits their capacity to collect and analyse data.

Together these issues make it challenging to collate data from specialist services and use it to inform measurements of violence. 

The researchers recommend the development of a core outcomes framework, exploration of methods for linking specialist services data with other sources of administrative data on violence, and sustainable funding for third sector specialist support services.

For further information please see: Social Sciences | Free Full-Text | The Concept and Measurement of Interpersonal Violence in Specialist Services Data: Inconsistencies, Outcomes and the Challenges of Synthesising Evidence (mdpi.com)

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

Photograph by Claudio Schwarz 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

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Webinar: Parental and child mental health and intimate partner violence

This webinar is over. 27 June 2023, 17:00 – 18:30 BST, Zoom

VISION director, Professor Gene Feder, led the webinar, Interrelationships between parental mental health, intimate partner violence and child mental health – implications for practice, with Dr Shabeer Syed and Dr Claire Powell on behalf of the NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit.

They presented findings from a mixed methods study that seeks to improve responses to families affected by intimate partner violence (IPV) and parents and children’s mental health problems.

Then, they presented preliminary findings on the relationship between parental IPV and a range of clinically relevant adversity and mental health-related indicators (www.acesinehrs.com) in anonymised health records from parents and children presenting to GPs, A&E and hospital admissions between one year before and five years after birth.

Their research shows that 1 in 5 (20%) families experienced IPV, although only 1 in 50 (2%) had IPV recorded in the GP record.  Recording of other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was better, with 1 in 2 (53.4%) families having at least one recorded in the early life course. Compared to families without ACEs, families with ACEs had a higher risk of parental IPV, especially when at least one parent and child had recorded a mental health problem. Gene will discuss the implications of these findings for national guidance on supporting families experiencing IPV and mental health problems, articulating how data already within medical records can help identify those families. 

For further information please see: Interrelationships between parental mental health, intimate partner violence and child mental health – implications for practice – ACAMH

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

Mental health service use in perpetrators of partner violence

Perpetration of partner violence is more common in people with recent mental health service use compared to the general household population of England.

Research conducted by Dr Vishal Bhavsar, Kings College London (KCL); VISION Co-Investigator Professor Louise M. Howard, KCL; VISION Deputy Director Sally McManus, City, University of London; and Dr Katherine Saunders, KCL, has demonstrated this correlation is not affected by criminal justice involvement or by social demographics(e.g. class, education), but seems to be explained by greater exposure to childhood adversities and exposure to partner violence.

The researchers think this work highlights an important potential role for health services in responding to perpetrators of domestic abuse, especially services which provide care for people with mental health conditions. Effective strengthening of the healthcare system’s response to perpetrators of domestic abuse has the potential to reduce violence.

For further information please see: Intimate partner violence perpetration and mental health service use in England: analysis of nationally representative survey data | BJPsych Open | Cambridge Core

Or contact Dr Vishal Bhavsar at vishal.2.bhavsar@kcl.ac.uk

Photograph by 88studio / Shutterstock.com

Technology-facilitated abuse seminar

THIS SEMINAR IS IN THE PAST.

Wednesday 10 May 2023, 1 – 2 pm, hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute

Dr Leonie Tanczer, Associate Professor in International Security and Emerging Technologies at University College London and Co-Investigator of the UKPRP Violence, Health and Society (VISION) consortium, presented on technology-facilitated abuse (“tech abuse”) in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) .

She examined the “boundary questions” that tech abuse creates and provided an overview of the current research landscape whilst discussing the findings of a recent comparative survey conducted with UK and Australian support sector representatives.

For further information on the seminar please see: Technology-facilitated abuse in the context of intimate partner violence Tickets, Wed 10 May 2023 at 13:00 | Eventbrite

Photo by David Carillet / Shutterstock.com