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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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A health perspective to the war in Israel and Palestine

Gene Feder, VISION Director and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Bristol, has written an opinion piece with colleagues commenting on events in Israel and Gaza from a public health and primary care perspective. Responding to the war in Israel and Palestine was published in December in the online edition of the British Journal of General Practice.

Gene and his colleagues are GPs working to further the development of family medicine in the occupied Palestinian territory, specifically in the West Bank, but with links to family medicine in Gaza through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and through Medical Aid for Palestinians. They also have friends and family in Israel and Palestine.

They have three responses to the current crisis as informed by their work as GPs and connection to Palestinian primary care:

  1. A plea for the protection of health care and health professionals amid the war
  2. A plea for the preservation of public health amid war
  3. A recognition that in the aftermath of October 7th and the invasion of Gaza, the widespread direct and vicarious trauma in Israeli and Palestinian populations will result in permanent physical and emotional damage: the former in the shape of orthopaedic, neurological, and gynaecological (as a result of rape) harm, the latter in the form of widespread anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder which will also cascade down the generations.

Given VISION’s commitment to developing evidence on violence prevention, we will be organising roundtable meetings bringing together researchers focusing on post-conflict violence reduction. This is an opportunity for dialogue, perhaps leading to new perspectives and research including systematic assessment of sustainable post-conflict interventions as well as further joint activities.

For further information on the opinion piece, please see: Responding to the war in Israel and Palestine

Photograph by Emad El Byed on Unsplash

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

Making change happen in primary care: the story of IRIS

VISION Director and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Bristol Medical School, Gene Feder, was a keynote speaker at the webinar: Making change happen in primary care – The IRIS story, on 28 November 2023.

With his co-presenter, Medina Johnson, CEO of IRIS, they shared the story of the concept and ambition that led to the beginning of the social enterprise established in 2017 to promote and improve the healthcare response to domestic violence and abuse (DVA).

DVA is a violation of human rights that damages the health of women and families. The health care sector, including primary care, has been slow to respond to the needs of patients affected by DVA, not least because of uncertainty about the effectiveness of training clinicians in identification and engagement with survivors of abuse.

To address that uncertainty, Gene and Medina conducted a cluster-randomised trial in Hackney and Bristol, finding that both identification and referral to specialist DVA services substantially increased in the intervention practices.

In the webinar they mapped the (not always smooth) trajectory from trial results to a nationally available programme commissioned by Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and local authorities in over 50 areas to date, including getting into guidelines/policy, further implementation research, negotiating with commissioners, and setting up a social enterprise (IRISi) to drive the scaling up of the intervention.

For further information please watch the webinar video below.

For any questions or comments, please contact IRISi at info@irisi.org

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

Dr Annie Bunce receives award at Lancet Public Health Science conference

Dr Annie Bunce

Dr Annie Bunce, VISION Research Fellow, was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the Lancet Public Health Science conference in London this November. She presented on the Prevalence, nature and associations of workplace bullying and harassment with mental health conditions in England: a cross-sectional probability sample survey.

Annie’s research, conducted with VISION colleagues Ladan Hashemi, Sally McManus, and others, presents the first nationally representative findings on the prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment in England for over a decade. Annie analysed data from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) to demonstrate: the prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment (WBH) in the working population in England; the nature of WBH experienced, who it was perpetrated by and the types of behaviour it involved; and associations between the experience of WBH and indicators of adverse mental health.

The study is unique in that the APMS makes robust assessments of mental health – operationalising diagnostic criteria – which provides an accurate assessment of clinical need. Implications for employers, policymakers, health services and researchers are outlined.

For the article, please see: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)02066-4/fulltext

Please contact Annie at annie.bunce@city.ac.uk for further information.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

VISION Research Fellow chaired European Public Health Association conference symposium

Dr Anastasia Fadeeva

We’re delighted that one of VISION’s core researchers, Dr Anastasia Fadeeva, chaired a symposium at the upcoming European Public Health Association (EUPHA) conference in November in Dublin.

The workshop, Responding to violence and abuse across the life-course, presented a range of analyses – drawing on data from New Zealand, Germany and the UK – that addressed the ways in which violence and abuse manifest at different life stages, including in childhood, among working-age adults, and in later life.

The presentations highlighted differences across the life course, as well as commonalities. They demonstrated the long-term, even life long, shadow that violence and abuse can cast over people’s health, and provided evidence of the extensive costs for society. Health impacts were shown to be broad, not only anxiety and depression, but substance dependence, chronic physical health conditions, and related health risks such as obesity.

This symposium comprised four presentations that each considered violence and abuse prevalent at a particular stage of life, and provided evidence to inform the sensitive tailoring of responses from and for families, schools, health and social services, workplace human resource employees, and care and residential homes. 

For further information on the conference, please see: 16th European Public Health Conference (ephconference.eu)

Or contact Anastasia at anastasia.fadeeva@city.ac.uk

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash