From boys to men: New research on domestic violence

Picture of the top of Keele Hall Building


Posted on 25 May 2010

The Economic and Social Research Council is about to announce that it will fund a major new research study on what can be done to stop more young men becoming perpetrators of domestic violence in later life. The research study will run over the next three years and be based in North Staffordshire. The study will be led by Drs Claire Fox (Psychology) and David Gadd (Criminology) at Keele University, in collaboration with Ian Butler, Professor of Social Work at the University of Bath.

The main aim of the research is to produce an answer to the question as to why some young men grow up to be perpetrators of domestic abuse - and to learn more about how we can prevent them from becoming reliant on a range of violent, controlling and threatening behaviours. There are three key elements to the research design.

1. An attitudinal scale, together with questions about victimization and offending, will be administered to 1200 school children.

2. Focus groups will be conducted with teenagers about the circumstances in which violence becomes regarded as acceptable and unacceptable.

3. In-depth interviews will be conduced with 30 young men aged 16-19 who have either suffered domestic violence in their own homes, and/or have perpetrated it against their own partners.

The study is particularly timely as it comes ahead of the planned roll out of compulsory domestic violence education in the UK from 2012. It will also be of paramount local significance. The project team will provide a quasi-experimental evaluation of the Relationships Without Fear Programme currently provided to children in North Staffordshire by Arch. They will also host a series of best practice events over its 3 duration aimed at developing dialogue between practitioners working in this field and establishing best practice guidance for those working with young people at risk of victimization or becoming offenders. A multi-agency steering group will be formed shortly to support the project. The role of the steering group will be to: ensure the research team adopts safe and collaborative working practices in conjunction with local practitioner organisations; to identify the kinds of events and guidance the project should develop in order to support organisations working locally and nationally in the field of domestic abuse prevention; to maximise the benefits of the research to those working to redress the effects of domestic abuse on children.

Further details are available on request from:

Dr David Gadd: Email:  Tel: 01782 733598
Dr Claire Fox:   Email:    Tel: 01782 733330