Domestic Violence Research

6 May

Whilst the general public regularly cite their fear of being the victim of random acts of violence, the truth is that most people are at significantly greater risk of experiencing harm from those they live with or who are known to them. Within the United Kingdom significant numbers of both women (13%) and men (9%) have been subjected to at least one incident of domestic violence during their lifetime. Whilst there is a growing understanding of the issue there still remains much to be understood about the causes and impact of violence within intimate relationships, and the most effective ways of intervening.

The devolved administrations in the United Kingdom have recently published strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of domestic violence while simultaneously ensuring support for both adult and child victims, and stronger sanctions against perpetrators. There is a need therefore to ensure that policy makers and service providers are supported by academics in finding and interpreting the research that can inform policy and practice. As such the Domestic Violence Research Special Interest Group has been established in Northern Ireland. Convened by Dr John Devaney and Dr Anne Lazenbatt from the School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work its aims are to:

–       Facilitate the sharing of research findings and discussions of the implications for practice and policy

–       Promote the evidence base informing policy and practice relating to domestic violence

–       Promote the development of ideas for new areas of research and enquiry

–       Encourage networking between members

At present the Special Interest Group has over one hundred members from forty-one different organisations across the island of Ireland. This represents academic institutions, Government departments, statutory agencies and non-governmental organisations in the voluntary and community sectors. There is representation from individuals working within the criminal justice, health, social care and education sectors, and support organisations working with adult and child victims.

Recent developments include a scoping exercise to identify any research on domestic violence undertaken in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, and the establishment of a domestic violence research listserv to facilitate networking. Members of the group are also undertaking a variety of different local, national and international research studies.

If you are interested in the work of the Domestic Violence Research Special Interest Group then please contact either John ( or Anne (


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