Woman have a discussion with a table of people

The future of domestic violence and abuse research in Wales: Setting an agenda for public health

This workshop has been recorded.

Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a global public health issue that can be experienced by anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, cultural or religious group (WHO, 2019) and is associated with detrimental physical and psychological health effects (Afifi et al., 2009; Boyle et al., 2006; Devries et al., 2013; Oram et al., 2017). DVA is highly prevalent, with an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16-74 experiencing DVA across England and Wales in 2019 (ONS, 2019). The Home Office estimates the cost of domestic violence in the UK was approximately £66 billion in 2019. This excludes the cost associated with emotional and financial abuse and the impact on children.

DVA is defined as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and/or emotional.' Legal definitions of DVA mean that only those over aged 16 can be prosecuted for DVA, leading to the misconception that DVA is only experienced in adult relationships. However, emerging evidence indicates DVA can also be experienced by children and young people (e.g. Young et al, 2019).  

Health and Care Research Wales funds the DECIPHer research centre, which focuses on developing, evaluating and implementing interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people. A new interdisciplinary research programme within DECIPHer called ‘Healthy Relationships’, has a particular emphasis on DVA. The centre is already conducting research into this area, but stakeholder engagement is needed to further progress its future research priorities.

Within the workshop, we plan to present the research currently being undertaken to address domestic violence in three different settings; secondary schools, third sector organisations and healthcare, informing delegates of the current evidence. The workshop will reflect on this evidence and engage the delegates in interactive activities and discussions, with the aim to prioritise and agree on a future research agenda in Wales.