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Current Projects

Below is a list of some of the research projects being undertaken by CRiVA staff members currently. 

 

Desist 

CRiVA members: Professor Nicole Westmarland and Rosanna Bellini 

Time Out” is a common strategy that is taught within domestic violence perpetrator programmes, as a last resort to prevent the occurrence of violence between current or previously intimate partners. It involves taking oneself (the perpetrator) out of their immediate environment, for an agreed period time, to reflect and manage their own behaviour, before returning. Despite its pervasiveness and outlined concerns that ‘Time Out’ is being implemented incorrectly, or in the worst cases misappropriated as another tool of abuse, little research has been performed in what tools could aid in assisting men to perform this activity correctly. This research project aims to understand what technical requirements are essential to be built into supportive tools to enhance responsibility for abusive behaviour, while contributing to a safer environment for victim-survivors. While in its nascent stages, this work plans to conduct a series of scoping interviews and design workshops with service providers, service users and software developers to encourage deeper conversation in the design of preventative tools. We are keen for the final design of the tool to be implemented, and trialled through heuristic, user testing alongside existing domestic violence perpetrator programmes, to assist providers in ensuring course content is learned and implemented effectively. 

 

Digital Duluth 

CRiVA members: Professor Nicole Westmarland and Rosanna Bellini 

Since the early 1980s, a small community in northern Minnesota (US) has led the way in innovating ways to prioritise victim-survivors safety, and hold men that use violence in relationships accountable for their actions. Despite evolving and changing over the last three decades, crossing continents and being translated into over fifteen languages, the role of technology within the delivery of domestic abuse intervention programs. While digital tools have become a necessity for societal and interpersonal communication, these have to be designed and implemented carefully to ensure the content and mode of delivery of such programs are not lost. Through a partnership with Partnerships with Family Peace and Menswork Program in Family Violence, we sought to explore what role video conferencing technologies might play in emerging programs by taking part in the evaluation of their 40-week batterers intervention program. This research aims to explore what are the perceptions of using video conferencing software in the delivery of sensitive content, how does the use of video conferencing impact group dynamics, and identify the constraints and benefits of using digitally-facilitated communication to inform future perpetrator courses. Through the use of a mixed methods approach, including semi-structured interviews, digital ethnographies and quantitative survey data, we aim to capture a complete picture of how the introduction of this tool can illuminate some of the unknowns within this space. 

 

Domestic violence perpetrator programmes: how do they respond to neurodiversity?

CRiVA member: Dr Nicole Renehan

Funding: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Domestic violence perpetrator programmes are one type of intervention used to reduce men’s use of intimate partner violence. These programmes are usually developed with a neuroatypical population in mind. Previous research on criminal justice programmes in England and Wales identified that autistic men and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience barriers to programme engagement. This project, therefore, seeks to explore the experiences and perspectives of professionals working in organisations that provide a programme as part of their services to identify the challenges and strengths of neuroatypical individuals, and to identify and/or make interventions more responsive to them. More details about the research and how to get involved can be found the project website.

 

Engaging with the business sector to prevent violence against women and build gender equality

Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Durham University Covid-19 Response Fund

CRiVA member: Dr Stephen Burrell

Dr Stephen Burrell undertook an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2019-2020, where he carried out key-informant interviews to explore opportunities to engage men in the prevention of violence against women in the business sector. He has created a briefing paper for businesses and workplaces on this topic. Subsequently he has also carried out a survey with local social enterprise Changing Relations, to examine how businesses in the North East of England are addressing gender equality issues, and how these have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis - you can read the findings from this research here.

 

From Report to Court 

CRiVA member: Dr Hannah Bows

 

Image-Based Sexual Abuse in the UK, Australia and New Zealand

Funded by: Australian Research Council

CRiVA members: Professor Clare McGlynn and Dr Kelly Johnson 

The project, led by Dr Nicola Henry (RMIT, Australia), aims to be the first international, empirical and comparative study to establish the prevalence, nature and impact of image-based sexual abuse in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and examine the diverse legal responses to this harm. Little is known about how widespread these behaviours are, or the extent of resulting social, economic and psychological harms. The study aims to generate new knowledge, a theoretical framework and a much-needed evidence base to develop law reform and strategic interventions. 

Read the report.

 

Learning Advisor 

Funded by: Comic Relief 

CRiVA member: Dr Hannah Bows 

This 18 month project involves providing project management support and overseeing/evaluating the collective learning from a grant programme supporting frontline projects providing services to older women who have experienced violence and abuse. 

 

 

'Let's Talk About Sex' Project

CRiVA members: Dr Hannah King, Professor Catherine Donovan, Dr Alison Jobe, Dr Geetanjali Gangoli and Professor Simon Forrest

CRiVA are supporting Changing Relations to undertake a participatory arts-based project with young people aged 16-24 across the North East to explore their experiences of sex and relationships, including consent, gender norms, roles and behaviours, LGBT+ visibility, sexism, harassment, shame and sexual assault.

 

Male victims of domestic abuse

CRiVA members: Professor Nicole Westmarland, Dr Stephen Burrell, Alishya Dhir, Dr Kirsten Hall, Ecem Hasan, Dr Kelly Henderson

A team of CRiVA researchers carried out a study with Respect in 2020 to investigate the experiences of male victim-survivors of domestic violence and abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic. This involved anonymously observing 344 calls and e-mails to the Men's Advice Line. The findings from the research have been shared in a preliminary report, and we plan to publish more in-depth analysis from the study in the near future.

 

Mapping the learning from domestic homicides in Newcastle 

CRiVA members: Dr Hannah Bows 

Funded by: Newcastle City Council 

This project is evaluating the domestic homicide reviews undertaken since 2013 to identify common learning outcomes, action plans and the extent to which these have led to change. 

  

'Now and Men: Current Conversations About Men's Lives' Podcast

CRiVA members: Dr Stephen Burrell, Sandy Ruxton, Professor Nicole Westmarland

Funded by: Durham University

CRiVA researchers have created a monthly podcast series to explore issues of men, masculinities and gender equality in the 21st century, and the myriad ways in which feminism is relevant to the lives of men and boys. You can listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or at now-and-men.captivate.fm.

 

Police Responses to Domestic Abuse Ethnographic Study 

Project partners: The College of Policing 

CRiVA members: Professor Nicole Westmarland and Dr Kelly Johnson 

Through the use of ethnography, this study will examine police officers’ understanding of and attitudes towards domestic abuse, as they ‘play out’ in everyday practice across the police organisation. The study will also examine policies and processes, the interactions between officers’ attitudes and understanding and the processes they work with, and wider organisational factors such as performance frameworks and resourcing, in the context of policing domestic abuse. Researchers from Durham University and the College of Policing are conducting this study with one police force in the North of England and one force in the South, and will work collaboratively to produce academic outputs. This proposed research aims to address a significant lacuna in contemporary, contextual knowledge about the policing of domestic abuse in the UK. 

 

Profiling Older Sex Offenders 

CRiVA member: Dr Hannah Bows 

This ongoing project with Greater Manchester Police is examining the backgrounds and offending histories of sex offenders aged 60 and over. 

 

Prosecuting, Defending, Sentencing: Infant Killing and the Role of the Law and Courts in England and Wales

CRiVA member: Dr Emma Milne

Women who kill their infants have traditionally been treated with leniency and sympathy. However, recent cases suggest a shift in approach. To understand this change, Dr Emma Milne will interview legal professionals about their perceptions of these cases and the role of the law.

 

Reforming the Law on Cyberflashing

CRiVA members: Professor Clare McGlynn and Dr Kelly Johnson 

McGlynn and Johnson’s recently published book Cyberflashing: Recognising Harms, Reforming Laws. (2021) provides the first comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of cyberflashing – where a penis is sent to someone without their consent - and options for law reform. It conceptualises cyberflashing as a form of sexual intrusion, as well as examining the nature and harms of this abuse, analysing the current law and comparative examples, and puts forward detailed proposals for law reform. Further information can be found here.

 

Sexual Violence at UK Music Festivals

CRiVA members: Dr Hannah Bows and Professor Nicole Westmarland 

Funded by: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 

This 18 month project is exploring the extent, nature and responses to sexual violence at UK music festivals.

 

Sexually Violent Pornography on Mainstream Pornography Websites

CRiVA members: Professor Clare McGlynn

Durham colleagues including Professor Clare McGlynn and Dr Fiona Vera-Grey (now London Metropolitan University) found that 1 in 8 titles on the landing pages of the most popular porn websites describe sexually violent pornography. This research is free to access and download from the British Journal of Criminology. This research raises serious questions about the extent of criminal material freely advertised on mainstream pornography websites, the accountability of porn companies and the efficacy of current regulatory measures. This research was reported across the world, including in the Sunday Times and New York Timesas well as being debated and translated across Europe and asia.

 

State, Communities and Familial Regulation of Young People's Sexuality and Gender in England

CRiVA members: Dr Geetanjali Gangoli, Professor Catherine Donovan and Dr Hannah King 

The research aims to enable young people to have greater autonomy over the development of their sexuality and gender in their transition to adulthood by providing new knowledge to appropriate statutory (e.g. education, police) and third sector agencies (e.g. youth work) and policy makers about their needs. Regulatory and facilitatory factors shaping sexuality and gender that operate through families, communities and the state will be explored including how young people’s coexisting intersecting identities (e.g. of religion/faith, ethnicity/race, dis/ability) and access to resources (social class, citizenship) mitigate and/or inhibit young people’s claims to their identities (in progress) of gender and sexuality. Participatory research will be undertaken with a range of partner organisations and young people (aged 16-24) in the North East.

 

The climate crisis as masculine violence? Engaging men in caring for the planet

CRiVA member: Dr Stephen Burrell

Funding: Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship

This project is focusing on masculinity in the climate crisis. It is exploring the connections between men's violences and environmental harm, together with how to work with men and boys to build more caring relationships with the natural world.