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Impact Case Studies

Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes - Broadening understandings, influencing public policies, and changing practice

Project Mirabal is an award-winning programme of research that has changed how Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes (DVPPs) are researched, understood, commissioned, funded, regulated, designed and implemented across the world - particularly in the UK, USA and Australia.

Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes (DVPPs) are group work programmes that aim to change the behaviour of perpetrators in order to increase the safety of victims and children. However, their funding, development and inclusion in government policy have been stilted due to contested academic evidence about whether they 'work'. The project developed six 'measures of success' and these new measures represented a transformative shift in how the potential impact of DVPPs could be viewed.

These changes have informed: i) UK policy, specifically contributing to perpetrator sections of the UK Government 'Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy' and being used by a range of political and third sector stakeholders to increase the focus on perpetrators in the Domestic Abuse Bill; ii) in the European Commission, through being the reference point for good practice in measuring the effectiveness of DVPPs under Article 16 of the Istanbul Convention; iii) effecting changes to DVPP programme delivery in the UK and internationally; and iv) changing domestic violence practitioner perceptions about measuring success and 'what works' for DVPPs.

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Achieving Fairer Admission to UK Universities

Research led by Professor Vikki Boliver has been used by the UK government to press higher-tariff universities to close longstanding ethnic inequalities in university acceptance rates and to make admissions data available to researchers, policymakers and the general public (Boliver 2013 & 2016).

Professor Boliver research with colleagues in Durham's Department of Sociology and School of Education has also been used to support reinvigorated national widening participation and fair access policies in England and Scotland, centred on the use of contextual data about the socio-economic circumstances of applicants to inform admissions decisions (Boliver et al 2020, 2021a & 2021b). This body of research has helped to bring about a paradigm shift in the way universities assess applicant merit and has helped kick-start a new and sustained trend towards more equitable access to higher-tariff universities for prospective students from different ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.

You can read some of Professor Boliver's research publications here:

Children and Young People with HSB: Improving policy and professional practices

A ground-breaking long-term programme of research at Durham University's (DU) Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, led by Professor Simon Hackett, into children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) has transformed policy and practice in the UK and shaped international responses to this issue.

Through the generation and translation of research evidence and insights into a range of unique policy tools and practice-facing resources, the research has: (1) underpinned the development of the first-ever national-level public health guidelines on the topic of HSB, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); (2) co-produced an innovative operational framework with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on this issue, leading to more consistent inter-agency structures and policy and practice responses across child protection and health agencies in the UK and beyond; and (3) led to the establishment of a screening tool and assessment framework that has been adopted as recommended models throughout the UK and internationally by a wide range of professionals working with this issue.

Through the extensive uptake of core concepts and evidence, this work has led to a paradigm shift in professional responses towards this group of children, as well as significant developments in policy and service delivery frameworks throughout the UK, Europe and Australia.

Image (right sidebar) by Tom Hull / NSPCC. Full model release, as per the terms of the NSPCC Consent Form.

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