Violence Against Women and Girls Research Cluster (VAWGRC)

About us

The Violence Against Women and Girls Research Cluster (VAWGRC) was established in 2015 as an alliance of interdisciplinary, cross-faculty academics and researchers who have a track record of experience and expertise in the field of interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence and gender inequalities. The impact of violence against women and girls clearly intersects with matters of poverty, public assistance, employment and housing, thereby linking broadly to matters of social welfare. We recognise that to be effective in reducing the prevalence and impact of violence against women and girls a multidisciplinary, multiagency and multimethod response is required.

The VAWGRC stands for the prevention, protection and support for all victims of violence with a specific focus on women and girls. To do this we will contribute to local, regional, national and international understanding and response to all forms of violence and abuse through research and evaluation studies, and help to raise the profile of what works in combatting violence against women and girls.

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Aims

The VAWGRC aims to:

  • Support high quality cross-faculty proposals and bids for research and evaluation funding
  • Deliver excellence in research projects and dissemination outputs which improve experiences and outcomes of generalised and specialised service provision
  • Keep up-to-date with developments in VAWG to contribute to curriculum activities to encourage and generate innovative thinking in new areas for research
  • Develop partnerships with local, regional, national and international organisations that tackle VAWG
  • Assemble a network of national and international research partners and collaborators
  • To develop research capacity in VAWG by mentoring, training and supporting the career development of members to fulfil their potential in this specialist subject niche
  • Support members to produce high quality publications in academic and practice journals
  • Raise awareness and promote the VAWGRC and its research, evaluation and related activities via an Internet presence, conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Convert research and evaluation into policy and practice through concerted political, service and community engagement
  • Increase the core membership of the VAWGRC for sustainability and growth

Research Projects

An Evaluation of Building Sustainable Change for VAWG: 'Making Change Happen'

Commissioned by Wolverhampton City Council in January 2018, the aim of this two-year evaluation is to provide an independent evidence-based appraisal of whether and how the project has achieved its objectives of embedding sustainable change in three main strands of innovation in the City of Wolverhampton. The objectives of the evaluation are to understand the mechanisms by which the project engenders sustainable change in relation to VAWG services, to develop a Theory of Change to inform a measurement framework by collecting baseline data, to investigate how (and how effectively) the project is working - process analysis, and to measure key outcomes - impact analysis. The evaluation will take a mixed methods approach comprising key informant interviews and analysis of monitoring and performance data.

'Lightbulb Moments': Evaluation of the Power to Change/Freedom Educational Self-help Programme

Commissioned by The Haven Wolverhampton in 2017, this seven-month evaluation sought to assess the effectiveness of the pilot delivery of the Power to Change Programme to clients of The Haven, and the subsequent Power to Change/Freedom Programme, a hybrid of the two evidence-based programmes. The objectives were to reveal the point at which women trigger a change in their thinking and decision-making processes, i.e., what women recognise was the turning point for them, to determine what could be included in this and other training programmes to help other women, and to establish if there is a point at which the programme is best delivered, e.g., early, during or when women exit services. Measures of effectiveness included weekly, mid-term and end-term self-completion evaluation forms, one-to-one sensitive interviews with clients who had taken part in the programme, interviews with the Training Coordinator and Peer Mentor, and psychological measures of self-efficacy (Generalised Self-Efficacy Scale) and self-esteem (Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale) delivered at the start and end of the programme to measure change over time.

Experiences of Gender-Based Violence and Help-seeking at the University of Wolverhampton

This unfunded research project completed in 2016 aimed to provide an evidence base for the development of a policy to address gender-based violence and abuse and disclosures of such incidents on campus. The objectives were to determine the prevalence of gender-based violence and disclosures of incidents on campus, and included staff and students, and to determine the extent of support needs for staff and students in relation to effective responses to disclosures. Data collection consisted of two on-line surveys (one for staff, one for students) and follow-up interviews with survey completers who identified as wishing to take part in an interview.

 

Member Subject Expertise and Research skills

The VAWGRC comprises individuals who, combined, can deliver the aims of the group within its qualifications and expertise in the disciplines of psychology, public health, mental health, criminology, social work, social care and social policy. We practice inclusivity, accessibility, and equality underpinned by the highest of ethical standards. We offer a range of research and evaluation methods with a mix of qualitative, quantitative and policy analysis skills, for example, critical literature reviewing, epidemiology and statistics, evaluation framework designs to demonstrate process and impact, and ‘soft touch’ interviewing and focus group work with survivors of violence and abuse.

Dr Angela Morgan, Senior Researcher

Angela, the founding member of the VAWGRC, has extensive experience in social research, consultation and evaluation of social policy and practice. She has contributed to and led national, regional and local multi-disciplinary projects on domestic and sexual violence, having been actively involved in research in this area over the last thirteen years. Her key research area has been in improving the health and wellbeing of victims and survivors of intimate partner and interpersonal violence and abuse by working for a range of commissioning bodies. Examples of Angela’s research projects include evaluating specialist domestic violence courts in England and Wales, counselling for victims of domestic violence, education as empowerment, sexual violence data analysis, domestic violence needs assessment, sexual violence needs assessment, and evaluating retractions in cases of domestic violence. Angela has also given conference presentations on boys as hidden victims of honour based violence in Denmark, and integrated care pathways for victims. She is also a peer reviewer for the international journal Violence Against Women, Co-Editor of the University of Wolverhampton's in-house Journal of Health and Social Care Improvement, and Guest Editor of the Intersectional and Cultural Aspects of Schools Related Gender-based Violence in Europe 

Christine Lyle, Senior Lecturer in Public Health

As the Award Leader for the Masters in Public Health, Chris has developed strong links with domestic violence services within the local area in order to raise the profile of domestic violence as a public health issue both nationally and internationally. Through her research, Chris brings specialist knowledge and experience in the area of domestic violence management and resources. She is currently in her final year of her PhD which focuses on organisational responses to domestic violence prevention and their impact on policy development. Prior to this, Chris conducted evaluations of domestic violence perpetrator programmes within the West Midlands, presenting findings to local domestic violence organisations and at national conferences. Her methodological expertise lies in evaluative research methods, the development of audit tools, policy and documentary analysis, literature review and critical discourse analysis. Chris has many years of experience in both teaching and researching the area of domestic violence. She has developed specific teaching modules focused on different aspects of violence within the postgraduate portfolio within the Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing and has been instrumental in including aspects of child related domestic violence into programmes such as School Nursing and Health Visiting. She has actively encouraged students to focus on domestic violence as a public health issue for their postgraduate research studies. Chris also has an extensive knowledge of research ethics through her membership of the School of Health and Well-Being Ethics Committee.

Dr Karlie Stonard, Lecturer in Criminology

Karlie’s past research interests have been in the area of domestic violence and its impact on children and young people. Her PhD research explored the role of technology (i.e. mobile phones and social media) in the nature and prevalence of adolescent dating violence, in addition to adolescents’ perceptions of the potential impact of technology use in dating violence. This research also explored the role of peer and attachment influences in self-reported dating violence among adolescents. Karlie has voluntary work experience as a Children's Worker for a domestic violence intervention service.

Chris Whitehouse, Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care

Chris is a former manager of community mental health services in East Staffordshire and has more than 20 years’ involvement in child protection and the support of adult survivors. His current interests are focused on prevention through bystander intervention training and supporting efforts that empower women and children to speak out on violence and abuse.

Dr Clare Williams, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

Before entering the higher education sector, Clare’s work centred around children and family services and this has remained central to her teaching and research interests. She has been involved in a number of local community evaluations in and around Wolverhampton looking at service provision and service transformation. The central theme of Clare’s research interests lies in evaluating the impact of austerity and the way local services can adapt and evolve to service the current economic and political climate.

Postgraduate Doctoral Students

Ngozika Jane Hemuka (PhD)

The continuation of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: men's perceptions and perpetuating factors

Emma Danks (PhD)

A qualitative retrospective study of the experiences of women who live with female genital mutilation accessing maternity services in the UK

Bushrah Banaris (Doctorate in Counselling Psychology)

Understanding honour based violence: the role of sexism and scripting amongst Pakistani adults living in rural Pakistan Administered Kashmir and the UK

Vik Kelly-Teare (Doctorate in Health and Wellbeing)

The un/abused: emic perspectives on discourses of domestic violence in lesbian relationships

Chris Lyle (PhD)

Domestic violence policy: what's the problem? A critical analysis of discursive struggle in domestic violence policy (2000 - 2017)

We welcome discussions with prospective doctoral students and applications of Expressions of Interest for innovative ideas for all areas of research in the field of violence against women and girls. We welcome initial discussions via the VAWGRC in the first instance (see Contact Us below), but more advice, guidance and administrative support for admissions, please refer to our S.T.a.R Office.

Relevant Publications

Research and evaluation reports

Morgan, A. (2017) 'Lightbulb moments': evaluation of the pilot Power to Change educational self-help programme. For The Haven Wolverhampton.

Morgan, A. (2016) Impact Case Studies. A research report For The Haven Wolverhampton. 

Morgan, A., Stonard, K., Lyle, C., Williams, C., and Bellingham-Young, D. (2017) Experiences of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and other forms of Violence and Help-seeking at the University of Wolverhampton. Unfunded research.

Williams, C., Morgan, A., Stonard, K., Bellingham-Young, D., and Lyle, C. (2016) Report of an Evaluation of Pearl House, Specialist Domestic Violence Mental Health Refuge, Wolverhampton. For The Haven Wolverhampton. 

 

Peer-reviewed publications

Bohne, S., Carrilho, P., Morgan, A., Silva, A and Silva, M. (2016) European women’s views on specialist counselling for female survivors of domestic violence and abuse, Journal of Health and Social Care Improvement, 1(1), 1-7. 

Eshareturi, C., Lyle, C and Morgan, A. (2014) Policy Responses to Honour Based Violence: A Cultural or National Problem? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 23(4), 1–14.  

Eshareturi, C., Morgan, A. and Lyle, C. (2015) Proposed reforms to UK policy on honour based violence: the big societal divide? Journal of Health and Social Care Improvement, April 2015.

Lyle, C., Morgan, A and Stonard, K. (in prep) Challenging institutional taboos: identifying and responding to violence on university campuses in the UK, Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Stonard, K. E., Bowen, E., Walker, K., and Shelley, P. (2017) "They’ll always find a way to get to you": technology use in adolescent romantic relationships and its role in dating violence and abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(14), 2083-2117.

Stonard, K. E., Bowen, E., and Walker, K. (2015) Can I Check Your Messages?: Teens, Social Media, and Obsessive and Controlling Dating Behaviours. Every Child Journal, Vol 5.1, p. 12-18.

Stonard, K. E., Bowen, E., Lawrence, T., Shelley, P. (2014). The relevance of technology to the nature, prevalence, and impact of adolescent dating violence and abuse: a research synthesis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(4), 390-417.

Stonard, K. E. and Bowen, E. (submitted). The Influence of Attachment to Parents, Friends, and Partners on the Relationship Between Friend Dating Violence and Self-Reported Experiences of Technology-Assisted and Offline Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse. Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Stonard, K. E. (submitted). Technology-Assisted Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse: A Factor Analysis of the Nature of Electronic Communication Technology Used Across Twelve Types of Abusive and Controlling Behaviour. Computers in Human Behaviour.

Stonard, K. E. The prevalence and overlap of technology-assisted and offline adolescent dating violence and abuse. Journal of Social Networks.

Stonard, K. E. Correlates of technology-assisted adolescent dating violence and abuse. Social Development.

Stonard, K. E. Technology was designed for this: adolescents’ perceptions of the role and impact of the use of electronic communication technology in technology-assisted adolescent dating violence and abuse. Psychology of Violence.

 

Conference papers, presentations and workshops

Lyle, C and Morgan, A. (Nov, 2016) Institutional culture vs individual experience: challenging institutional barriers in order to develop a policy fit for purpose. Universities UK (London) conference on Tackling violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. 3 November 2016.

Lyle, C and Morgan, A. (Sept 2016) Preventing and effectively responding to violence on campus: developing a University policy. Social Welfare Research Seminar, Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton. 20 September 2016.

Stonard L. et al. (June 2017) Challenging institutional taboos: identifying and responding to violence on university campuses in the UK. Interpersonal Violence Interventions - Social and Cultural Perspectives International conference. University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, 14-16 June 2017.

Stonard, K. (June 2015). A Qualitative Study Exploring the Impact of Technology-Assisted Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse. Presentation at the Violence: Children, Family, and Society Conference, University of Northampton, UK, June 2015.

Stonard, K. E. (2014). They’ll Always Find a Way to Get to You: Adolescent Experiences of Social media, Romantic Relationships, and Controlling Behaviours. Presentation at the Violence and Interpersonal Aggression (VIA) Special Interest Group Inaugural Conference, Coventry University, UK, October 2014.

Stonard, K. E. (2014). A Qualitative Study Exploring the Relevance of Technology to Adolescent Dating Violence. Presentation as part of the symposium: Perspectives on intimate partner violence, at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference, International Convention Centre, Birmingham, UK, May 2014.

 

Articles in preparation

Lyle, C., Morgan, A, Stonard, K, and Williams, C. Managing Disclosures of VAWG on University Campus: Developing a Safe Environment to Report Abuse and Gendered Aggression’.

Stonard, K. E. Explaining adolescent dating violence and abuse and technology-assisted adolescent dating violence and abuse: risk factors and correlates. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, OR Criminology.

Tsouroufli, M, Morgan, A., Stonard, K. et al. Guest Editorial team for Special Issue of the International Perspectives to Equality and Diversity, entitled ‘Intersectional and cultural aspects of schools related gender-based violence in Europe’.

Wright, A and Morgan, A. Holistic evidence-based assessments and early help: rhetoric and reality in the current policy context, Critical Practice Studies. 

Resources

UK legislation

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UK policy

Content under preparation

Regional and local policy and strategy

Content under preparation

Calendar of Activities

VAWGRC meeting schedule

The group meets on the University of Wolverhampton city campus on a monthly basis, on the first Monday of each month (or thereabouts). For further details, please contact us at the address below

VAWG annual events

Content under preparation

Contact us

You can commission the VAWGRC to provide

  • Primary research and literature reviews to inform best practice for innovative community initiatives
  • Large- and small-scale formative and summative evaluations of national, regional and local initiatives
  • Mixed method evaluations incorporating qualitative and quantitative approaches, such as interviews, focus groups, documentary analysis, surveys, analysis of numerical monitoring data
  • Transformation of evaluation findings into practical recommendations for research and practice including, where required, tools and resources for service improvement
  • Dissemination of evaluation findings across key stakeholders and the communities they serve

We take a realistic approach to our work and are committed to work in partnership to ensure we deliver products of research and evaluation activities which are fit for our clients’ purpose, and to ensure that findings are used to inform community project and programme development.

Or if you are interested in joining the VAWGRC (we welcome new internal and external members), or advertising your conference, seminar, event, teaching award, training opportunities, please contact the Cluster Lead Dr Angela Morgan at Angela-Morgan@wlv.ac.uk