• Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm

    Gripped fist

Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm

In the Connect Research Centre we do research to influence change and to prevent and reduce all forms of sexual, gender based and interpersonal violence against adults, children and young people. We are called ‘Connect’ because we are making connections between:

  • Responding to overlapping forms of violence and violence experienced at different stages of life, such as gendered violence to adults and violence, abuse and neglect of children
  • How we understand and respond to violence across different areas of knowledge and practice, such as social work, criminal justice, health, education, the voluntary sector
  • Understanding and preventing violence across different relationships, countries, settings, communities, cultural and political contexts
  • Research, policy and practice

Our research is policy and practice focused and often collaborative, working with other researchers and organisations both in the UK and internationally. We also provide a specialist environment for PhD and postgraduate research training; consultancy; a forum and opportunities for cross disciplinary and international networking, debate and collective influencing through the Connect Members Network; and support activities for knowledge exchange and the use of research to influence change.

Presentations from the third Connect Centre Conference held on the 15 September 2020 are now available to download - please go to the Events and News section below.


Please see the Connect Centre August 2020 newsletter for a round up of the latest news.

Past Newsletters

Expertise and Subject Areas

  • Child protection
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Forced marriage
  • Gendered violence
  • Ethnicity, citizenship and violence
  • Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse
  • Trafficking
  • Polyvictimisation
  • Suicide and self harm
  • Cross national/international perspectives
  • Perpetrators
  • Violent children
  • Violence prevention
  • Prevalence and impact of victimisation
  • Children’s participation
  • Multi-agency working
  • New technologies
  • Abuse in young people’s intimate partner relationships
  • Child advocacy
  • Domestic abuse and adult safeguarding

Connect Centre Seminar Series

To find out about upcoming seminars and to book your free place please contact connectcentre@uclan.ac.uk

  • Tuesday 1 December- Professor Vanessa Munro , Warwick Law School, University of Warwick - ‘Causal Conundrums: Criminal Law, Domestic Abuse and Suicidality’. 
  • Wednesday 3 February 2021 Dr Nicola Farrelly, Connect Centre, UCLan - "It’s about my body and I need to know about that”: Children’s responses to a school-based relationships programme tackling forms of harm and abuse.

Connect Centre Seminar Series

The list below shows previous Connect Centre seminars in reverse chronological order. Please note that many of our past seminars have been video recorded and the link to the video recording may be found at the bottom of the seminar description.

Professor Sandra Walklate

‘Reimagining the Measurement of Femicide: From thin to thick counts’
November 2020. 
Recording (please note the recording starts at slide 4)

Dr Jill Domoney, Kings College London

‘Evaluating Interventions for Pregnant Couples where there is Domestic Violence’
October 2020 

Professor Rebecca J Macy, University of North Carolina, USA

‘Parenting and intimate partner violence’
July 2020

Dr Polly Radcliffe, Kings College London 

What can we learn from dyad research about how substance use contributes to intimate partner abuse perpetration?

Dr Hannah Bows, Associate Professor, University of Durham

‘Crimes of Interpersonal Violence & Abuse in people over 60’

Dr Kelly Bracewell, Connect Centre, UCLan

‘Ask Me: A Community Mobilisation Intervention for Domestic Abuse and Violence’

Ruth Parkes

‘Processing the unthinkable: understanding the experiences of Police officers and civilian staff who work with sexual offence material’

November 2019

Dr Patricia Hynes

‘Contextual Understandings from a Study of ‘Vulnerability’ to Human Trafficking from Albania, Viet Nam, Nigeria to the UK’

October 2019

Dr Susie Balderstone & Dr Hannah Morgan

‘Improving longer term safety and independence for disabled or Deaf women after violence or abuse’

June 2019

​Dr Geetanjali Gangoli, (This seminar was cancelled)

’What does justice mean for women from Black and Minority Ethnic communities?’

July 2019

Professor Stephanie Holt

‘Addressing the right for children and adolescents to participate in research on gender based violence’

12 May 2019

Professor Judith Harwin
Co-Director Centre for Child & Family Justice Research, Lancaster University

“Evidence informed justice: a new Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales.  What can it contribute?’

April 2019

Dr Kristine Hickle

'Child sexual exploitation: An exploration of challenges, tensions and ways forward'

12 December 2018

Linda Shentall

‘Silenced Voices: Women living at the intersection of domestic abuse and HIV’
Connect Centre, UCLan

3 May 2017

Professor Liz Kelly

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University

7 June 2017

Dr Pam Alldred

Tackling Sexual Violence on Campus: Staff Training or Culture Change?

May 2018

Make Resilience Matter

For Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

April 2018

Watch here: Make Resilience Matter

Professor Claudia Bernard

'The Lived Realities and Experiences of Black Children affected by Abuse and Neglect' Goldsmiths, University of London

1st March 2017, 4 - 5.30pm

Watch here: 'The Lived Realities and Experiences of Black Children affected by Abuse and Neglect'

Professor Patrick O’Leary

10 January 2017, 4-5.30pm,
Greenbank Building, room 202

Integrated Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Protection: Ensuring Perpetrator Accountability Seminar – Case Study experiences from Australia

Watch here: The PATRICIA Project: PAThways and Research in Collaborative Inter-Agency Working

Professor Mhairi Mackenzie
University of Glasgow

7 December 2016
Police To Primary Care: An evaluation of a high risk domestic abuse notification scheme

Watch here: Police To Primary Care: An evaluation of a high risk domestic abuse notification scheme (.mp4 74.8MB)

Dr Carlene Firmin,
Senior Research Fellow, The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation violence and trafficking, University of Bedfordshire

2 November 2016, 4 - 5.30pm

‘From Genograms to Peer-Group Mapping: Building Peer-Influence into Child Protection Assessment and Intervention’

Dr Michaela Rogers

Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford

5 October 2016, 4-5.30pm

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances this seminar has unfortunately been postponed. It is hoped to re-arrange it during 2017.

Caroline Øverlien

University of Stockholm, ‘Narrative encounters with children experiencing domestic violence'

Wednesday 7 September 2016 4.00pm

Watch here: Narrative encounters with children experiencing domestic violence

Professor Adele Jones

Professor of Social Work, Centre for Applied Child, Family and Youth Studies, University of Huddersfield

5th November 2015

'Unsilencing Male Voices in Sexual Abuse against Children: Lessons from the Caribbean'

Dr Ingrid Palmary

Associate Professor, African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand

1 July 2015, 4-5.30pm, Harrington Building, room 320

‘Child migrants and violence on South African borderlands’

This paper is based on ethnographic research that was conducted in two borderlands – the South Africa/Mozambican border and the South Africa/Lesotho border. I use this research as an example to show how the migrant child that is imagined in South African law is a fantasy of the western child imagined in international child rights regimes. I then contrast this legal production of the child (and the vulnerabilities of the child) with the everyday experiences of child migrants at the border. I will argue that child rights regimes imaged as central to the protection of children in fact operate on borderlands to increase children’s exposure to violence and other kinds of mistreatment because of the kind of child and nation that is imagined. In particular, the assumption that the family is the natural place for children and the state is only involved with children whose families neglect these responsibilities is rendered nonsensical for children living in borderlands where the state shapes their otherwise everyday practices and activities. By attending to the historical and contextual production of childhood on borderlands we can understand how the humanitarian impulse to respond to child migrants draws on a universal notion of childhood which creates the conditions for increased violence through rendering borders as natural and movement as a tragedy. This limits the kinds of children and the kinds of violence that are recognised in law thus shaping the possibilities children have for recourse. It also raises questions about the impact on children’s everyday life of the global and local forces that are at work in developing child protection systems and how these can gloss over the complex needs that child migrants may have.

Ingrid joined Wits in 2005 after completing her PhD (psychology) at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Prior to joining Wits she worked at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation as a senior researcher. Her research has been in the field of gender, violence and displacement. She has published in numerous international journals and is the co-editor of Gender and Migration: feminist interventions published by Zed Press and Handbook of International Feminisms: Perspectives on psychology, women, culture and rights published by Springer. Ingrid is also the coordinator of the postgraduate programmes offered at ACMS.

Professor Nicole Westmarland

Co-Director, Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA)

3 June 2015, 4-5.30pm, Harrington Building, room 320

‘Do Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes Work? Lessons From Project Mirabal’

In this presentation I will discuss the headline findings from the longitudinal multi-site research programme I led with Professor Liz Kelly (CWASU). I will briefly describe the methods used, the key findings, and what this means for policy and practice. I will conclude by talking about the strengths and limitations of our approach to researching domestic violence perpetrator programmes, and how our study can help inform future research questions and methods.

Dr Emma Katz

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Childhood Studies at Liverpool Hope University

1 April 2015, 4-5.30pm, Greenbank Building, room 202

‘New Perspectives on Mother-Child Relationships and Domestic Violence and Abuse: Mothers and Children as 'Recovery-Promoters', Children's Agency and the Bilateral Model’

The issue of how mothers and children experiencing domestic violence and abuse maintain their togetherness is vital one, but is under-explored. Usually, within the field, focus is placed on mothers, whose parenting is seen as promoting or not promoting resilience in their (passive) children. This paper, based on interviews conducted with 30 mothers and children for my Ph.D. study, stresses children's and mothers' inter-relationships in their lived experiences. Following Leon Kuczynski's 'bilateral model' of parent-child relationships, it provides cutting-edge findings, of relevance for practitioners and academics, about children's agency in relation to their mothers. Conceptualising children, as well as mothers, as agentic contributors to mother-child relationships, this paper suggests how children and mothers may be active in promoting each other's survival and recovery. Firstly, it explores the factors that impacted on mothers' and children's closeness/distance during the domestic violence and abuse, especially the effects of perpetrators' actions. It identifies five factors that were particularly important to the levels of mother-child supportiveness, increasing our understanding of why some mother-child relationships are more damaged by domestic violence than others. Secondly, it also explores how mothers and children who have survived domestic violence and abuse can act as 'recovery-promoters' for one another, and how practitioners can support them to fulfil this role.

Emma Katz is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Childhood Studies at Liverpool Hope University, and conducted her ESRC-funded Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham. Her specialism is the effects of domestic violence on mother-child relationships, and her first article, 'Domestic Violence, Children's Agency and Mother-Child Relationships: Towards a More Advanced Model', has recently appeared in Children & Society. Her forthcoming second article is an invited paper for the 2015 'Social Work and Recovery' issue of the British Journal of Social Work. Policy Press has expressed interest in publishing her first monograph under the title: 'Domestic Violence and Mother-Child.

Victoria Baker

PhD student (MPhil route), School of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire

Wednesday 25 March 2015, 4-5.30pm, Harrington Building room 338a

‘Adolescent-to-parent abuse: The experiences and accounts of young people.’

The abuse of parents by children and adolescents is a phenomenon more common than people know or care to admit. It can have physical, emotional, psychological and financial consequences for both children and their parents, with a distinct lack of services to provide support. Despite evidence suggesting that this problem is neither rare nor fleeting, there is still a dearth of research in the area, particularly when it comes to understanding the young person’s perspective. The session will provide an overview of current thinking on adolescent-to-parent abuse and highlight the current gaps in the literature. The proposed PhD research and how it aims to address some of these gaps will then be explored.

Victoria Baker is a PhD student (MPhil route) within the School of Social Work at UCLan who will be carrying out research into the experiences of young people instigating parent abuse. Currently working within the field of social research, Victoria has spent the last three years working alongside charities and local authorities in a bid to improve the use of high quality evidence in the design, implementation, and evaluation of services for children and families. Victoria’s main area of interest is in understanding the context and development of violent behaviour in children and young people and how this understanding can be put to practical use in the areas of prevention, early intervention, and treatment.

Professor Catherine Donovan
Professor of Social Relations, University of Sunderland

2nd February 2015

Centring Love in Domestically Violent and Abusive Relationships: Reframing the Duluth Power and Control Wheel

Watch video here

Rebecca Dudley

Professional researcher attached to Queen’s University School of Law

28 January 2015, 4-5.30pm, Brook Building, room 137

‘Domestic Abuse and Women with No Recourse to Public Funds: Where Human Rights do not Reach’

This seminar is for practitioners, academics, policy and advocacy workers, who wish to explore the gendered impacts of one aspect of immigration law—no recourse to public funds (NRPF) —as it affects women who experience domestic violence. Drawing on 51 interviews with service providers, and new sources (Domestic Homicide Reviews) emerging patterns of experience are analysed against human rights frameworks, especially the right to life and freedom from torture. The NRPF rule means that women subject to immigration controls on a variety of visa statuses (with one exception) cannot access benefits – unless they can prove that they are victims of domestic abuse. Therefore they frequently cannot access safe refuge accommodation or other support when they are experiencing domestic abuse. The result: most women with insecure status face increasing vulnerability, exploitation, and violence including risk to their lives. The findings show the role of the state in further entrapping women subject to immigration controls who experience abuse. The presentation includes proposals for change.

Rebecca Dudley is a professional researcher, policy and training consultant on human rights, currently within the criminal justice system. Since 2002, she has worked for Women’s Aid, the Children’s Law Centre and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. She contributed human rights-based research to regional and national policy on violence against women and girls, including the first research on the nature and scope of trafficking in Northern Ireland (2005) and prostitution policy (2008). She also chaired the Voluntary Management Board of Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid (2008 – 2012). This research is presented in a personal capacity, from part-time doctoral research for Queen’s University School of Law.

Professor Sylvia Walby

Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Lancaster University

9 December 2014, 4-5.30pm, Adelphi Building Lecture Theatre Number 4

‘Measuring the cost of gender-based violence’

The impact of gender-based violence on human lives is enormous and terrible. But how is the recognition of this harm to be translated into effective action? Gender based violence is a crime, a violation of human rights, a detriment to health, and a cost to the economy. Translating the harm of gender-based violence into the concepts used in different policy fields facilitates government action. This paper discusses the translation of the harm of this violence into a monetary cost. It discusses the dilemmas to be addressed in the quantification of the harms of gender violence, drawing on work using the Crime Survey for England and Wales. It shows how the conclusion that gender-based violence costs the UK £billions, not £millions is reached.
Sylvia Walby is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Lancaster University, UK. She is currently advising on the cost of gender-based violence for the UK Home Office and the European Institute for Gender Equality, drawing on earlier work for the UK Women and Equality Unit, The Cost of Domestic Violence (2004). She is leading an ESRC funded project: ‘Is domestic violence increasing or decreasing? Re-analysis of the British Crime Survey’. She has conducted further research on gender based violence for the European Parliament, Council of Europe, UN Economic Commission for Europe, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has an OBE for services to equal opportunities and diversity. Her recent books include: Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities (Sage 2009) and The Future of Feminism (Polity 2011).

Professor David Gadd

Director of the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Manchester University Law School.

4 November 2014, 4-5.45pm, Brook Building room 8

‘Intersectionality in Young Men’s Accounts of Domestic Violence’

This paper argues for approaches to explaining domestic violence that are sufficiently nuanced enough for most men to be able to see both similarities and differences between themselves and other men who have described perpetrating assaults on women. It begins by outlining the instrumentalist assumptions that continue to inform key feminist approaches to explaining perpetrator behaviour. It then elaborates on how conceptual developments in the study of masculinities have challenged instrumentalist explanations without fully transcending the social determinism implicit in them. Using three young men’s narrative accounts the paper shows how domestic violence can be both instrumental and expressive at the same time - controlling and defensive - and that the meaning of such behaviours can often only be grasped by being alive to the gendered nature of social discourses, many of which are easily infused with racialized, disablist and class-based assumptions.

Professor David Gadd is Director of the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Manchester University Law School. David has 15 years of experience of conducting and analyzing in-depth interview research with offenders, and has written extensively on the subjects of domestic abuse, masculinities and crime, racial harassment, offender motivation and desistance from crime. His first book, Psychosocial Criminology (co-written with Tony Jefferson) was published by Sage in 2007. His second book, Losing the Race (co-written with Bill Dixon) was published by Karnac in 2011. David is lead editor of the (2012) SAGE Handbook of Criminological Research Methods (co-edited with Susanne Karstedt and Steven Messner).

Dr Nancy Lombard

Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University

Wednesday 22nd October 2014 4-5.30pm. HA223, UCLan, Preston.

‘Because they’re a couple she should do what he says: Young People’s justifications of violence: heterosexuality, gender and adulthood'

This talk is based upon research conducted in Scotland that explored how 89 eleven and twelve year olds understood and explained men’s violence against women. The research found that young people examined the motivations of individual male perpetrators though the context of heterosexuality. For the young people, adulthood appeared to generate a more rigid framework of heterosexuality, where the gender differences begin to exemplify inequality upon which justifications can be based. Young people’s justifications can be collated into the themes of: heternormativity, the endorsement of marriage, restrictive gender roles and blaming women for the violence. Violence is justified because inequality is not questioned – it is endorsed and taken for granted as being part of an adult heterosexual relationship. This has implications for young people’s own existing and anticipated relationships.

Nancy Lombard is a Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University. She is an Associate Director at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships and also one of the co-ordinators of the Gender Based Violence Research Network. She is a Core Expert for European Network of Experts on Gender Equality and the only European editor of Violence Against Women journal. Before returning to academia in 2003, she worked in the third sector. She have been a volunteer, researcher and activist within the violence against women movement for 18 years. Her research interests include men’s violence against women, particularly domestic abuse; violence prevention; methods of working with children and young people, gender; feminism and knowledge exchange activities.

Watch video here

Dr Christine Barter

NSPCC Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol.

Wednesday 2nd July 2014 4-5.30pm. Brook Room 447, UCLan, Preston.

‘Online and offline forms of intimate partner violence in young people’s relationships: Initial findings from the first European survey’

Although a body of international evidence exists on interpersonal violence and abuse (IPVA) in young people’s relationships, little empirical research has addressed the role and impact of new technologies. The ‘Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships’ (STIR) study, funded through the DAPHNE III research programme, sought to bridge this gap.

In this presentation we will explore the preliminary findings from the survey component of this multi-method study. A confidential survey has been completed by over 4,000 young people aged 14-17 years-old in five European countries: England; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Italy and Norway. The survey addressed both online (through mobile platforms, social networking sites etc.) and offline forms of physical, sexual and emotional IPVA. The survey also measured the presence of wider risk and proactive factors in young people’s lives, including: familial domestic violence and abuse; bullying; online pornography; gender role attitudes; school experiences and help seeking behaviour.

In this talk I will present some of the emerging comparative findings for discussion including:

The incidence, frequency and subjective impact of online forms of IPVA in young people’s relationships and associations with offline (face-to-face) IPV.
Risk and protective factors.
Links between demographic characteristics including age, gender, ethnicity and IPVA experiences.
Help seeking behaviour.

Dr Christine Barter is a NSPCC Senior Research Fellow at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. She has published widely on a range of children's welfare issues. Christine’s most recent work has focused on the issue of peer violence including violence in teenage relationships, undertaking the first UK wide study in this area. Her work has attracted substantial media, policy and practice attention.

Thangam Debbonaire

National Research Manager at Respect

Wednesday 25th June 2014 4-5.30pm. Brook Room 8, UCLan, Preston.

‘Domestic Violence and the Political Agenda: looking back and looking forward’

In this talk we will explore the sometimes challenging relationship between activists, researchers and politicians in achieving social change, using domestic violence as an example.

In my lifetime legal rights for protection in intimate relationships have gone from nowhere to high up the political agenda. In my own case I worked closely with politicians of all parties during the 1990s to help bring about significant legal and other changes to protection from domestic violence. Now I am facing the increasingly likely prospect of becoming an MP next year with the potential to help bring about change in that role. In this seminar I will address and facilitate some discussion on the following questions, amongst others:

How should activists grapple with the political process?
What examples are there of good and ineffective practice in lobbying for change?
What examples are there of the most effective use of evidence from research and practice to make the case for legal change?
What has been the significance of party policies on domestic violence in general elections in the past twenty years and what might it be at the next one?
How can activists and researchers collaborate with sympathetic political actors without losing independence?
What difference does having more female MPs make to the process?
What counts as evidence and how could politicians make more effective use of it?

Thangam Debbonaire has 25 years of experience at local, national and international levels of working to end domestic violence and other gender-based violence and to promote gender equality. She has done that through activism, research, practice, policy making and training as well as writing ground breaking resources and toolkits for use in schools and elsewhere. For the last 7 years she has been National Research Manager at Respect, the UK organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators and with male victims. She is also a parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, where she lives. If elected in 2015 she hopes to help to continue her work to eradicate gender based violence and promote gender equality through parliamentary activity.

Younous Arbaoui

PhD candidate, Migration Law Department, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

4 June 2014, 12noon – 1pm, HA326

‘The Myth of Fraudulent Parenthood in Dutch Immigration Policies: Why the majority of Somali children failed to join their refugee parents in the Netherlands?’

Refugees run the risk of becoming separated from their children during the process of fleeing their countries. In most cases, children are forced to remain behind. If a refugee wishes to have a child join him/her in the Netherlands, s/he must convince decision-makers that there is a child-parent bond between him/her and that child. This family bond should be demonstrated during a verification interview conducted with the child when this applies for family reunification at the Dutch embassy in the country of origin. Figures demonstrate a dramatic increase in the percentage of application rejections since 2009. The government considered these figures as the result of government’s efforts to prevent fraud and child trafficking/kidnapping. This remarkable increase in refusals can be explained in a classic way as resulting from a shift from a government including the left parties to a centre-right government including a new right-wing populist party. However, it cannot entirely be explained by political dominance in government, because even the government including the left parties followed a restrictive immigration policy. Moreover, the rights at stake are technically protected by two legal regimes (refugee law and human rights law) which cannot easily be undermined.

In this paper, I analyse how and why the majority of children failed to join their parents. I examine how a parallel shift has occurred in Dutch policy to an almost exclusive focus on Somali children as being a policy problem. To do this, I conducted a frame analysis of policy documents, legislative texts, case law, procedural guidelines and NGO reports. I also conducted semi-structured interviews with Somali refugees in Addis Ababa and Amsterdam. Moreover, I witnessed verification interviews at the Dutch embassy in Addis Ababa. The paper demonstrates that because minor children have little agency, it is the various groups of brokers (immigration officers, lawyers, judges and their parents), rather than the children themselves, who determine what if any interests are at stake and how these might be formulated as human rights’ claims. The paper shows that law is a product of human interaction, produced in the context of power relations between various right holders. By doing this, the paper challenges the representation of law as neutral and universally applicable, deriving its content from notions of justice channelled through judges who are considered to be wise and impartial.

Professor Sherry Hamby

Research Professor of Psychology at the University of the South, Sewanee, USA

6 November 2013, 4-5.30pm, Brook building room 213

A Strengths-Based Approach to Safety Planning for Domestic Violence

The pervasive stereotypes that depict battered women as passive underestimate women. Recognizing women's strengths can lead to better and more nuanced research and intervention. In addition to the traditional risks of physical harm to themselves, many women who experience abuse face the risk of homelessness or the threat of losing custody of their children in a divorce battle. Understanding the full range of risks is necessary to understanding the complex problem of battering. Victimized women engage in a wide range of protective strategies: immediate defensive responses in the moments following an attack, protecting children and other loved ones, reaching out for social support, turning to religious and spiritual resources, and engaging formal helpseeking. Safety planning for domestic violence has hardly changed in decades and remains focused on the physical danger to the woman. A broader approach is needed that includes the needs of children and others and recognizes the risks of separation violence. A new safety planning tool called the VIGOR (for Victim Inventory of Goals, Options, and Risks) will be described. It is one example of more holistic, family-centered approaches to safety planning with victims of domestic violence. Research and policy implications of a strengths-based framework will also be discussed.

Sherry Hamby is Research Professor of Psychology at the University of the South and founding editor of the APA journal Psychology of Violence. She is co-investigator on the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, which is the USA’s primary surveillance of youth victimization and the first national effort to measure crimes against children under 12 that are not reported to authorities. A licensed clinical psychologist, she also conducted the first reservation-based study of domestic violence among American Indians and collaborated on Sortir Ensemble et Se Respecter, the first Swiss dating violence prevention program. She is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors at the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and was selected in 2013 as a "Woman Making an Impact on Children's Exposure to Violence" by the Safe Start National Resource Center, among other recognitions. She is author or co-author of more than 100 works including The Web of Violence: Exploring Connections among Different Forms of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse and The Conflict Tactics Scales Handbook. Her most recent book, Battered Women's Protective Strategies: Stronger than You Know, is due later this year from Oxford University Press.

Email: sherry.hamby@sewanee.edu

Professor Evan Stark

Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs at Rutgers University, U.S.A.

24 September 2013, 4-5.30pm, BB009

‘How men entrap women in personal life’

Since the first safe houses for victims of partner abuse opened in the 1970's, victimized women have insisted that "violence wasn't he worst part" of their experience and that physical harms were often not its worst outcome. Despite this, virtually all interventions with abused women, offenders and exposed children focus on assaults. The result is that a huge gap remains between what abused women and their children experience and the ways in which this abuse is understood and managed by police, courts, health care and social work. This talk will address this gap. Drawing on cases from his forensic social work practice extensive research evidence and his award-winning book, Professor Stark will show why the violence model is deficient both as an account of partner abuse and as a guide to intervention. He will then outline the alternative model of coercive control and argue that the major consequence of partner abuse is a hostage-like experience of entrapment constructed around harms to women's basic human rights and liberties. The talk will conclude by considering what reframing partner abuse as coercive control implies for intervention, law and policy and why addressing coercive control requires a combination of social reform and work with individual cases.

Evan Stark is an Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs at Rutgers University in the U.S. A forensic social worker and award-winning researcher, he has an international reputation for his innovative work on the legal, policy and health dimensions of interpersonal violence. A founder of one of the first shelters for abused women in the U.S., Dr. Stark co-directed the Yale Trauma Studies with Dr. Anne Flitcraft, path-breaking research that was the first to document the significance of domestic violence for women’s health. . Dr. Stark has served as an expert in more than 100 criminal and civil cases, including Nicholson v. Williams, a successful federal class action suit against New York City that made it unconstitutional to remove children from mothers solely because they had been victims of domestic violence. His critically acclaimed book, Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007) was named the best social science book published in 2007 by the American Publishers Association and was an important basis for the decision by the recent decision to broaden the cross-governmental definition of domestic violence in England to include coercive control. Dr. Stark has held positions as Senior Research Professor at the University of Essex and as the International Fellow at the Bristol University’s School of Policy Studies and is currently a visiting Leverhulme Professor at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh.

Watch video here

Events and News

15 September 2020 third Connect Centre Conference

Due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus the third Connect Centre conference took place online on 15 September 2020. The keynote speaker was Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs and presentations were also made by Connect Centre researchers and Paladin National Stalking Advocacy service.

Two publications are now available from the Connect Centre’s evaluation of the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service.

They speak for you when you can’t speak’- An Evaluation of the Paladin Service, Research Report Bracewell, K, Hargreaves, P & Barter, C. (2020)

Bracewell, K., Hargreaves, P. & Stanley, N. ‘The Consequences of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Stalking Victimisation’ J Fam Viol (2020). 

Evaluation report published of the ‘For Baby’s Sake’ Intervention

Professor Nicky Stanley, Co-Director of the Connect Centre has worked on the independent, in-depth evaluation of the For Baby’s Sake intervention, which has now been published.

Scientific evidence about the impact of domestic abuse and trauma on babies led the Stefanou Foundation to create For Baby’s Sake as an innovative intervention to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give babies the best possible start in life.  

Professor Stanley worked on the evaluation which was led by colleagues at King’s College London, along with academics from University of Warwick, University of Cambridge and McMaster University, Canada. The academic evaluation team have identified For Baby’s Sake as the first programme of its kind to ‘fill an important gap in provision’ through its ‘unique approach’, working with the whole family and starting in pregnancy. The evaluation report, published in May 2020, is the result of a four year study of the operation of For Baby’s Sake in two prototype sites. The academic evaluation team has found that the programme’s approach is ‘overcoming key limitations’ to responding to domestic abuse.

Access the research publications.


May 2016

The first Connect Centre conference took place at the Brockholes Centre in Preston on 12 May 2016. The programme included national and international speakers and opportunities to hear about the full range of research on interpersonal violence and abuse undertaken by Connect Centre staff.

Presentations available to download:

Connect Centre Agenda 12th May.pdf

Bragi Guobrandsson. ppt

Nicky Stanley.ppt

Rachel Robbins.ppt

Animated discussion at the Connect Centre Conference.

Lakeside luncheon for delegates at the Connect Centre Conference 12 May 2016.


March 2015

In March 2015, researchers from the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm at UCLan's School of Social Work ran a joint workshop on Violence Against Women and Children in Diverse Contexts with the African Centre for Migration & Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. British Council funding enabled the Connect Centre to take 20 UK researchers to this workshop and they presented papers and exchanged ideas with 20 South African researchers.

The workshop was led by Professor Nicky Stanley from UCLan and Dr Ingrid Palmary, the University of the Witwatersrand. Professor Lorraine Radford and Dr Khatidja Chantler from the Connect Centre delivered keynote papers.

The workshop was judged highly stimulating and successful and a range of follow-up projects including a special issue of the journal, Families, Relationships and Societies is planned.




Vicky Baker.pdf

Christine Barter.ppt

Polly Neate.ppt

Lorraine Radford.pdf

Left to right: Khatidja Chantler, Lorraine Radford and Nicky Stanley at the Conference.


At the end of the day with ice-cream: Connect Centre PhD students Nicola Farrelly, Lynda Shentall, Vicky Baker and Kelly Bracewell with Lorna Burrow, Research Administrator.




House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee inquiry on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools

Dr Christine Barter was invited to act as specialist adviser to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee inquiry on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools. The STIR research (Barter et al 2017) was referenced five times in the Committee’s report which recommended that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) be made statutory and the Government made an announcement to this effect in 2017, so extending SRE to children in all primary and secondary schools in England and Wales. Dr  Barter and Prof Stanley advised on the drafting of a Parliamentary Briefing Paper that informed debates in both Houses of Parliament on this issue and guidance on SRE.

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) (chaired by Baroness Jay):

Members of the Connect Centre (Lorraine Radford, Nicky Stanley, Christine Barter and Helen Richardson-Foster) presented research at the England Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) hearing on 12 April 2017.  This was the first research evidence presented to the Inquiry and it will inform its ongoing work.

Read more and view the report, summary report, slides and videos of evidence presented
IICSA will not conclude its work until 2020.

The Connect Centre will also be presenting research evidence (on institutional abuse) to the Scottish Inquiry into Child Abuse in June 2017. 


Co-Director: Professor Nicky Stanley
Co-Director: Dr Christine Barter
Dr Kelly Bracewell
Dr Helen Richardson Foster
Dr Emily Cooper
Dr Nicola Farrelly
Dr Chinyere Ajayi
Katie Martin
Farwa Batool

International Fellow: Emeritus Professor International Violence Prevention Lorraine Radford

PhD Students:

  • Victoria Baker - Child to Parent Violence
  • Lynda Shentall - Domestic Violence and HIV
  • Rachel Close - Trauma-Informed Practice with DVA Survivors
  • Althea Cribb - Engagement of survivors in domestic violence services
  • Maria Turda - Sex Trafficking Between Romania and the UK
  • Jessica Wagner -The Cycle of Domestic Abuse

Additional Information

If you want to join our Connect Network contact connectcentre@uclan.ac.uk for further details. Membership is free and open to all who share our values and interests in doing and using research to end interpersonal violence.

Connect welcomes applications for researchers in the UK and overseas interested in postgraduate study for MPhil or PhDs in the area of interpersonal violence. To talk informally about the benefits of PhD study at Connect contact Professor Nicky Stanley.


  • Women’s Aid Federation of England
  • SafeLives
  • Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)
  • European Child Safety Network (ECSA)
  • Psytel, Paris France
  • Public Health Agency of Catalonia, Spain
  • Welsh Government, Maternal and Child Health
  • ChildLine, Lithuania
  • Sigmund Freud Mental Health Hospital, Austria
  • Norwegian Centre for Violence and Child Protection
  • UNICEF child protection Unit, New York
  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada


Current Projects

2018-2021 Evaluation of Women’s Aid and Safe Lives Shared Roadmap for System Change. Evaluation of several Women’s Aid and SafeLives early intervention responses. Funded by Big Lottery. Nicky Stanley (PI), Christine Barter, Khatidja Chantler, Rachel Robbins, Helen Richardson Foster, Kelly Bracewell, with University of East London and Bangor University.

2018-2020 TESSE National Evaluation of Speak Out. Stay Safe (NSPCC) 
Nicky Stanley (PI), Christine Barter, Nicola Farrelly, Farwa Batool and colleagues at Queens University Belfast, University of Edinburgh, University of Greenwich and Bangor University.

Professor Nicky Stanley and colleagues in the Connect Centre have been commissioned by the NSPCC to undertake the TESSE study, an independent evaluation of their Speak out. Stay safe abuse prevention programme for primary schools. The UK-wide evaluation will explore how children’s knowledge, understanding and recognition of abuse, neglect and bullying changes after they have taken part in the Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops. It will also investigate whether Speak out. Stay safe improves children’s knowledge of who they can speak out to and whether the programme increases children's readiness to seek help if they or their friends experience abuse or neglect. Approximately 4,000 children will be involved in the impact evaluation from across 90 UK primary schools. A process evaluation is exploring how Speak out Stay safe works and what helps and hinders successful delivery. An economic evaluation will assess wider costs and outcomes associated with Speak out Stay safe from a societal perspective.

For more information, please see here

2019- 2022 ES/005471/1 Domestic Homicides: Journeys of victims, families and agencies – using an Experience Based Co-design
The study will address important gaps in existing knowledge of domestic homicide and aims to learn from the journeys and experiences of families who have lost a relative to domestic homicide, victims/survivors of domestic abuse; statutory and voluntary domestic homicide reviews (DHRs). Funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council PI: Khatidja Chantler with Connect Centre colleagues and Manchester Metropolitan University.

2018-2019 Stopping the Cycle of Youth Violence: Pilot Evaluation. Funded by The Premier League. Christine Barter (PI), Kelly Bracewell and Paul Hargreaves

2018 - 2019 Piloting the Bystander Intervention to address domestic and sexual violence on campus in three schools: Social Work, Sports and Medicine. Process evaluation of the intervention to investigate whether the intervention is effective. Khatidja Chantler and Kelly Bracewell.

2016-2022: IMPACTS: Collaborations to address sexual violence on campus funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council,. The overarching goal of this project is to unearth, dismantle and prevent sexual violence within universities, through evidence-based research that will inform sustainable curriculum and policy change. This SSHRC Partnership Project is the first of its kind to address, dismantle and prevent sexual violence by means of a systemic partnered solution in the fields of education, law, policy, arts, popular culture, news and social media (PI: Shaheen Shariff, McGill with Khatidja Chantler)

2020-2023 Developing the Evidence Base for Innovation in Social Care for Children and Families Affected by Domestic Abuse. Funded by ESRC Social Care Innovation Grant. Rachel Robbins with Callaghan (PI) et. al., University of Stirling

2018 - Independent Evaluation of Lancashire Victim Services and Victim Code Rachel Robbins

2018-2021 Determinants and health sequelae of intimate partner violence and abuse in young adult relationships: a mixed methods study (MRC/ESRC) University of Bristol. (Christine Barter with University of Bristol

Liberty Centre: Independent evaluation of a domestic violence service for standard risk and male victims. Funded by Comic Relief. Christine Barter and Rachel Robbins.

2015-2019 C-MAP: Randomized Controlled Trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a culturally adapted manual assisted problem solving therapy (C-MAP) in patients with history of self-harm
This is a multi-centre Pakistan based study focusing on women patients who have recently self-harmed. Medical Research Council, Department for International Development, Wellcome Trust. Khatidja Chantler (co-applicant) with PI: Nusrat Husain, University of Manchester.

2015-19 Evaluation of Healthy Relationships, Healthy Babies
This new initiative in two local authorities aims to intervene early in the lives of young families experiencing domestic abuse. The evaluation is funded by the Stefanou Foundation. Nicky Stanley with Trevillion & colleagues, King’s College London. Evaluation report.


2018-2019 Early Childhood and the ‘Intergenerational Cycle of Domestic Violence’ – Research Review
Rapid evidence review on domestic violence and the potential for this to impact on children's own violent behaviour, and any evidence of effectiveness of targeted interventions aimed at young families.
NSPCC. Lorraine Radford, Helen Richardson Foster, Paul Hargreaves with John Devaney (University of Edinburgh) 

Radford, L., Richardson Foster, H. Hargreaves, P & Devaney, J. (2019) Research Review: Early Childhood and the ‘Intergenerational Cycle of Domestic Violence’. Technical Report. NSPCC, London. 

2018 Scoping Study: Violence against Women and Girls Services, Comic Relief
The overall aim of the scoping review was to examine ways in which funding approaches and service provision for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in England and Wales could be improved.
Barter, C.A., Bracewell, K., Stanley, N., & Chantler, K. (2018) Scoping Study: Violence Against Women and Girls Services. Project Report. Preston, Lancashire.
View Summary.

2016 Springboard Evaluation, South Lakes
This evaluation of a local domestic abuse service includes interviews with stakeholders and service users and focus group with young people. Rachel Robbins

2014-18 Step Up - Building the evidence base for early intervention responses for children, ESRC & Early Intervention Foundation
Creating, implementing and evaluating an evidence based early intervention response for children and families in Blackpool living with domestic abuse. Funded by the ESRC under the Early Intervention research programme. Lorraine Radford (PI), Nicky Stanley, Rachel Robbins, Paul Hargreaves and Emily Yeend.

2017 Pause
Evaluation of Hackney Council’s project to prevent repeat pregnancy and removal of babies into care. Lorraine Radford with OpCit

2014-17 Fathering Challenges, Australian Research Council
This Australian study is examining interventions for perpetrators of domestic abuse who are also fathers. Nicky Stanley with Cathy Humphreys (PI) Kelsey Hegarty and colleagues, University of Melbourne, Curtin University and University of South Australia.

2017-2018 Pilot Randomised Trial of Project Respect: A school-based intervention to prevent dating and relationship violence and address health inequalities among young people. A multi-centre project to pilot the Safe Dates and Shifting Boundaries (sexual harassment) prevention programmes in the UK. National Institute for Health Research PHR. Christine Barter (co-applicant) with PI Prof Chris Bonell (The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

2016 Preventing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Other Jurisdictions, a Rapid Evidence Assessment for the Independent Commission on Child Sexual Abuse Rapid evidence assessment of what can be learned from other jurisdictions about effective prevention and responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation. Lorraine Radford Nicky Stanley, Christine Barter and Helen Richardson Foster, funded by the Crown Office.

2016-16 Evaluation of Doncaster Children’s Trust Growing Futures Initiative
This evaluation of Doncaster’s innovative approach to work with families living with domestic abuse is funded by the Department for Education. Nicky Stanley with OpCit.

2016 Prevalence and Impact of Abuse of Children in Residential Care in Scotland
Evidence review for the Scotland Inquiry into Child Abuse. Lorraine Radford (PI), Christine Barter, Nicky Stanley and Rachel Robbins.

2015-2016 Understanding Forced Marriage in Scotland
A mixed methods, national study in Scotland addressing the reported levels of forced marriage, service responses to forced marriage (including use of civil and criminal legislation) and the impact of forced marriage on survivors. PI: Chantler with McCarry (Strathclyde University); MacKenzie (University of Glasgow); Mirza; Baker (UCLan), Partners: Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid; Shakti Women’s Aid and Scottish Women’s Aid.

2015- 2017 Child Sexual Abuse Knowledge Hub
Developing a research and practice knowledge exchange hub for the police working in a multi-agency context to safeguard children from sexual exploitation. UCLan is the North of England knowledge hub coordinator, Lorraine Radford with colleagues from the University of Bedfordshire, University of Sussex, Cardiff University and University of Worcester

2016 Springboard Evaluation, South Lakes
This evaluation of a local domestic abuse service includes interviews with stakeholders and service users and focus group with young people. Rachel Robbins

An Evaluation of the Sex and Relationship Educational Curriculum Tool: Sex and Stuff
A mixed method school-based evaluation of a PSHE resource. Bristol Public Health Authority, Christine Barter (PI) with Marsha Wood (University of Bristol).

Evaluation of children’s independent domestic violence advocacy service. Qualitative study to determine the impact of children's advocacy intervention across several outcome measures. (Westwood, Larkin, Stanley).

Developing programme guidance to address sexual exploitation and abuse of children in development and emergency contexts

Desk based consultancy research to produce guidance for UNICEF on protecting children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse (Radford)

PIECES Project – Investigating national policies to address child violence to identify good practices across the EU
Daphne funded research involving a detailed and innovative review of select national level policies in place in EU countries that aim to reduce inter personal and family violence by and violence towards children and young people Partners from Romania, Lithuania, France, Austria and Spain contributing.(Radford)

Preventing Domestic Abuse for Children (PEACH), Public Health Research Programme, NIHR,

This scoping study brought together international evidence on preventive interventions in domestic abuse for children and young people under 18 in the general population. These preventive interventions include programmes delivered in school, and media and community campaigns and initiatives specifically targeting children and young people. The study includes a systematic literature review, a mapping study of current provision in the UK and consultation with experts, policy makers, practitioners and young people. Stanley, Downe, Ellis, Farrelly (UCLan) and Hollinghurst (University of Bristol)
Stanley N, Ellis J, Farrelly N, Hollinghurst S, Bailey S, Downe S. (2015) Preventing domestic abuse for children and young people (PEACH): a mixed knowledge scoping review. Public Health Research;3 (7).
http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/phr/volume-3/issue-7#abstract Stanley N, Ellis J, Farrelly N, Hollinghurst S, Downe S. (2015) Preventing domestic abuse for children and young people: A review of school-based interventions. Children and Youth Services Review, 59, 120-131. Available free at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740915300876

An overview of interventions aimed at improving outcomes for children exposed to domestic violence: systematic review, evidence synthesis and research recommendations, Public Health Research Programme, NIHR, Stanley with Feder et al, University of Bristol.

Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships (STIR)
EU Daphne Programme, Barter, Stanley and Larkins and four European partners.
Barter, C., Stanley, N., Wood, M., Aghtaie, N., Larkins, C., Øverlien, C., et al (2015). Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships (STIR): Connecting online and offline contexts and risks.

Bridging the knowledge and practice gap between domestic violence and child safeguarding in General Practice (RESPONDS), Policy Research Programme, DH, Stanley and Larkins with Feder et al, University of Bristol.
Szilassy, E., Dass, J., Drinkwater, J., Firth, A., Hester, M., Larkins, C., Lewis, N., Morrish, J., Stanley, N., Turner, W. and Feder, G. (2015) Researching Education to Strengthen Primary care ON Domestic violence & Safeguarding (RESPONDS). Bristol: University of Bristol. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/primaryhealthcare/documents/responds/responds-final-report.pdf

Optimising identification, referral and care of trafficked people within the NHS (PROTECT), Policy Research Programme DH, Stanley with Howard, Zimmerman et al, King’s College London and London Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Oram et al (2016) Provider Responses Treatment and Care for Trafficked People