ProjectsDomestic violence and abuse
#ReachIn: A rapid review of informal social support interventions for victim-survivors of domestic violence and abuse

Contact: Karen Schucan Bird

For those ‘living with domestic abuse… the view from outside, from supportive friends, family and neighbours, is so important’ (survivor of domestic abuse).

What do we want to know?

This project aims to improve understanding of interventions that promote or enhance informal social support networks (family, friends, neighbours and community groups) for victim-survivors of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). 

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges that policing, health and frontline services face in seeking to identify and support victim-survivors of DVA. Evidence suggests that victim-survivors have been less able and/or willing to seek help from traditional first responders whilst informal sources of support have faced increased demands. Interventions that aid informal social support networks can therefore play a critical role during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

The project has two main objectives: 

  1. Identify informal social support interventions, and underpinning mechanisms, that improve outcomes for victim-survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
  2. Develop evidence-informed guidance for practitioners, and practical recommendations for friends, families and communities to facilitate effective informal social support networks during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Who is undertaking this project? 

The project is a collaboration between the EPPI Centre (UCL Social Research Institute) and SafeLives, a UK-based charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse. This research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19.

How will we undertake the project?

A rapid systematic review will identify, describe, appraise and synthesise existing research studies of informal social support interventions that address DVA. This review will undertake a two-stage process: 1) create a systematic map that describes the nature and extent of the literature in this field; 2) undertake an in-depth analysis and synthesis on a particular aspect of the map/evidence base. 

Findings from the research will be translated into practical, real-world guidance for friends, families and communities, as well as DVA practitioners. SafeLives’ #ReachIn campaign will serve as a vehicle for engaging key audiences and maximising benefits now, in the recovery phase of the pandemic, and beyond.

The collaboration between the EPPI Centre and SafeLives will ensure relevance, methodological rigour, and UK-wide reach of the project and outputs. 

How are we involving stakeholders in the project?

To ensure relevance and actionable outputs, an advisory group will established to guide the project. The advisory group will meet three times over the course of the project to inform the framing of the project (for example, refine conceptual framework, define outcomes), identify priorities for in-depth analysis, shape conclusions and key messaging. 

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