"DVA and children's experience of it is a major public health concern. With even higher rates reported during the Covid-19 lockdown, this research is needed now more than ever. Children who live with DVA are victims in their own right, who may experience the consequences of abuse throughout their whole lives," said Dr Emma Howarth, senior lecturer, School of Psychology, University of East London.
They may need specialist help to recover from their experiences, and it is critical that effective help is made available, she said. "A greater understanding of how we can help these children can only be achieved through robust outcomes-focused research."
In the first phase of the study, the intervention will be trialled by Cardiff Women's Aid and Family Action in Southend. Sue Harper, deputy director of services and innovation and national strategic lead, domestic violence/abuse and relationship support for Family Action, said, "Most support currently available is based on practitioners' on-the-ground experiences working with women and children, and there remains a need to combine this experience and knowledge with strong evidence regarding the benefits and possible harms of such programmes."
Professor Verity Brown, pro-vice chancellor, impact & innovation, at the University of East London said, "This is a landmark study, which will establish the most effective evidence-based support for children who experience a parent or caregiver being subjected to violence, with the potential for its findings to have a positive impact globally."
The study is a collaboration between the University of East London, the Centre for Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement (DECIPHeR) at Cardiff University, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Central Lancashire, University of Exeter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, and Queen Mary University, London. It is funded by the National Institute of Health Research Public Health Research Funding Committee. The intervention is funded by Public Health Wales, Health and Care Research Wales, and Southend on Sea Borough Council.