Domestic Violence and Marginalised Communities

Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is currently high on the Government’s agenda with a Domestic Abuse Bill journeying through the Houses of Parliament. DVA intersects cultural, religious, gender and ethnic boundaries and can occur in marital, cohabiting, heterosexual as well as same sex relationships. While the prevalence of DVA appears to be fairly consistent in various groups, marginalised minority individuals and groups can experience additional inequalities, vulnerabilities, and risk factors. 

BME women experience multiple barriers to escaping DVA and seeking support arising from economic dependency, cultural and religious expectation, and tradition. Lockdown and social isolation measures implemented to combat COVID-19 have resulted in increasing stress, economic difficulties, disruption in social networks and to normal life,  exacerbating the risk for those experiencing DVA. 

The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity Refuge reported a huge 700% (from 26,320 to 210,620) increase in calls during a singular day in April (Townsend, 2020; Office of National Statistics, 2020) and by June calls had risen by 800% compared with pre-lockdown figures (Davies, 2020). 

The impacts of DVA on individuals and marginalised groups warrants further attention in research, policy, and practice.


  1.  Bring together academics and professionals from nursing, social work, criminology, religious studies, geography, anthropology, housing and management and survivors of DVA with a common interest and expertise in DVA research to establish a dynamic, multidisciplinary research development group (RDG).
  2. Highlight DVA experiences of marginalised communities, including more culturally diverse populations, by integrating the voices of survivors and service providers using established co-production methods.
  3. Exchange knowledge and identify gaps in current policy, practice, and research.


  1. To explore the methodological challenges, approaches and possibilities in working with DVA survivors from marginalised communities to understand their experiences of DVA.                   
  2. Define aims/objectives for future collaborative grant application/s around survivors.
  3. To establish a RDG which integrates the voices of survivors and service providers (e.g., healthcare professionals, social workers, and other stakeholders).

Lead Academics at Lead Institution:  
Dr Parveen Ali (Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield)
Dr Michaela Rogers (Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield)

Lead Academics at other two universities:
Dr Sam Lewis (Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Leeds)
Dr Joanne Bretherton (Social Policy and Social Work, University of York

Other staff

Dr Jenny Preece, Department of Urban Studies and Planning (ECR)
Dr Nabeela Ahmed, Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID) (ECR)
Dr Sally Cawood, Department of Urban Studies and Planning (ECR)

Dr Joyce Jiang, The York Management School

Professor Emma Tomalin, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
Professor Johanna Stiebert, Biblical Studies, Theology and Religious Studies, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
Dr Deirdre Conlon, School of Geography
Dr Laura Loyola-Hernández, School of Geography (ECR)
Dr Amanda Keeling, School of Law (ECR)
Dr Marketa Dolezalova, School of Sociology and Social Policy (ECR)

Other partners:
Zalkha Ahmad (Apna Haq, Rotherham)

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