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A Study of Bystander Experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Wales Violence Prevention Unit and the University of Exeter have secured funding to deliver vital domestic abuse research on the experiences and behaviours of those who witness or have concerns about domestic violence and abuse and its warning signs during COVID-19.

What is the study about?

The innovative study, funded by Public Health Wales, will explore how bystander experiences and behaviours have changed and developed during restrictions put in place to control COVID-19.

Why is the study important?

Since lockdown measures came into force early in 2020, there have been stark warnings from global leaders about the risk of a “shadow pandemic” of abuse taking place inside people’s homes. In Wales, there has been a 41% increase in the number of contacts made to the Live Fear Free helpline since April 2020.

We know from our research into bystander interventions that anyone can take action around domestic abuse, especially if they have been given the right training, and that trained bystanders use their newfound skills across all areas of their lives. With many people now conducting much of their daily life from inside their homes, there are new opportunities for different groups of people, including neighbours, colleagues in virtual meetings and delivery drivers, to spot the warning signs of abuse and take safe action.

This research will help to inform bystander intervention training programmes, taking into account how our lifestyles have changed as a result of COVID-19.

What will the study involve?

This study is a mixed methods study, which means we will be using a range of research methods, including conducting surveys to collect numerical data and conducting interviews to collect narrative data.

The study started in November 2020 and will run until March 2021. We will keep this page updated with news and information about the study.