SISER, the Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research, provides an innovative approach to interdisciplinary research and a high quality evaluation service on domestic abuse; sexual abuse; online risk; social migration; youth justice and youth unemployment, to inform real-world public policy.
SISER adopts a cross-disciplinary approach and works with national governments, local authorities, charities and private sector companies. We offer substantial research experience, cutting-edge expertise, a focus on delivering high impact findings which make a difference, and a passion for designing robust, efficient solutions. Our research plays a vital role in our University’s aim to make a big impact on our community, discovering new insights and potentially reaching world-changing conclusions. We closely work with our external partners to deliver the compelling research methodologies and robust evaluations.
We currently work with: Marie Collins Foundation, Amnesty International, Suffolk Youth Offending Service (SYOS), National Citizen Service (NCS), Access Community Trust (ACT), Suffolk County Council, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk Community Foundation, Community Action Suffolk, Anglia Care Trust, Survivors in Transition, and Iceni Ipswich.
SISER works with research-active staff across the University and periodically invites and hosts external researchers. The institute is part of the growing and vibrant outstanding research environment at the University of Suffolk. Our research makes a real difference to people’s lives and contributes to the development of evidence on "What Works" for services.
In 2015, Professor Emma Bond was involved in our groundbreaking partnership survey of Adult survivors of Child Sexual Abuse from across the UK, which detailed survivors experiences of services and highlighted new and critical information which impacts the way services are delivered and survivors are understood. In 2017, we are working together again with Professor Bond’s team conducting in depth interviews with survivors to ascertain their personal experiences of services and journeys towards effective intervention. This work will be launched later this year with a national conference in 2018 and we are confident it will be seen as innovative, responsive research which will be used by commissioners and service providers to improve their response to adult survivors of sexual abuse across a complex and often difficult to navigate system. This work is genuinely driven and informed by survivors themselves who have been involved at every stage of planning and inception - an ethos that Professor Bond and her team are wholeheartedly committed to and together we are ensuring that the voice of the survivor is listened to, believed and respected.
- Survivors in Transition
As an integral aspect of our work with the Money Advice (MAS), in April 2018, Dr Olumide Adisa concluded a twelve month evaluation of our financial capability service, working with survivors of domestic abuse. The evaluation offered invaluable insights, additional learning and a firm evidence base from which to further help survivors of abuse. The results evidenced the implications for reducing repeat victimisation in domestic abuse. The evaluation also incorporated a Knowledge Exchange Workshop which the University of Suffolk hosted, the workshop involved a range of interested parties and used the emerging findings to share the learning and to stimulate further interest .The financial capability work was delivered via the What Works Fund, a national fund administered by the MAS. As such, the work delivered in Suffolk and the results of the research undertaken by the University of Suffolk has significant potential to influence the delivery of money advice, work with ‘hard to reach groups’ across the UK.
- Anglia Care Trust
"In 2013, Professor Emma Bond and her team undertook our most important research to date to establish the need for a national training programme for frontline professionals working with children harmed through the internet. The results of the research provided us with the clearest picture yet of levels of confidence and competence among professionals working in this field, which we have been able to address through the development and delivery of training packages. As a consequence, the research carried out by Professor Bond is having a direct impact upon the support given now and in the future to victims of online sexual abuse.
In addition, her department has provided expertise to us in areas ranging from ensuring engagement by visitors to our website to supporting our involvement in a Government-led education campaign surrounding indecent images"
- Marie Collins Foundation
We specialise in creative research design and effective knowledge exchange, underpinned by the rigour of scholarship and the provision of high quality research and evaluation for statutory and non-statutory agencies located locally, nationally and internationally. We work closely with our partners to develop a robust evidence-base and to identify "What works" as well as assessing social and economic impacts of interventions.
SISER is an intellectual and operational vehicle at the University of Suffolk for conducting applied research in social science and its cognate fields. We are committed to the development of transformational research that explores new areas of enquiry from a multi-disciplinary perspective and provides real life solutions to key social problems.
We have worked with a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Amnesty International, Government Equalities Office, West Midlands Police, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Co-Op, the Suffolk Foundation, Nominet Trust, beat, Childnet International, the Marie Collins Foundation, Get Safe Online, Internet Matters, the national Revenge Pornography Helpline, the Better Policing Collaborative, HEFCE, the College of Policing, Suffolk Youth Offending Service, Suffolk Constabulary, Norfolk Constabulary, Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, Suffolk County Council, Norfolk County Council, Anglia Care Trust, Iceni, and Suffolk MIND.
Some of our exciting research projects include:
This project provides insight into the impact of youth justice interventions, which endorse rehabilitation and restoration as opposed to formal sanctions against juvenile offenders. Using a mixed-methods approach the project highlights the importance of holistic, person-centred approaches and a multi-agency joint decision making process within youth justice interventions. The evaluation will inform future developments and the sustainability of the programme within Suffolk, as well as potentially informing national practice.
Principal Investigators: Katie Tyrrell, Mark Manning, and Cristian Dogaru
Working alongside Amnesty International researchers, focus groups with young female students within college and university were conducted to investigate experiences of gender-based violence online. Findings indicate diverse use of social media platforms across participants with unwanted contact, harassment and bullying online featuring, either through personal or indirect experience via friends and family. Findings will inform international campaigns and movement within Amnesty International to address the responsibilities of large social media companies such as Twitter.
Principal Investigators: Katie Tyrrell and Azmina Dhrodia (Amnesty)
An evaluation of an alternative money advice service for survivors of domestic abuse
This research, led by Dr Olumide Adisa examined the effectiveness of a bespoke money advice service in achieving financial capability outcomes to support domestic abuse survivors, as provided by Anglia Care Trust (ACT). The evaluation was funded by the What Works Fund programme (administered by the national charity Money Advice Service)
The What Works Fund was setup in 2016 to help establish the most effective methods of improving financial capability across the UK through evidence on interventions. The evaluation research was carried out between January 2017 and March 2018. To our knowledge, it would be the first time that an alternative money advice project focused on domestic abuse will be examined in this way.
There is no doubt that addressing the financial dimensions of domestic abuse is paramount to successfully dealing with domestic abuse. The research will provide an evidence base on the impact of the community-based money advice service model in achieving its outcomes/objectives and in transforming the lives of people experiencing and/or have experienced domestic abuse. The research has been disseminated through a unique knowledge exchange event, hosted by the University. Additionally, the research has been featured on the ‘UK Financial Capability Strategy’s website Blog which helped raise awareness of economic abuse and led to some media interest. The research findings will be permanently deposited in the What Works Fund Evidence Hub and will be widely accessible to the public. The research will be published in an academic journal.
Principal Investigator: Dr Olumide Adisa
Access to Justice: Assessing the impact of the Magistrates’ Court Closures in Suffolk
In March 2017, following significant public interest in the recent court closures in Suffolk, the University of Suffolk was commissioned to investigate the impact of the magistrates’ court closures on those most affected, particularly on those having to travel long distances. The research, undertaken by Dr Olumide Adisa, was conducted between March 2017 and May 2017, the research period was extended to November 2017 to allow additional time to include court data from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).
The study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to answer a set of broad research questions. Verified quantitative local court data drawn locally and centrally from HMCTS was used to provide information on the impact of the court closures. The research conducted interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders who represent the interests of various court users including members of the judiciary, Suffolk Constabulary, Probation and Suffolk County Council.
The dissemination of the research is ongoing and as such, the wider research impact is emerging. Nonetheless, it has garnered media interest, particularly in light of continuing court closures in rural locations in East Anglia and further field. The research will be published in an academic journal.
Principal Investigator: Dr Olumide Adisa
National Citizen Service - Young people's perceptions of online safety educational programmes
This project explores young people’s perceptions of online safety educational programmes, digital wellbeing and online experience. The paper draws on data from over 500 young people’s views on online safety sessions delivered through the National Citizen Service (NCS) Suffolk initiative. The project outcomes could shape the way educators and policy maker’s view approaches to online safeguarding education for young people. The research findings will be presented at an international conference in Aberystwyth and written for publication in an academic journal.
Principal Investigators: Katie Tyrrell and Vanessa Rawlings
Physical activity and wellbeing
The aim of this project is to identify the impact of various sporting and physical activities upon the wellbeing and activity levels of individuals across younger (11-25 years) and older (50-80 years) generations in Suffolk using a mixed methods approach. The outcomes can also enable an evaluation of the feasibility of replication and increasing the scale of activities to contribute toward an increasingly active county. The project outcomes will add to the increasing academic evidence base for the impact of physical activities upon mental health and wellbeing, particularly in relation to periods of transition. The findings will evidence for the effectiveness of activities based on participants perspectives, and if positive will lead to increased physical activity provision within the wider community. The project is featured within the Centre for Health and Wellbeing, and is an integral part of the universities continued engagement in local community-based research.
Principal Investigators: Katie Tyrrell and Vanessa Rawlings
SISER provides a platform for knowledge exchange, awareness raising and sharing of ideas around our applied research themes. We bring together academics, practioners and students to encourage discussions and debate on key contemporary issues. Keep up to date with our news on the Suffolk Research Blog