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Festival of Social Science- Approaches to Reducing Domestic Abuse

5 Nov 2018 10:00AM

The University of Suffolk and University of Essex have jointly hosted a conference on Approaches to Reducing Domestic Abuse as part of this year’s Festival of Social Science, run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Now in its sixteenth year, the Festival is the UK’s biggest celebration of social science. It runs nationally from 3-10 November and involves public debates, conferences, workshops, film screenings and virtual exhibitions.

The aim is to highlight the impact of social science research on people's lives and the University of Suffolk will be hosting two events for the public.

The Approaches to Reducing Domestic Abuse conference held on 3 November, discussed community-based approaches to tackling the issue. Findings and ongoing work from various research projects were presented on domestic abuse to highlight learning from local provision as well as sharing good practice.

Speakers included Alison Inman OBE from the Chartered Institute of Housing, Bonnie Navarra the Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales and representatives from the universities of St Mary’s, Bristol and Middlesex.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, opened the conference. He said, “It was particularly pleasing to see a wide range of speakers from all over the country and across a range of different subjects. I am a great believer in using academic research combined with police evidence so we really understand how big this problem is. It really helps me as Police and Crime Commissioner in allocation of resources; domestic abuse is a top priority.”

“We know about the damaging affects it can have on children if they are brought up in a violent atmosphere, we know there is a likelihood they will be perpetrators in the future. Certainly locally, we met some ex-gang members and there is a very strong link between a violent upbringing and getting involved in these other crimes. It needs to be dealt with on a multi-agency approach; it isn’t just for the public sector or the voluntary sector or business. We need to think about the examples we set as adults to youngsters and each other.”

Dr Olumide Adisa from the University of Suffolk and Professor Nigel South from the University of Essex co-organised the conference.

Professor South said, “The importance of domestic abuse may be more widely recognised than in the past but that does not mean it is no longer happening. It is still a crime that is hidden and under-reported. When data suggests that every week in England two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner it is clear there is still much to be done to reduce such violence.”

Dr Adisa added, "Domestic abuse destroys people's lives and affects generations. Each year nearly two million people in the UK suffer some form of domestic abuse. Understanding 'what works' for domestic abuse is a high priority for policymakers locally and nationally in the UK. This has certainly been seen in recent efforts on the part of the government to deal with domestic abuse at every stage, from prevention to protection as well as rehabilitation. There is much to be learnt from community-based provision to reduce domestic abuse.”

The University of Suffolk will host ‘Movement and Memories: Exploring Perceptions of Dementia’ as part of the Festival on Saturday 10 November. For more information visit


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