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Boost for domestic violence research

25 November 2009

A grant of £1.8million has been awarded to researchers at the the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London and colleagues from around the UK, for a five year research programme which will study domestic violence and abuse across a range of health care providers with the aim of improving their response to victims and perpetrators.

Researchers at the IoP will be working alongside colleagues at the University of Bristol; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; London South Bank University, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Bristol and third sector organisations within the UK.

The grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) was announced today to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is the largest single grant to be awarded to health-related domestic violence research in Europe.

The programme, entitled PROVIDE (Programme of Research On Violence in Diverse domestic Environments) is designed to improve the evidence base to inform UK government policies on the health service response to domestic abuse, and to contribute to international research on domestic violence in health care contexts.

Research will include studies focusing on men attending primary care who are domestic violence perpetrators or victims; domestic violence within male homosexual relationships; two systematic reviews on the prevalence and experience of domestic violence in people who use mental health services and a randomised controlled trial of a psychological intervention for women experiencing domestic abuse.

Dr Louise Howard, Clinical Reader in Women’s Mental Health at the IoP, and colleagues recently published a large review of the prevalence of domestic violence experienced by mental health service users and examined the evidence base for interventions for this group.  They found very little research has been done to date in this area.

Dr Howard, the IoP’s lead investigator for PROVIDE said 'This is a great opportunity to build on our recent research in this area. It will increase our understanding of how domestic violence affects patients suffering with mental illness and investigate how mental health services can better address their needs.'

Professor Gene Feder, University of Bristol’s chief investigator for PROVIDE added: 'Our ultimate goal is practical: improving outcomes for people experiencing domestic violence and abuse by improving the quality of care given by health care professionals.'

Dr Louise Howard is speaking about her research on BBC Radio 4’s “All in the Mind” on Tuesday 8th December (

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