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Men, Substance Use and Relationships: A Bilateral Learning Alliance (England and Brazil)


Although intimate partner violence (IPV) (physical, sexual or psychological abuse) occurs in all countries, cultures and among all ethnic groups, our understanding of the role that cultural beliefs play in IPV perpetration is limited. 

Men in substance misuse treatment are more likely to be violent towards their female partners than non-substance misusers. Despite this, few studies have examined IPV perpetration among substance misusers, and none have examined cross-cultural issues among male substance misusers who perpetrate IPV. 

Although research suggests that 34-68% of men in substance misuse treatment have a history of IPV, many interventions for perpetrators do not address substance misuse and most substance misuse services do not screen for IPV. Integrating interventions for IPV into substance misuse treatment may improve the response to IPV among substance misusers. 

Learning Alliance  

An International Learning Alliance Steering Group of expert academics, practitioners and policy makers from England, Brazil, Spain and the US was established at the initiation of the project; to strengthen and support the exchange and dissemination of information, research, best practice and policy, and to determine how alcohol and drug services can best respond to IPV perpetration. In addition, local Learning Alliance networks of service users and providers, policy makers and academics have been established in both London and São Paulo to develop cross-sector solutions to this complex problem. Local Learning Alliances will enhance the possibility of mainstreaming the integration of IPV interventions to substance misuse treatment services by building on the knowledge transferred from this project into practice and thereby improving interventions for substance misusers who perpetrate IPV. The implementation of the Learning Alliance approach will be documented and evaluated. 


Gail Gilchrist, Martha Canfield, Polly Radcliffe & Ana Flavia Pires Lucas D’Oliveira (2017). Controlling behaviours and technology-facilitated abuse perpetrated by men receiving substance use treatment in England and Brazil: Prevalence and risk factors; Drug and Alcohol Review, 36, pp 52-63. 

Polly Radcliffe, Ana Flávia Pires Lucas d’Oliveira, Susan Lea, Wagner dos Santos Figueiredo and Gail Gilchrist (2016), Accounting for intimate partner violence perpetration. A cross-cultural comparison of English and Brazilian male substance users’ explanations. Drug and Alcohol Review. DOI: 10.1111/dar.12450. 

Polly Radcliffe and Gail Gilchrist, (2016), ‘‘You can never work with addictions in isolation’’: Addressing intimate partner violence perpetration by men in substance misuse treatment. International Journal of Drug Policy, 36, 130-140. 

Gail Gilchrist, Polly Radcliffe, Ana Regina Noto, Ana Flávia Pires Lucas d’Oliveira (2016), The prevalence and factors associated with ever perpetrating intimate partner violence by men receiving substance-use treatment in Brazil and England: A cross-cultural comparison. Drug and Alcohol Review, DOI: 10.1111/dar.12436. 


The project will: 

  • Quantitatively examine and compare the prevalence of IPV perpetration by males in substance misuse treatment in London and São Paulo. 
  • Qualitatively examine and compare the cultural construction of IPV perpetration amongst men in substance misuse treatment in London and São Paulo. 
  • Review current policies, treatment protocols and care pathways for male substance misusing perpetrators in both countries. 
  • Interview policy and practice stakeholders to identify the barriers and facilitators to working with this client group in both countries. 
  • Inform the development of an evidence and theory based cross-cultural capacity framework for working effectively with male perpetrators in substance abuse treatment.