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The Change Up Project: Using Social Norming Theory with Young People to Address Domestic Abuse and Promote Healthy Relationships


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This paper presents the findings of a secondary analysis of data collected during a pilot project, Change Up, which used a social norming approach (SNA) to address domestic violence and abuse (DVA) with young people aged 13–14. A SNA is based upon a well-articulated theory of behavior and evidence-based methodology for addressing social justice issues. This reflects a paradigm shift focusing upon strengths and positives, rather than pathologizing behaviors. Adopting a SNA, the Change Up project comprised a baseline survey followed by the intervention (workshop and peer-to-peer campaign), ending with a post-intervention survey. It was delivered in two high schools in a UK city between 2015 and 16. A secondary analysis of the survey data collected during the surveys and qualitative data collected at the end of each workshop was undertaken and this is reported here. Change Up data illustrates that most young people in the sample thought that DVA is unacceptable. There was, however, a gender difference in the norms held about the social acceptability of girls using physical violence against boys (and vice versa). The analysis of Change Up data indicates that a social norming approach to DVA programs aimed at young people can be successful in promoting attitude and behavior change. It also highlights a continuing need for young people’s education about relationships and gender equality.
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The Change Up Project: Using Social Norming Theory
with Young People to Address Domestic Abuse and Promote Healthy
Michaela Rogers
&Tim Rumley
&Gary Lovatt
Published online: 19 December 2018
#The Author(s) 2018
This paper presents the findings of a secondary analysis of data collected during a pilot project, Change Up, which used a social
norming approach (SNA) toaddress domestic violence and abuse (DVA) with young people aged 1314. A SNA is based upon a
well-articulated theory of behavior and evidence-based methodology for addressing social justice issues. This reflects a paradigm
shift focusing upon strengths and positives, rather than pathologizing behaviors. Adopting a SNA, the Change Up project
comprisedabaselinesurveyfollowedbythe intervention (workshop and peer-to-peer campaign), ending with a post-
intervention survey. It was delivered in two high schools in a UK city between 2015 and 16. A secondary analysis of the survey
data collected during the surveys and qualitative data collected at the end of each workshop was undertaken and this is reported
here. Change Up data illustrates that most young people in the sample thought that DVA is unacceptable. There was, however, a
gender difference in the norms held about the social acceptability of girls using physical violence against boys (and vice versa).
The analysis of Change Up data indicates that a social norming approach to DVA programs aimed at young people can be
successful in promoting attitude and behavior change. It also highlights a continuing need for young peoples education about
relationships and gender equality.
Keywords Domestic violence and abuse .Young people .Teenagers .Relationships .Social norms theory .Prevention
The World Health Organization (WHO) (2017) has described
domestic violence and abuse (DVA) as a serious public health
problem of global epidemic proportions. For England and
Wales, DVA has certainly become a national pandemic, cost-
ing approximately £16 billion each year, and statistics consis-
tently show that 1 in 4 women will experience DVA at some
point in the lifetime (Guy et al. 2014; Walby, 2009). Whilst
physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuses have long
been recognized as coming under the umbrella of DVA, coer-
cive and controlling behavior (hereafter called coercive con-
trol), as an insidious form of relationship abuse, is now rec-
ognized for its considerable distressing and harmful effects in
the UK and beyond (Home Office 2018). This is helpful as it
also steers discourse away from the public story of DVA
interpreted as physical violence perpetrated by men against
women within a heterosexual relationship (Donovan and
Hester 2014) to a more nuanced understanding of DVA as
complex and multi-dimensional. Over the last decade or so,
what has increasing been brought to the fore, is the realization
that DVA is not a social problem limited to adulthood, but it is
also a problem in the relationships of children and young
people. Acknowledging this, in 2013, the UKsHome
Office widened the definition of DVA to include young people
aged 16 and 17 to:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, co-
ercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse be-
tween those aged 16 or over who are or have been inti-
mate partners or family members regardless of gender or
sexuality. (Home Office 2018,para1)
*Michaela Rogers
School of Health & Society, The University of Salford, Frederick
Road Campus, Salford M6 6PU, UK
Salford City Council, Salford, UK
Social Sense, Manchester, UK
Journal of Family Violence (2019) 34:507519
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Moreover, in March 2017 the UKs Central Government an-
nounced that it will legislate to ensure that all schools (primary
and secondary) will teach children and young people about
healthy relationships in the future (HM Government 2017).
This paper presents the findings of a secondary analysis of
the data collected during the delivery of the Change Up pro-
gramme. Change Up is a secondary school project which
promotes healthy relationships and uses social norms theory
to explore young peoples attitudes and experiences of DVA.
This paper aims to illuminate how social norming theory is
beneficial in DVA prevention programs with young people.
Literature review
Whilst methodological and conceptual inconsistencies be-
tween studies into young peoples experiences of DVA render
it difficult to compare data and findings (Hellevik et al. 2015),
there is an emerging body of work in this field. In 2009 Barter
et al. (2009) reported concerning levels of physical,
psychological/emotional and sexual abuse within the relation-
ships of young people aged 1317 years after surveying 1353
young people from eight secondary schools across England,
Wales and Scotland. Of 88% respondents who had experi-
enced some form of intimate relationship, 22% had experi-
enced moderate physical violence (pushing, slapping or hold-
ing down) and 8% had experienced more severe physical vi-
olence (punching, strangling, using an object). Three-quarters
of the girls and half of the boys had experienced emotional
abuse, with the most common form as being made fun of
and/or the use of surveillance in constantly being checked up
on. One in three girls and 16% of boys reported some form of
sexual abuse from a partner with 70% of girls and 13% of
boys stating that this had negatively impacted their well-be-
ing. Drawing attention to the gender-based framework for
understanding the dynamics and impacts of DVA, Barter
et al. highlighted that a central issue concerns gender. Girls,
compared to boys, reported greater incidence rates for all
forms of violence (Barter et al. 2009:4).
More recently, Broad and Gadd (2014)conductedasurvey
of 1203 young people, aged 1314 years old, finding that over
half had some direct experience of DVA (whether as victims,
perpetrators or as witnesses). They found that 44% of boys
and 46% of girls reported that they had experienced at least
one of the types of DVA (physical, mental/emotional, sexual
abuse or coercive control). The most commonly reported ex-
perience ofabuse pertained to emotional abuse and controlling
behaviors with 38% reporting at least one type of maltreat-
ment falling into one of these categories. Diverging from
Barter et al.s findings, when gender differences were tested
for physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse/
controlling behaviors, the only significant difference recorded
was for sexualvictimization; with girls reporting considerably
more than boys.
An international evidence synthesis by Stonard et al.
(2014) also identified concerning levels of all types of
abuse (physical, sexual and emotional). This study found
a high percentage (between 50 and 70%) of young people
who reported experiencing abuse through new technolo-
gies and there is an emerging body of work reporting
forms of exploitation and abuse which use social media
and digital technologies in young peoples relationships
(Zweig and Dank 2013;Helleviketal.2015). Stonard
et al.s study drew together findings from countries in
the Global North including the US, Canada, the UK,
Europe and New Zealand.
Overall, these findings are unsurprising as the evidence is
building. One study across five European countries (the UK,
Norway, Italy, Bulgaria and Cyprus) investigated young peo-
ples experiences of face-to-face and digital abuse (Hellevik
et al. 2015) again finding significant levels of DVA for young
people, but with considerable differences in the prevention
and intervention policies and practices between the countries
and in the way that the role of gender factors in these re-
sponses and each countriesinterpretation of phenomena
(Barter et al. 2015). For example, when focusing on sexual
abuse in young peoples relationships, in Bulgaria this is often
sensationalized in media reporting (linked to pedophilia or
stalking) with young peoples sexuality purportedly a hotly
debated topic, whereas in Italy data is not systematically col-
lected and consequently there is a tendency for issues, such as
sexual abuse in young peoplesrelationships,tobeconfused
and conflated with others such as pedophilia, familial sexual
abuse, child pornography, child trafficking/sexual exploita-
tion, cyber/bullying and gender-based violence more broadly
(Barter et al. 2015).
Other work found within the body of international lit-
erature reveals that victimhood and perpetration in adoles-
cence are influenced by social, cultural and lifestyle fac-
tors (Sabina et al. 2016). For example, when accounting
for age differences, the evidence-base in the USA sug-
gests that incidents of DVA in young peoples relation-
ships increase as they get older (Hokoda et al. 2012).
Viewing age as an indicative factor is important as re-
search indicates that those young people who are exposed
to relationship abuse earlier during adolescence are more
likely to experience DVA later in life (Alleyne-Green
et al. 2012). There are, therefore, implications with regard
to the timing of interventions (Hokoda et al. 2012). Yet in
terms of gendered experiences, overall the global litera-
ture presents conflicting results, and it is reasonable to
conclude that girls and boys are both perpetrators and
victims of DVA with more research needed to provide a
clearer picture of perpetration, victimhood, risk and pro-
tective factors.
508 J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519
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Addressing DVA Through Interventions with Young
Within the DVA sector and across the academy, there is an
increasing interest in how social norms theory (SNT) can be
harnessed to address gender-based violence, in particular, and
other gendered inequalities, more generally (Cislaghi and
Heise 2017). This includes identifying a simple way to mea-
sure social norms and using SNT to design successful inter-
ventions. Between 2016 and 2017 Social Sense, a social mar-
keting agency delivered a pilot project, Change Up, based
upon SNTwhich focused on early prevention work for young
people associated with, involved in or at risk of DVA. By
using a targeted approach, it was envisaged that the project
would, to some extent, address the fragmented support avail-
able to young people living in pockets of a city known to have
high levels of DVA. Across 2016 and 2017 the Change Up
project delivered a high school-based prevention program
centering on healthy (non-violent) relationships (described
below) to young people aged 13 to 14 years old.
Whilst a national picture of DVA in young peoples
relationships has been emerging over the past decade,
the location for Change Up was the North West of
England which has some of the highest rates of DVA in
the UK (CPS 2012). For example, in 2017 across Greater
Manchester 22,739 domestic abuse related crimes were
recorded, and 67,987 domestic abuse related incidents (in-
cidents not recorded as a crime); combined this made the
North West region the third highest in England and Wales
(ONS 2017). These statistics pertain to adult experiences
as young peoplesexperiences of DVA are not systemat-
ically recorded in the UK, and therefore, a pragmatic ap-
proach was taken to the location of program delivery with
the setting for both high schools in an area of the North
WestknowntohavehighratesofDVAwithChange Up
aiming to positively affect future statistics of DVA perpe-
tration. A number of high schools were approached
resulting in two schools willing to participate at the time
of the project delivery.
In the next section, an explication of a social norms
approach is provided to demonstrate its value in preven-
tion work with young people on sensitive topics such as
DVA. The project design of Change Up is explicitly de-
scribed to illustrate how the data was collected. This data
was subject to a secondary analysis and the results de-
scribe the norms and attitude change between the baseline
and repeat surveys towards physical and psychological
violence (focusing on coercive and controlling behaviors)
and is followed by an account of the experiences of young
people. Both qualitative and quantitative data has been
triangulated and the discussion synthesizes the results,
exploring these in light of current understandings of
DVA and young people.
A Social Norms Approach
Since the 1950s the influence of social norms on peoples
behavior has been studied across the social sciences. As a
consequence, a social norming approach (SNA) is based upon
a well-articulated theory of behavior and evidence-based
methodology for addressing health and social justice issues
(Berkowitz 2012). In work with young people, it has increas-
ingly been utilized in prevention work around alcohol use and
smoking (Elsey et al. 2015; Sheikh et al. 2017). More impor-
tantly, it is during the last decade that social norms theory has
gained momentum as a potentially useful means of addressing
gender-based violence and domestic abuse (Cislaghi and
Heise 2017).
In a social norming approach, a norm is a belief or custom
that is held by the majority of a group or community with three
identifiable types: actual; perceived; and misperceived norms.
Actual norms are those which are actually believed or shown
in behavior, whereas perceived norms refer to what people
think or perceive the norm to be. A misperceived norm refers
to when the perceived norm is different from the actual norm;
that is, when what people think is the norm is not actually the
case (Berkowitz 2012). For example, young people wearing
hoodies have been portrayed in the media as deviant or crim-
inal (the misperceived norm). The disconnect in relation to the
false and the actual norm can be described as pluralistic
ignorance (Prentice and Miller 1996). The actual norm is that
most hoodie wearing young people are not deviant nor in-
volved in criminality. A SNA draws upon these differences
in interventions to demonstrate misperceptions and that actual
norms are more commonly held.
Developed by Berkowitz and Perkins (1987), a SNA has
been used in various studies and implemented in prevention
programs and interventions to change misperceptions and as-
sumptions, addressing problem behaviors. A social norming
approach incorporates the following principles:
&Norms influence behavior yet norms are often
misperceived (over or under estimated);
&Misperceptions lead people to conform to a false norm
(attitudes and behaviors are adjusted to conform to what
is incorrectly perceived to be true);
&Correcting misperceptions allows individuals to act in ac-
cordance with their actual beliefs, which are most often
positive (adapted from Berkowitz 2012).
In the context of prevention work, a SNA reflects a
paradigm shift as it focuses upon strengths and positives
rather than aspects of problematic behavior. It does so in
relation to a reference group; that is, a group of people
that have a certain set of rules, and different groups of
people have different rules (Bicchieri, 2006). For exam-
ple, in another social norming project delivered by Social
J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519 509
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Sense, the RU Different? program, there has been evi-
dence of consistent changes in the perception and behav-
ior of young people around alcohol and tobacco use in
pre- and post-test surveys, conducted before and after a
digital intervention, highlighting that most young people
do not engage in alcohol and tobacco usage (the reference
group) (Social Sense 2018).
As a SNA locates people in their social environment,
the impact of this is recognized in terms of inhibiting or
inspiring healthy norms and behaviors. It also emphasizes
the role that individuals play within their environments
and communities in terms of prevention. For example,
within the context of young peoples intimate relation-
ships, the prevention of DVA can be facilitated by indi-
viduals if they recognize friendsor familiesexperiences
as abusive and then act to prevent it or seek help to stop it
(by telling a trusted adult for example). As such,
bystanders play an important role (in what is termed by-
stander intervention). However, this is closely linked to
norms in that if the individual feels that their recognition
of abuse would not be shared by others within their social
network, and their actions frowned upon, then they are
less likely to act. In this way, as Berkowitz (2012:5)
notes the correct perception of the normis the basis of
the effectiveness of the social norms approach as a pre-
vention strategy and within a social network or commu-
nity the reference group (Bichierri 2006)-whereanti-
abuse norms are correctly perceived, individuals are more
likely to act to prevent violence and abuse of this nature.
Essentially, a SNA centers upon aligning behavior and
values. This approach to prevention work has been de-
scribed as cutting edge(Berkowitz 2012:6),buttobe
effective it requires a particular understanding of the com-
munity and the environment. For this reason, scoping
work was undertaken in selecting the sites for the delivery
of Change Up.
Change Up Project Design
The design of Change Up incorporated a multi-method
approach drawing from both qualitative and quantitative
methods of data collection. The project design reflected a
social norms approach to the design and delivery of pre-
vention programs (Berkowitz and Perkins 1987;
Berkowitz 2012) with three core phases: Phase 1 the
pre-test (baseline) survey; Phase 2 the intervention (work-
shops and campaigns); and finally, Phase 3 post-test (re-
peat survey). The Change Up program was delivered
across two high schools (HS1 and HS2) in the North
West of England; both neighborhoods were known to
have high rates of DVA amongst the adult population.
Phase 1: Baseline Survey
Students accessed the baseline survey during school time (be-
tween May and July 2016) and surveys (n=174 the popu-
lation of Year 9 students across both schools) were completed
on an anonymous basis in order to minimize any social desir-
ability bias. Parental consent was obtained by Social Sense
and, additionally, consent from young people was taken with
students informed that the survey was anonymous and that
they could withdraw at any time (although any answers given
would not be retrieved as these would not beidentifiable). The
sample was fairly evenly split in terms of gender with 50%
(n= 88) self-identifying as female, 44% (n= 77) as male and
6% (n= 11) preferred not to say. Young people were aged 13
14 years old and there was a diversity of ethnic and cultural
backgrounds (see Table 1). The sample was more diverse, in
terms of the ethnicity, than the national population which re-
ports 86% of the UK resident population as White British in
2011, compared to 68% in the baseline survey (ONS 2017),
with 32% representing a number of different ethnic groups.
The survey incorporated 30 (mostly) closed questions.
Questions were constructed using SNT with consideration of
key issues affecting this age group in relation to healthy and
non-healthy relationships (some questions are not reported in
this paper as these are not relevant to this topic). For example,
some questions were scenario-based; suppose someone hits
their partner and says sorry afterwards, do you think this is
wrong?) with multiple choice answers (yes/no/sometimes) or
a likert scale used to measure responses. Some attempted to
measure gender bias offering scenarios in relation to perpe-
trating abuse towards males and females (see Results). Some
questions used the pronoun they, rather than heor sheto
be gender neutral and inclusive of all genders and sexual iden-
tities, as well as relationship types (opposite-sex/same-sex). In
the baseline survey, questions centering on experiences of
concepts of DVA (coercive control, psychological abuse and
emotional abuse), rather than attitudes, were included some
with multiple-indicators (for instance, verbal abuse, control-
ling behavior, use of threats). In addition to the social norming
messages extracted from the survey data, this data served to
inform the design of the intervention.
Phase 2: Intervention Design and Delivery
Statistical data from the baseline survey allowed for compar-
ison of the two school samples, and key themes emerged.
These informed the design of the interventions which included
one that was active (a workshop) and one that was passive (a
poster campaign). A key theme of coercive and controlling
behavior was identified as there was a greater divergence in
norms and attitudes towards these than with physical abuse.
Between October and December 2016 delivery of four work-
shops (two in each school) was undertaken during school
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hours involving 120 students. Participants were selected in the
same way as Phase 1 with a reduced number due to absences
from school on the day of the workshop delivery. The work-
shops combined the viewing and discussion of a short film
about young peoples experiences of coercive control, follow-
ed by groupwork to design posters. Each poster was used in a
peer-to-peer poster campaign. The poster campaigns were de-
livered in each high school during October 2016 and January
2017. Qualitative data was captured at the end of each work-
shop through the anonymous completion of pre-printed feed-
back postcards (with something Ill do differently after today
is…’ (n= 60 completed) or today made me think about…’
(n= 71 completed) (n= 2 were unusable). All feedback card
data was anonymous.
Phase 3: Repeat Survey
Between October and December 2016, the repeat survey
(post-test) was distributed to the secondary schools with com-
pletion by students (n= 171). The survey was open following
the delivery of the intervention. See Table 1for a breakdown
of the respondentscharacteristics. Efforts were made to sur-
vey the same sample from the baseline survey and workshop
participants, but a limitation of the sample is noted as respon-
dents may not have not participated in the workshop and/or
poster campaign. The survey was reduced to 20 questions,
omitting those in the baseline survey which referred to behav-
ior unrelated to DVA or relationships more generally, whilst
including new questions constructed using the key themes
contained within the poster campaign. Comparison was made
between questions included in both surveys, with analysis of
new questions pertaining to norms associated with the content
of the intervention (workshop).
Evaluation Methodology
Evaluation Design
The service provider, Social Sense, undertook all data collec-
tion as this constituted part of the program delivery. This paper
presents a secondary analysis of that data. A secondary anal-
ysis has facilitated an extended investigation moving beyond
the initial reporting of results by Social Sense to their funding
body. Moreover, conducting a secondary analysis of data is
now a widely recognized methodology with the intention of
Table 1 Participant
characteristics by gender and
Variable Baseline Survey Repeat Survey
N(%) N(%)
Preferred not to say
88 (50%)
77 (44%)
11 (6%)
88 (52%)
76 (44%)
Ethnic origin
Asian & Asian British Bangladeshi
Asian & Asian British Other
Asian & Asian British Indian
Asian & Asian British Pakistani
Black & Black British - African
Black & Black British Caribbean
Black & Black British Other
Chinese or Other-Chinese
English Traveller
Irish Traveller
Mixed other
Mixed White & Asian
Mixed White & Black African
Mixed White & Black Caribbean
Not disclosed
Roma Gypsy
White British
White - Irish
White other
3 (1.5%)
3 (1.5%)
1 (0.5%)
14 (8%)
10 (6%)
3 (1.5%)
1 (0.5%)
116 (68%)
1 (0.5%)
6 (3.5%)
1 (0.5%)
1 (0.5%)
4 (2.5%)
1 (0.5%)
4 (2.5%)
4 (2.5%)
121 (71.5%)
1 (0.5%)
6 (3.5%)
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extending the analytical depth of the original work; a process
which Thorne (1994)termsasanalytic expansion (Corti et al.
2005;Bulmeretal.2009; Rogers and Ahmed 2017).
Secondary narrative analysis is also useful when revisiting
key themes within the context of contemporary theoretical
frameworks (Elliot et al. 2015).
As this is a secondary analysis, it was not possible for
controls to be implemented regarding recruitment or sam-
pling. The data has been triangulated to produce a review of
the findingsbut draws principally from the studyssurveydata
using descriptive statistics (Fisher and Marshall 2008)topro-
vide a summary and picture of young peoples attitudes and
norms. Quantitative data from the baseline and repeat surveys
is presented to demonstrate if a measurable change had oc-
curred. Survey data has been aggregated from two sources (in
HS1 and HS2) but where there is a significant difference in
results, this is reported below.
Qualitative data from the feedback cards took the form of
concise statements in response to the prompts something Ill
do differently after today is…’ or today made me think
about…’ (see below). A thematic approach was used for the
analysis of this data and in the reporting of the triangulated
data (Braun and Clarke 2006). This involved coding each
statement to establish some general themes which were:
healthy relationships; coercive and controlling behaviour;
the recognition of domestic abuse; help-seeking and speaking
Ethical Considerations
Social Sense negotiated ethical approval directly from the par-
ticipating schools. Participation was voluntary and parental
consent was acquired (using an opt outstrategy) as well as
the consent from young people on the day of survey comple-
tion or workshops. Participants were guaranteed anonymity,
confidentiality and informed that they could withdraw their
participation at any time. No official ethical approval was
required for the secondary analysis in accordance with the
University of Salfords Ethics Policy.
Safeguarding Protocol
Safeguarding protocols were triggered if a workshop par-
ticipant experienced distress. Additionally, due to the hid-
den nature of abusive relationships, a consequence of the
delivery of Change Up was that several young people felt
empowered to make disclosures. They received targeted
support as safeguarding protocols were followed immedi-
ately: two disclosures were made following the workshop
delivery and three disclosures were made in the survey
free text boxes.
Results & Analysis
In this section, relevant data is presented with a summary of
results; the first theme is physical abuse. Responses to ques-
tions on physical abuse are reported where it is possible to
compare these from the baseline and repeat survey data.
This highlights changes in young peoples norms and attitudes
following the intervention (workshops and poster campaigns).
Second, findings which specifically report the norms and at-
titudes held about emotional abuse are presented following
those referring to coercive control. Some refer to questions
in the baseline survey whereas questions were moderated in
the repeat survey to align with the themes that emerged fol-
lowing the intervention phase. For instance, respondents in the
repeat survey were asked if they had seen the poster campaign
(31 replied yes, 28 replied no). Students were asked did the
workshop and/or posters make you think differently about
how you want to be treatedand 57% (n= 33) replied yes
and 43% (n= 25) replied no. However, a more significant
number of students reported that they thought differently
about how they treated others as a result of attending the
workshop or the poster campaign: 69% (n= 40) replied yes
and 31% (n= 18) replied no. In the final section, findings
pertainingto experiences are presented to provide further con-
text to the sample.
Norms and Attitudes About DVA: Physical Violence
Emotions and Physical Violence A question was asked that
centered on the relationship between love and physical abuse
with 79% of young people in the baseline survey indicating
that hitting someone you love is wrong, rising to 87% in the
repeat survey. Few respondents answered noor sometimes.
Therefore, most young people in both the baseline (n=139)
and repeat (n= 143) thought that you should not hit someone
that you love (see Q.1 Table 2).
Young people were also asked to consider scenarios where
they might experience negative emotions and in response to
the question if someone hits their partner because they really
embarrass them; is it wrong?, there was a considerable
change from the baseline responses (72% answered yes)to
the repeat survey (90% answered yes). The proportion of the
sample answering nodropping from 11% to 3% and those
responding sometimesdropping from 17% to 7% (see Q.3
Table 2).
In order to ascertain a measure of norms around physical
violence towards females, young people were asked about
hitting a girlfriend if they were found to be irritating (getting
on your nerves) with little change across the surveys; there
was a small rise of 7% (from 83% to 90%) answering that
these was wrong. Similarly, reflecting on the use of physical
abuse when angry, more than three-quarters of the sample
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(78%) felt that this was wrong, and following the intervention,
again this rose in the repeat survey (to 89%) (see Table 2).
Behavior Norms and Using Violence: Contrition The baseline
survey indicated that over half (55%) of young people in the
sample felt that it was wrong to hit their partner and then
apologize with 15% indicating that this was acceptable within
the realms of that relationship. Following the intervention,
there was a considerable change in the repeat survey with a
rise of 19% (from 55% to 74%) of respondents indicating that
this was wrong. The number of young people who selected
noalso reflected a sizeable reduction (from 15% to 4%) and
with those who selected sometimesa fair reduction (from
30% to 22%) (see Q.5 Table 2).
Behavior Norms and Using Violence: Cheating Table 2indi-
cates that when asked whether it is wrong for a partner to hit
their girlfriend if she had cheated (been unfaithful), almost
three-quarters (71%) of young people in the baseline survey
were in agreement with a rise to 82% in the repeat survey. In
the baseline survey 15% of young people indicated that they
felt that it was sometimesacceptable to hit their girlfriend in
this scenario, but this dropped by approximately half (to 8%)
in the repeat survey. Respondents were also asked suppose a
boy cheats on his partner do you think it is wrong for THEM
to hit HIMwith similar findings of 70% of young people
agreeing that this is wrong in the baseline survey (indicating
only 1% difference in attitudes taking the gender of the victim
into account) and again this rose, to 80%, in the repeat survey.
Similarly, 17% indicated that this was sometimes acceptable
in the baseline survey, with a drop to 8% in the repeat survey.
This indicates little difference in terms of gender bias in atti-
tudes to using physical violence after experiencing a partners
cheating behavior.
Behavior Norms and Using Violence: Alcohol Use Responding
to a scenario whereby a partner is physically abusive whilst
under the influence of alcohol, responses were clearly delin-
eated with the majority thinking that this was wrong (81% in
the baseline survey, and 87% in the repeat survey). 5%
(baseline) and 1% (repeat) reported that this was not wrong,
with no change in the repeat survey of respondents who
thought that this was sometimes acceptable (14%).
Behavior Norms and Physical Violence: Retaliation Tw o ques-
tions centering on retaliation were gendered. Responses to
these questions showed the most difference in terms of what
is considered to be an acceptable behavioral norm in relation
to using physical violence. The norm was stated as agirlhits
her boyfriend; do you think it is wrong for HIM to hit HER
back?In the baseline survey, half (50%) of young people felt
that it was wrong for a boy to hit his girlfriend in retaliation
with the remaining participants spread equally between the
attitude that it was sometimes OK (25%) and with the same
proportionate (25%) indicating that it was acceptable behav-
ior. There were, however, considerable attitudinal shifts of
16% in the repeat survey (from 50% to 66% indicating yes,
it is wrongwith reductions in participants indicating that this
was not wrong or sometimes wrong) (see Fig. 1). However,
this is only two-thirds of the sample. Disaggregating the data
indicated that in one of the high schools the percentage change
was considerable rising from 47% reporting yes, it is wrong
Table 2 Norms and attitudes: physical violence
Baseline survey Repeat survey
Some- times
Some- times
(1) Is it wrong for someone to hit their partner if they love them? 133 (79) 17 (10) 18 (11) 143 (87) 11 (7) 6 (6)
(2) Someone is angry and hits their partner is this wrong? 132 (78) 8 (5) 29 (17) 147 (89) 4 (2) 14 (9)
(3) If someone hits their partner because they really embarrass
them - is it wrong?
121 (72) 18 (11) 29 (17) 148 (90) 5 (3) 11 (7)
(4) A girl gets on her partners nerves; do you think it is wrong for
THEM to hit HER?
130 (83) 13 (8) 14 (9) 147 (90) 10 (6) 7 (4)
(5) Someone hits their partner and says sorry afterwards do you
think that this is wrong?
93 (55) 26 (15) 49 (30) 121 (74) 7 (4) 37 (22)
(6) A girl cheats on her partner do you think it is wrong for
THEM to hit HER?
119 (71) 23 (14) 26 (15) 135 (82) 16 (10) 14 (8)
(7) A boy cheats on his partner do you think it is wrong for
THEM to hit HIM?
118 (70) 21 (13) 29 (17) 132 (80) 20 (12) 13 (18)
8) Someone is drunk and hits their partner; is this wrong? 134 (81) 8 (5) 24 (66) 143 (87) 2 (1) 19 (12)
(9) A girl hits her boyfriend; do you think it is wrong for HIM to
hit HER back?
84 (50) 41 (25) 40 (25) 109 (66) 25 (16) 30 (18)
(10) A boy hits his girlfriend; do you think it is wrong for HER to
hit HIM back?
69 (42) 63 (38) 34,920) 97 (59) 33 (20) 34 (21)
J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519 513
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in the baseline survey to 77% reporting yes, it is wrongin the
repeat survey.
The sample was presented with the same scenario, but in
switching the gender identity of the protagonists, so that the
norm and question was A boy hits his girlfriend; doyou think
it is wrong for HER to hit HIM back?Inthebaselinesurvey
there was a modest difference in the proportion who consid-
ered this to be wrong (42%), but considerably more respon-
dents (38%) considered that it was acceptable for a girl to hit a
boyfriend if he has hit her and 20% felt that it was sometimes
acceptable. This indicates a gender difference, in that it is
more acceptable for a girl to use physical aggression in retal-
iation after being hit by her boyfriend. Again, there was a
substantial difference in one of the high schools as 36% re-
ported this to be wrong in the baseline survey but this rose to
72% in the repeat survey. Figure 1positively illuminates the
considerable shifts in attitudes between each survey.
Norms and Attitudes: Coercive Control
and Psychological Abuse
An additional set of norming statements were included in
therepeatsurveytoascertainattitudes following the in-
tervention (workshop and/or peer-to-peer campaign). The
first statement was emotional abuse is as bad as physical
abuse, with less than half (43%, n= 68) of students in
strong agreement, but 51% in agreement (n=80), 6%
disagreed (n= 9) and just 1% strongly disagreed (1) (see
Table 3). This suggests that following the intervention
there is some convergence in terms of attitudes towards
physical abuse and emotional abuse as equally harmful
forms of DVA.
Another statement that students were asked to consider in
the repeat survey, concerned the scenario of coercive control
in a partners choice of friends/clothes/where they go or what
they do with just over half (53%, n= 83%) who strongly
agreed that you should never control your partner in this
way, 40% (n= 63) agreed, 6% (n = 9) disagreed) and 1%
(n= 1) strongly disagreed. Both statements 1 and 2 indicate
positive norms with 93% of young people in agreement.
To contrast the focus on coercive and controlling behavior,
students were asked to comment on positive norms: both
partners should always trust and respect each otherwith ap-
proximately 98% (n= 155) in agreement. In addition, a state-
ment based on the conception of bystander intervention
(Berkowitz 2012) was proposed and the majority of the sam-
ple agreed that you should speak outif you know someone
was being abused with 96% (n= 152) in agreement.
41 42
25 30
Yes No Somemes
A girl hits her boyfriend; is it wrong for HIM to hit
HER back?
Baseline survey Repeat survey
Fig. 1 Behavior norms and
physical retaliation (by male)
Table 3 Norms and attitudes: coercive control and psychological abuse
Repeat survey
Strongly agree
Strongly Disagree
(1) Emotional abuse is as bad as physical abuse 68 (43) 80 (50) 9 (6) 1 (1)
(2) You should never control your partnerschoice
of friends, clothes, where they go or what they do
84 (53) 64 (40) 9 (5) 1 (1)
(3) Both partners should always trust and respect each other 106 (67) 49 (31) 2 (1) 1 (1)
(4) If you know someone being abused, you should speak out 94 (59) 58 (37) 6 (4) 0 (0)
514 J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519
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Experiences of DVA: Coercive Control
and Psychological Abuses
Young people reported their experiences and those that were
not physically violent (but aligned with a definition of coer-
cive control) were more frequently reported in the baseline
survey (see Table 4) with 98% in HS1 and 96% in HS2
reporting that they had not experienced physical violence.
Coercive Control Tabl e 4demonstrates the reports of be-
haviors which, if experienced by young people, could be
indicative of coercive control. Whilst more overt behav-
iors (threats, pressure) were not experienced commonly,
less aggressive behaviors, which are akin to surveillance
(see Q.2 and Q.3), were experienced more often albeit
still by only a small proportion of the sample. For in-
stance, students were asked have any of your partners
ever told you who you could or couldnt see and where
you could or couldntgo?with 76% (n= 118/156) indi-
cating that they had never experienced this, 6% (n=10)
had experienced this on a single occasion, 14% (n=22)a
few times with just 4% (n = 6) having often experienced
this form of control. More young people had experienced
a different form of surveillance as 16% had experienced
being constantly checked up on’‘a few times,6%(n=
10) often and 12% (n= 19) had experienced this once
within a romantic relationship. Two-thirds (66%) had nev-
er experienced this.
Psychological Abuse In response to the question have any of
your partners ever shouted at you, screamed in your face or
called you hurtful names?71% (n= 110) indicated that this
had never happened to them. Of the remaining sample, 15%
(n= 23) of students said that this had occurred once with 10%
(n= 16) experiencing this a few times and just 4% (n=7)
reporting that this had occurred often. Focusing more on the
content of verbal abuse, as body image is a sensitive issue for
young people, respondents were asked about their experiences
of receiving derogatory comments about their body and/or
appearance. Responses were similar by each category with
79% (n=123)and80%(n= 124) never experiencing this with
only 1% (n =2) and 2% (n= 4) often experiencing this within
the realms of an intimate relationship. Young people were also
asked about whether any partners had made disparaging com-
ments concerning their relationships with family and friends
(see Table 4): 65% (n= 101) had never experienced this in
relation to their friends, and 83% (n=130)inrelationtotheir
Taking a Social Norming Approach to Interventions
and Behavior Change
The feedback cards collected qualitative data following each
workshop (with n= 131 usable responses) and illuminated the
beginnings of attitudinal shifts with several themes emerging.
The data indicated a variety of ways in which participants
considered that their behavior would change in terms of how
they would treat partners, how they would look for signs of
abuse and how they would seek help for their friends or for
themselves. The latter point is critical as there are various
studies which depict the ways in which people are prevented
from recognizing their experiences as abusive and from seek-
ing access from specialist service provision. This is even more
difficult for victims who belong to marginalized groups
Table 4 Experiences: coercive control and psychological abuse
Baseline survey
Indicators of coercive control Never
A few times
(1) Have any of your partners ever threatened to hurt you
physically unless you did what they wanted?
139 (89) 4 (3) 9 (5) 4 (3)
(2) Have any of your partners ever told you who you could
or couldnt see and where you could or couldntgo?
118 (76) 10 (6) 22 (14) 6 (4)
(3) Have any of your partners ever constantly checked up
on what you were doing eg by phone or text?
102 (66) 19 (12) 25 (16) 10 (6)
(4) Have any of your partners ever pressured you into kissing,
touching or something else sexual?
133 (86) 17 (11) 3 (2) 2 (1)
Indicators of psychological abuse
(5) Have any of your partners ever shouted at you, screamed in
your face or called you hurtful names?
110(71) 23(15) 16(10) 7(4)
(6) Have any of your partners said negative things about your:
(i) body and/or
(ii) appearance and/or
(iii) friends and/or
(iv) family?
123 (79)
124 (80)
101 (65)
130 (83)
13 (8)
25 (16)
13 (8)
20 (13)
17 (11)
24 (15)
11 (7)
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(whether this is because of age, gender, sexuality, disability or
culture) (Donovan & Hester, 2014;Rogers2015). In terms of
Healthy Relationships, one young person wrote that the work-
shop made them reflect upon what is acceptable in terms of
anothersbehavioras‘…even if you love someone, dontlet
them treat you badly. Other young people indexed qualities
that they would expect in a healthy relationship including
equality, respect and trust.
Moving away from the dominant narrative of DVA (the
public story) - that it is a problem of physical violence - was
a key aim of the intervention. The workshops appeared to be
successful on this count and evidently prompted a range of
considerations in terms of what counted as healthy and what
counted as Coercive and Controlling Behavior. One young
person astutely described how abusive behaviors can escalate
when commenting [] that it is not right to control people
and controlling starts from small things and can get bigger.
Others reflected that after the workshop experience, some-
thing that they would do differentlyis:
[]dont let anyone control your life;
[] make sure people dontcontrolme;
[] never let a boy control u (sic);and
[]rememberIm in charge of my own self.
The Recognition of Domestic Abuse was another theme as
young people commented on being able to identify signs and
how the workshops had made them think about []howto
handle domestic abuse and how to spot it and stop it.The
ways in ways abuse can push relationship boundaries was
[] make sure to know when a relationship has been taken
too far. Moreover, the workshop helped young people to
acknowledge that DVA takes many forms and is not a singular
incident as one young person noted that they were prompted
to think about ‘…the patterns of domestic abuse and how it
can impact your social life.
The proposition that DVA can happen to anyone regardless
of their background (gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity) was
adopted by several young people ([]domestic abuse
doesnt happen to just females but males as well) and had
wide-ranging and serious impacts. These elements of the abu-
sive dynamic were considered in relation to Help-seeking and
speaking out as young people wrote considered their own
experiences, but also those of their friends:
[]ifIseeabuse,Ill help;
[] to share things with friends and dontkeepitin.
And if you dont think youre happy in that relationships
try to break up);
[] observe more around your friends and if they get
treated weirdly by a gf or a bf (sic), report it.
As such, the statements suggest the potential for behavioral
change resulting from the interventions. In terms of attitudes,
safety was referenced by several students as well as the need
for more caution in relationships with peers. Responding to
the prompt Today made me think about, in the mature and
pragmatic words of one young person ‘…to wait for some
time and not sacrifice everything for a short-term
Discussion and Concluding Comments
As argued earlier, it is widely accepted that DVA is entrenched
in societies across the world and has far-reaching impacts
(WHO 2017). Moreover, it is a problem that affects all societal
members irrespective of gender, age, socio-economic back-
ground or other social characteristic. Given the nature of ado-
lescence as a critical period of human development, it is
disheartening, however, that DVA in young peoples relation-
ships has received so little attention until more recently and
what has occurred has been fragmented and lacked empirical
evaluation (Stanley et al. 2015). However, there is now an
emerging body of evidence to signify that it is a problem for
a significant proportion of adolescents as well as adult popu-
lations (Stonard et al. 2014).
There is a danger, however, that if the problem of DVA in
adolescentsrelationships is not adequately addressed through
policy, practice and future research then the problem will
continue to unfold, at best, and escalate, at worst. A social
norming lens helps to explicate this further. Berkowitz
(2012) notes how our norms and the ways in which we per-
ceive the behavior of others, which are often incorrect (a
misperceived or false norm), influences how we behave.
This disconnect, or pluralistic ignorance(Prentice and
Miller 1996), plays a role in dysfunctional relationship dy-
namics as it is based on the premise where individuals might
have a different attitude or norm to their peers, but then behave
in the same way. Highlighting the problem of pluralistic igno-
rance in terms of young peoples relationships, it is evident
that an individual may consider that coercive control is wrong
and harmful, but they may tolerate that behavior as their per-
ception is that their peersrelationships are similarly coercive
and controlling. As such, pluralistic ignorance can result in
dysfunctional, risky and harmful practices. An implication
for research, policy and practice, therefore, is to explore fur-
ther the value of a SNA to the field of adolescent relationship
abuse to substantiate and add to the emerging evidence-base in
this regard.
One element of the dominant narrative of DVA, the public
story (Donovan and Hester 2014), integrates the gendered
notion that DVA is commonly understood to be physical vio-
lence perpetrated by men against women. The Change Up
survey highlighted how the majority of young peoplereported
516 J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519
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that they had not experienced physical abuse from a partner
(whatever their gender), contrary to empirical literature in this
area (Barter et al. 2009; Fox et al. 2013), albeit the sample size
was modest. In addition, the survey did not ask whether re-
spondents had other experiences (as a perpetrator or witness in
their homes) and so it is not possible, in the analysis of
Change Up data, to make connections between experiencing
DVA, directly or indirectly, and the norms expressed by young
Yet in terms of attitudes, there were interesting findings in
terms of norms and gender bias. One question centered on
retaliation after being hit by a partner and it was asked in
two ways in order to uncover any bias in norms held about
the social acceptability of the behavior of boys and that of
girls. In this instance, young people were asked to consider
suppose a girl hits her boyfriend, do you think it is wrong for
him to hit her back?and vice versa. These questions resulted
in the lowest score for affirmative responses overall as in the
baseline survey as 50% responded yesit is wrong for a boy
to hit a girl back, and 42% replied it is wrong for a girl to hit a
boy back. As with all the other recurring questions, the repeat
survey shows attitudinal change with 66% and 59% respec-
tively, but again these were the answers which had the lowest
responses in which young people agreed that physical abuse
was socially unacceptable in that particular scenario.
Whilst an outlier in relation to most of the other results, this
finding is congruent with existing empirical data which has
found gendered differences in terms of attitudes towards phys-
ical violence (Fox et al. 2013). Fox et al. also found that a
considerable proportion of young people regard violence from
women to men as more socially acceptable than violence per-
petrated by men against women. This reflects a gender norm
that persists although Fox et al. (2013) point out that in their
sample, those who had experienced DVA (either as a victim,
witness or perpetrator) were more likely to consider that hit-
ting a partner was acceptable than those who had no prior
DVA experiences. Whilst most of the young people who par-
ticipated in Change Up had not experienced physical or psy-
chological maltreatment in their own relationships, a finding
was that the majority of young people (94%) agreed that emo-
tional and physical abuses are equally harmful. This is heart-
ening as it suggests a departure in young peoplesattitudes
from the entrenched notion of the public story of DVA
(Donovan and Hester 2014).
The Change Up data suggests that the young people see the
acceptability of some abuses as contextual. This is highly
troublesome as it lends itself to the types of behavior described
within the delineation of coercive control; for example, where
abusive partners can be manipulative (by frequently saying,
for example, Imsorry.Ill never do it again) and effectively
exploiting naivety, goodwill and the desire to protect a perpe-
trator, as well as exploiting the care and love that might exist
for a person (Barter 2014). Yet when certain behaviors are
explained away by context (it is acceptable to hit someone if
they hit you, for example) then this is clearly problematic and
can result in the normalization of violence, or a lack of recog-
nition of particular (non-physical) behaviors as abusive. In
turn, this can prevent help-seeking and action for change. It
can result in a cycle of abuse that can be hard to break.
The concept of coercive control has gained momentum in
recent years since the publication of Starks(2007)original
text, in which he detailed the ways in which the impact of
DVA is augmented by gender inequality and how victims
are controlled and terrorized in their daily lives. Coercive con-
trol is an insidious form of abusive behavior as it can build
over time and perpetrators use a variety of means to manipu-
late, exploit and control. The Change Up project had a number
of impacts in terms of raising awareness in young peoples
understanding of coercive and controlling behaviors. More
importantly, the project enabled some key changes in norms
and attitudes about coercive control. To some extent these
were evident in the survey data, and the feedback cards dem-
onstrated that the interventions (workshop and poster cam-
paign) provoked considerable reflection about the meaning
of a healthy relationshipin contrast to an unhealthy one;
where an unhealthy relationship consisted of behaviors con-
ducive to coercive control (rather than other forms of DVA
such as physical or sexual abuse). This is significant as it is
coercive controlling behaviors that can be difficult to spot,
both in terms of recognizing this in other peoples experiences
as well as ones own. This highlights a further policy and
practice implication as being the need to teach about the in-
terconnections between interpersonal violence and gender in-
equality (resulting from and in an imbalance of power) which
lies at the heart of the problem of DVA (Stark 2007).
The findings suggest that there is a policy and practice need
for programs, such as Change Up, to be embedded within
personal, social and health education (PSHE) programs to
enable norms and attitudes to be more firmly rooted to the
notion that any interpersonal violence or relationship abuse
is unacceptable. Across the UK there are a varied array of
programs that reinforce these messages and work with young
people to address DVA, but mostly these have not been rigor-
ously evaluated, and support from schools for service delivery
has been described as patchy and inconsistent (Stanley et al.
2015). Indeed, in 2008 Coy et al. (2008) described prevention
work as being the weakest part of the UK responses to vio-
lence against woman, and Stanley et al.s(2015) comprehen-
sive mixed knowledge scoping review suggests that this con-
tinues to be the case, or more likely, that we do not know what
works best. Therefore, it is hoped that there will be an ade-
quate investment in prevention projects, like Change Up, fol-
lowing the Governments pledge to ensuring relationship ed-
ucation in schools in England and Wales as this would indicate
a commitment to a sustainable change in the norms and atti-
tudes of young people in relation to DVA.
J Fam Viol (2019) 34:507519 517
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In conclusion, this article has presented the data from a pre-
vention program, using social norming theory, designed to ad-
dress the topic of domestic abuse and healthy relationships with
young people. In doing so, we have demonstrated the value of a
SNA to changing the attitudes and norms of young people as
every question that was included in both the baseline and repeat
surveys showed a measurable change. More generally, there is a
growing body of evidence that illuminates the centrality of
social norms in the development of positive behavior (Elsey
et al. 2015;Sheikhetal.2017), whilst here we provide evidence
of its value in relation to healthy relationship norms and behav-
iors. Moreover, it is widely accepted that the ways in which to
successfully address DVA when it presents in relationships, in
adolescence or adulthood, is through an approach which targets
norms (Stanley et al. 2015; Cislaghi and Heise 2017) within a
school environment as shifting social norms in the peer group
[is] a key mechanism of change(Stanley et al. 2015:v).As
such, it is hoped that future policy and practice foryoung people
around healthy relationships is social norm driven, addresses all
recognized forms of DVA (including ones using digital tech-
nologies) and aims to uncover a deeper level of understanding
about the contextual nature of differing norms and attitudes held
by young people.
The Change Up data does not support the existing prevalence
data, which indicates that a considerable proportion of young
people have experienced DVA, as the sample was small and
the questions focused more on norms, rather than experiences
(congruent with a SNA). Moreover, whilst it is not possible to
identify all factors (including those external to the project) that
may have impacted on the changing norms and attitudes of
young people involved in Change Up, the short time between
the execution of pre- and post-surveys is taken as a positive in
terms of offering a limited time period in which young people
were open to external influences.
As this paper reports a secondary analysis, there are limi-
tations in terms of the conclusions that can be made. There are
methodological, theoretical and conceptual issues pertaining
to the delivery of Change Up as noted above. For example,
more demographic information about samples is not available,
nor further understandings in terms of how, if at all, concepts
were operationalized for the survey respondents. It is also
acknowledged that the data was sourced from two schools in
one geographical site and thus there are limits in terms of
extrapolating findings to the wider population of young peo-
ple in the UK or beyond.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give
appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link
to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
PublishersNote Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to juris-
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... We know that social norms can be challenging to change, because it involves changing how we think (as both individuals and groups). It is also important to focus on strengths and positives, rather than just negative behaviors (Rogers, 2019). ...
... Specifically, our study showed that rules and boundaries, regular monitoring of adolescents' actions by the adults in the family and school, and a positive social norm that discourages violence, all played a role in reducing adolescents' violent behaviours and substance use. On one hand, positive behaviours can be acquired through social learning via direct observation and socialisation processes from peers and significant others (Bandura 1977;Gersh et al. 2019;Rogers et al. 2019). On the other hand, when adolescents perceive that the people in their lives take interest and concerned about them, their needs of connectedness are met, and they may feel safe and secure with others across different developmental contexts. ...
Full-text available
Violence exposure is associated with psychological and behavioural maladjustment in adolescents. Yet, not all adolescents exposed to violence experience negative symptoms. Resilience is an outcome that is in part determined by multiple protective factors, or developmental assets, that protect adolescents from the negative influence of encountered stressors and allow them to attain positive developmental outcomes. A qualitative study was conducted to acquire an in-depth understanding of the developmental assets across different layers in the ecological system that promote positive psychological and behavioural functioning in South African adolescents exposed to violence. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with a multi-ethnic group (black, white, and people of mixed heritage) of South African adolescents (boy: n = 17; girl: n = 13; age: 14–19 years) from seven schools in Cape Town. Adolescents reported both internal and external assets that helped them adaptively cope with violence exposure. The internal assets entailed individual characteristics and skills, including commitment to learning, positive values, positive identity, social competencies, and emotional insight. The external assets were boundaries and expectations, social support from adolescents’ peers, family, school, and community, and adolescents’ constructive use of time. The findings of the study may inform strengths-based interventions to enhance emotional and behavioural skills in adolescents at risk for violence exposure. Moreover, involving key stakeholders in the interventions from major developmental domains can be particularly helpful to optimise the social support that are needed for adolescents to be resilient.
... Moreover, seeking help from colleagues in the workplace is another essential remedy for the victims, which became unavailable during COVID-19, as many companies and establishments implemented remote working conditions on a large scale. These work-from-home policies have significantly diminished people's overall opportunities for socializing, and more importantly, they have prevented abuse victims from seeking or maintaining support from their co-workers [35][36][37] . Besides, women's limited access to different sources of housing, such as shelters and hotels that have reduced their capacity to host, and travel restrictions have prevented women's access to safer places 29 . ...
Full-text available
Gender-based violence (GBV) and poor mental health have received particular attention among healthcare professionals, policymakers, and researchers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper presents a review of available literature to understand the dynamics of GBV and its mental health impact in the context of COVID-19. Confinement and control by abusive partners, social and economic disruption, and restricted access to healthcare services were identified as the main contributing factors of GBV. The paper elaborates on the contribution of broader socioeconomic determinants of health as well as cultural and societal factors of victimization in shaping GBV by placing specific populations or individuals in a more vulnerable position within the society based on their gender. Socioeconomic determinants included socioeconomic status, education, migration and racial, ethnic, or gender-based minoritisation. Cultural and societal factors of victimization are mostly related to gender-based structural power discrepancies and communication patterns. Evidence suggests a complex relationship between COVID-19 specific stressors, such as health anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty, GBV, and mental health issues. COVID-19 stressors might directly trigger the mechanism of aggression and cause physical or psychological violence and associated mental health implications in victims, or it might be mediated by pre-existing mental health issues experienced by perpetrators. Bangladesh Journal of Medical Science Vol.20(5) 2021 p.17-25
... With lockdown in place and an inability to contact social peers, victims face losing social connections. Co-workers' support is integral to supporting victims of domestic violence but Covid-19, which has enacted workfrom-home or remote working on a mass scale, is affecting people's social circles, their daily conversations and, more importantly, preventing in-person support teams from continuing their roles and helping victims to survive abuse (Goodman et al. 2016;MacGregor et al. 2016;Rogers et al. 2019). These issues are particularly challenging for socio-economically backward communities such as women of color, women from weak strata of the society and immigrants, who because of both structural and cultural reasons may not have access to support from the government and community even before the pandemic (Sokoloff and Dupont 2005;Tam et al. 2016). ...
Full-text available
Purpose: We intend to identify the links between Covid-19 and domestic violence, expose the potential reasons behind an increase in domestic violence cases due to Covid-19, and argue that rising incidence of domestic violence may lead to economic and social crisis. Method: This is a brief note in which authors rely on various statistics and insights regarding domestic violence since the detection of Covid-19. Based on the available statistics regarding domestic violence prevalence during previous times of uncertainty, the number and nature of domestic violence incidents around the globe, and existing literature, the authors argue that clear links exist between Covid-19 and domestic violence, which also impacts on the economic and social crisis. Results: Countries across the world are battling Covid-19 by enacting measures to reduce the speed of transmission. Multiple reports, however, suggest that such measures are increasing the incidence of domestic violence and not only in number but also in severity. We find that layoffs, loss of income, extended domestic stays, and exposure to habits due to stay-at-home orders are driving up the incidence of domestic violence. Moreover, these domestic violence increases are driving economic and social crises due to the form and severity of the violence, the burden placed on government, a crisis of resources, and decreases in the productivity of workforces. Conclusion: Domestic violence increase resulting from Covid-19 is an indirect driver of economic and social crisis. This brief note proposes certain policy changes and strategies required to reduce domestic violence incidence during this turbulent time.
... Using Braun and Clarke's method, data were coded to identify broader themes which are presented below in the findings section. A secondary analysis of data is now a widely recognized methodology which facilitates an extension of the analytical depth of the original work, a process termed by Thorne (1994) as analytic expansion (Corti et al., 2005;Rogers et al., 2019). Secondary narrative analysis serves to extend the initial analysis by returning to key themes within the context of new or contemporary theoretical frameworks (Elliot et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
Drawing on data from two empirical studies, this paper employs cisgenderism as a conceptual tool to explore trans people’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Distinct modes of cisgenderism are analysed. These are identity abuse, microaggressions, misgendering and pathologizing practices. Qualitative data was collected via semi-structured interviews (n = 24). Two inclusion criteria were used for this secondary analysis requiring participants to self-identify as trans or non-binary and have experience of DVA. The findings illuminate the extent of cisgenderism as underpinning experiences of DVA. The paper ends with a call for further theoretical and empirical research in this regard.
The article discusses problem of coordination of subjects of preventive work with minors. The analysis shows the inefficiency of the subjects of prevention of delinquency among adolescents, including the low activity of the subjects themselves, the lack of real mechanisms of interaction, the lack of strategies to respond to actions of destructive groups on young people. The solution of the problem is seen in the development of practices of group interaction of subjects of prevention, allowing to form a complete and consistent image of the teenager in a difficult life situation. The absence of methods providing the decision of this problem became a starting point for carrying out research. The theory of conceptual metaphor became the methodological basis of the study. The empirical research is carried out by a method of group training. The technique of gathering of representations of subjects of prevention about deviant teenagers is used. Sample of this research included 70 employees of state and public organizations. Metaphorical models formed by the participants of the training in the process of making «maps of the world of deviant adolescents» were the empirical material. The result of the research was the testing of the method of constructing a metaphorical model. The possibilities and limitations of its use for identifying the causes and conditions of deviant behavior of adolescents were determined. The prospects of the research are further development of methods of coordination of interdepartmental interaction of subjects of prevention of deviant behavior of adolescents.
This report describes work carried out to evaluate Manchester IRIS and was commissioned by Manchester Health & Care Commissioning (MHCC). The evaluation was carried out between October 2020 and April 2021 by a team of researchers based at the University of Sheffield in the Department of Sociological Studies and the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Manchester IRIS is a General Practice programme of training combined with a specialist service that addresses domestic violence and abuse.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This template sets out the spine around which governments at all levels and public bodies can develop strategies to end violence against women.
Full-text available
Archived qualitative data are a rich and unique yet often unexploited source of research material that can be reanalysed, reworked, and compared with contemporary data. This issue aims to debate the methodological, ethical and theoretical considerations relating to the secondary analysis of qualitative data and to provide exemplars of applications of the method. Many of the papers present actual case studies based on re-using qualitative data, while others build on the growing body of published evidence that provide arguments relating to the strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches to the secondary analysis of qualitative data. In the first section, the papers explore issues of context: how to best preserve context and challenges posed by decontextualised archived data. The second set of papers offers case studies of reuse in areas including class, medicine, history, and employment and consider reinterpretation of original findings, analytic strategies and ways of teaching secondary analysis data of qualitative data. In the final section the contributions cover more practical issues such as strategies for anonymisation and tools that address some of the deficiencies of current technological systems for handling qualitative data. Although new resources to support secondary analysis are starting to appear, the need for more still exists, in particular for high quality and transparent exemplars of re-analysis. We hope this issue of FQS goes some way toward filling this need.
Full-text available
Title Preventing Domestic Abuse for Children and Young People (PEACH): A Mixed Knowledge Scoping Review Background A range of interventions that aim to prevent domestic abuse has been developed for children and young people in the general population. Whilst these have been widely implemented, few have been rigorously evaluated. This study aimed to discover what was known about these interventions for children and what worked for whom in what settings. Review methods This mixed knowledge review was informed by realist principles and included four overlapping phases: an online mapping survey to identify current provision; a systematic review of the existing literature; a review of the UK ‘grey’ literature and consultation with young people and experts. Information from these four sources of evidence informed analysis of costs and benefits. Results The evidence for interventions achieving changes in knowledge and attitudes was stronger than that for behavioural change. Shifting social norms in the peer group emerged as a key mechanism of change. Media campaigns act to influence the wider social climate within which more targeted interventions are received and they are also a source for programme materials. Whilst most interventions are delivered in secondary schools they are increasingly targeted at younger children. The review emphasised the importance of a school’s ‘readiness’ to introduce preventive interventions which need to be supported across all aspects of school life. Involving young people in the design and delivery of programmes increases authenticity and this emerged as a key ingredient in achieving impact. Longer interventions delivered by appropriately trained staff appeared likely to be more effective. Teachers emerged as well placed to embed interventions in schools but they require training and support from those with specialist knowledge in domestic abuse. There was evidence that small groups of students who were at higher risk might have accounted for some results regarding effectiveness and that programme effectiveness may vary for certain sub-groups. Increasingly, boys are identified as a target for change. The study identified a need for interventions for disabled children and children and young people from BAMER groups and a particular lack of materials designed for LGBT young people. Limitations Very little evidence was identified on costs and cost-effectiveness. Few studies showed effect at the level of significance set for the review. Where it did exist, the effect size was small, except in respect of improved knowledge. The inability to calculate a response rate for the mapping survey which used a snowballing approach limits the ability to generalise from it. Conclusions While it is appropriate to continue to deliver interventions to whole populations of children and young people, effectiveness appeared to be influenced by high risk children and young people who should be directed to additional support. Programmes also need to make provision to manage disclosures. Interventions appear to be context specific so those already being widely delivered in the UK and which are likely to be acceptable should be robustly tested. Funding Public Health Research Programme, the National Institute for Health Research
Purpose Over 200,000 young people in the UK embark on a smoking career annually, thus continued effort is required to understand the types of interventions that are most effective in changing perceptions about smoking amongst teenagers. Several authors have proposed the use of social norms programmes, where correcting misconceptions of what is considered normal behaviour lead to improved behaviours. There are a limited number of studies showing the effectiveness of such programmes for changing teenagers’ perception of smoking habits, and hence this paper reports on the results from one of the largest social norms programmes that used a variety of interventions aimed at improving teenagers’ perceptions of smoking. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach A range of interventions were adopted for 57 programmes in year nine students, ranging from passive interventions such as posters and banners to active interventions such as student apps and enterprise days. Each programme consisted of a baseline survey followed by interventions and a repeat survey to calculate the change in perception. A clustering algorithm was also used to reveal the impact of combinations of interventions. Findings The study reveals three main findings: the use of social norms is an effective means of changing perceptions, the level of interventions and change in perceptions are positively correlated, and that the most effective combinations of interventions include the use of interactive feedback assemblies, enterprise days, parent and student apps and newsletters to parents. Originality/value The paper presents results from one of the largest social norm programmes aimed at improving young people’s perceptions and the first to use clustering methods to reveal the impact of combinations of intervention.
This article explores the confluence of trans identity and sexuality drawing on the concept of translocational positionality. In this discussion, a broad spectrum of gendered positionalities incorporates trans identity which, in turn, acknowledges normative male and female identities as well as non-binary ones. It is also recognised, however, that trans identity overlaps with other positionalities (pertaining to sexuality, for example) to shape social location. In seeking to understand subject positions, a translocational lens acknowledges the contextuality and temporality of social categories to offer an analysis which recognises the overlaps and differentials of co-existing positionalities. This approach enables an analysis which explores how macro, or structural, contexts shape agency (at the micro-level) and also how both are mediated by trans people's multiple and shifting positionalities. In this framing, positionality represents a meso layer between structure and agency. Four case studies are presented using data from a qualitative study which explored trans people's experiences of family, intimacy and domestic abuse. We offer an original contribution to the emerging knowledge-base on trans sexuality by presenting data from four case studies. We do so whilst innovatively applying the conceptual lens of translocational positionality to an analysis which considers macro, meso and micro levels of influence.
This book provides the first detailed discussion of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships, offering a unique comparison between this and domestic violence and abuse experienced by heterosexual women and men. It examines how experiences of domestic violence and abuse may be shaped by gender, sexuality and age, including whether and how victims/survivors seek help, and asks, what’s love got to do with it? A pioneering methodology, using both quantitative and qualitative research, provides a reliable and valid approach that challenges the heteronormative model in domestic violence research, policy and practice. The authors develops a new framework of analysis - practices of love - to explore empirical data. Outlining the implications of the research for practice and service development, the book will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners in the field of domestic violence, especially those who provide services for sexual minorities, as well as students and academics interested in issues of domestic and interpersonal violence.
The first ever book on educational work to prevent violence against women and girls, offering insight into the underpinning theoretical debates and key lessons for practice.
This paper describes how a narrative analysis of survey paradata from Peter Townsend's groundbreaking 'Poverty in the UK: A Survey of Household Resources and Standards of Living 1967/68' enabled us to address the following issues: How the story of one household emerges from paradata in the PinUK survey; how the story of the research relationship emerges through paradata: how paradata reveal research practices
This study uses data from two waves of the Dating Violence Among Latino Adolescents (DAVILA) study and focuses on the 1) rates of dating violence victimization by gender, 2) risk of experiencing dating violence victimization over time, 3) association of dating violence victimization with other forms of victimization, and 4) association of immigrant status, acculturation, and familial support with dating violence victimization over time. A total of 547 Latino adolescents, from across the USA, aged 12-18 at Wave 1 participated in both waves of the study. Rates of dating violence were around 19% across waves. Dating violence at Wave 1 and non-dating violence victimization were associated with an elevated risk of dating violence during Wave 2. Cultural factors did not distinguish between dating violence trajectories, except for immigrant status and familial support being associated with no dating violence victimization. Overall, dating violence affects a large number of Latino teens and tends to continue over time.