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New multi-million-pound research consortium aims to reduce harms caused by violence

Press release issued: 29 July 2021

A new multi-million-pound research project that will provide world-leading data on violence coincides with the launch of a new consortium which aims to reduce harms caused by violence.

Funded with a £7 million UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) grant, the five-year (2021 to 2026) data analysis 'Violence, Health and Society' project is one of three major research projects UKPRP launched this week, with the common aim of understanding and influencing social, economic and environmental factors that affect health.

Findings from the consortium's research programme, led by Professor Sylvia Walby OBE, Director of the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London, with the collaboration of researchers from the University of Bristol’s Domestic Violence and Health Research Group will be used to improve the data that underpins theory, policy and professional practice. It will also improve research on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce violence and associated  harms to health and health inequalities

Comprising academics at King’s College LondonUniversity College LondonLancaster UniversityUniversity of Bristol and the University of Warwick, consortium members will work with providers of data in public services (including the police, justice and health professionals), third sector specialised services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and national surveys, including the Crime Survey for England & Wales, Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, and the UK Household Longitudinal Study. The consortium will have a special interest in domestic and sexual violence because these are significant causes of inequalities in mental health, which have been relatively neglected in the scientific and statistical evidence base in the study of violence.

Professor Walby said: "This consortium has the goal of reducing the violence that wrecks lives by improving data. Many organisations share the same goal of reducing violence, but cooperation can be hindered by differences in the way that violence is measured.

"Our contribution lies in improving the data on violence, making translations between different ways of conceptualising violence, and building shared forms of measurement of violence, in order to build better explanations and, hence, more effective interventions.

"We are honoured to be trusted with their data by so many professionals and practitioners that provide services to reduce violence. We intend to fulfil that trust by constructing the best dataset ever on violence.

"The explicit purpose of our research is to reduce violence, and thus to reduce harms to health and health inequalities."

Professor Gene Feder, from the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol and a senior co-investigator in the Consortium, added: "Our ability to evaluate programmes to reduce violence and improve outcomes for survivors of violence requires robust data.

"Our domestic violence and health research group appreciates being part of this innovative inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral consortium.

"Our focus is specifically on health data, but we recognise that the impact of violence is society-wide and that each sector has developed different measures which need harmonising. We look forward to contributing to this ground-breaking endeavour."

Further information

Non-communicable diseases cause most deaths
Reducing violence would reduce poor mental health, easing the burden of this non-communicable disease.

UKPRP supports multidisciplinary teams looking at ways to prevent non-communicable diseases including poor mental health, heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

Non-communicable diseases make up the majority of illnesses in the UK and account for an estimated 89 per cent of all deaths. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the existing poor health and health inequalities that left parts of the UK vulnerable to the virus.

Tackling factors behind non-communicable diseases can reduce health inequalities and the burden of disease and help people to lead longer and healthier lives. The work demands a wide range of expertise.

In addition to the Violence, Health and Society Consortium, the other two projects UKPRP is announcing today are: GroundsWell, which will use community-engaged and data-informed systems to transform urban green and blue spaces for population health; and Kailo, a systemic approach to improving adolescent mental health.

UKPRP is a group of 12 funders including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) councils, charities, and health and social care departments of the four UK nations. It is administered by the Medical Research Council (MRC) – one of the seven councils that make up UKRI – on behalf of the Partnership’s funding partners.

UKPRP’s partners include four charities – British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK (funder of GroundsWell only), The Health Foundation, The Wellcome Trust – health and social care departments of the four UK nations, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council.

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. It sits within Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching. Follow us on Twitter: @capcbristol.

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