The main study
Domestic abuse group programme for men
What does the study involve?
We are completing a study to look at the effectiveness of group programmes for men who are concerned about their behaviour in relationships with women. If a man signs up to the study they will have a two-thirds (67%) chance of either joining a domestic abuse perpetrator programme or, alternatively, of being allocated to a comparison group. This means that for every three men who would like to take part in the study, two men will join the programme and one man will join the comparison group. Whether the man is allocated to one group or the other, will be decided at random by computer.
Group programme overview
• One group of men (the ‘intervention’ group) will attend a programme for men who are concerned about their behaviour in relationships with women. The programme will be run by organisations who are experienced at running this type of programme.
• The programme will run every week, for 23 weeks, and will involve mainly group work but also some one-to-one sessions. Each weekly group session will run for approximately 2 hours. Each man will be asked to commit to attend all weeks of the programme.
• As well as attending the programme, participants will be asked to complete questionnaires at various intervals (immediately, then at 4, 8 and 12 months after first getting involved in the study).
Comparison group overview
• If a man is allocated to the comparison group, they will not attend the group programme, but will still be involved in the study. They will be asked to complete questionnaires (immediately, then at 4, 8 and 12 months after first getting involved in the study).
• Although the comparison group will not attend the weekly sessions, by taking part in the study they will help us to obtain important information about whether group programmes work.
What does the domestic abuse perpetrator programme look like?
The programme runs on a weekly basis, for 23 weeks, and involves mainly group work but also some one-to-one sessions. Each weekly session lasts approximately 2 hours and there may be some tasks to consider at home. The group sessions take place in community-based settings (such as local community centres or at the premises of specialist domestic abuse services which deliver perpetrator programmes). All venues are accessible by public transport and have parking facilities.
The programme includes sessions on topics such as: recognising abuse; denial and minimisation; identifying urges to perpetrate abuse and cooling-down strategies; effects of domestic violence and abuse on partners and children; masculinity; loving relationships and accountability.
The groups can accommodate up to 12 men and will be delivered by two experienced domestic abuse perpetrator programme facilitators (one male and one female, wherever possible). The individual sessions are tailored to participants’ needs following the initial and ongoing assessments.
After completion of the programme participants will also be able to access a monthly Relapse Prevention Group for an additional 6 months following completion of the programme.
Where will the study be taking place?
There are four research sites across England and Wales. The areas covered and the service providers for each area are as follows:
• Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – Group programme and coordinator based in Bristol: delivery team - Splitz
• Somerset – Group programme and coordinator based in Taunton: delivery team - Barnardo’s
• Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset – Group programme and coordinator based in Salisbury and Chippenham: delivery team - Splitz
• Gwent (South Wales) – Group programme and coordinator based in Blaina: delivery team - Phoenix Domestic Abuse Services
How can I take part in the study?
We are looking for men who:
• Are aged 21 or over;
• Are currently (or have recently been) in a relationship with a female partner;
• Are worried that their behaviour might be violent or abusive.
• Are willing to be involved in a research study;
• Are currently living in one of the 4 areas the study is being run in (Bristol/North Somerset, South Gloucester, Wiltshire or Gwent, South Wales);
• Are willing to provide contact details of partners or ex partners.
We will be asking partners or ex-partners of men who join the study to also take part by completing questionnaires and perhaps agreeing to be interviewed. Partners or ex-partners of the men randomly allocated to attend the domestic violence prevention programme will be offered support from a specialist support worker from a local service. Partners or ex-partners of men randomly allocated to our comparison group, will be given information about their nearest women’s support service.
If you are interested in knowing more about this study, please call 07976 22 5462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
• Full name
• Phone number
• Email address
One of our researchers will get back to you to give you more information as soon as possible. Any information you give will be kept securely and confidentially in accordance with data protection laws.
Information for professionals
The programme is only suitable for men who are currently, or have been, in heterosexual relationships. Eligibility criteria include:
• Are 21 years of age or older;
• Have used abusive behaviour in current or previous relationships with women partner(s) or ex-partner(s) and are concerned about that behaviour;
• Can understand and participate in an English-speaking group setting;
• Live in Gwent (South Wales), Wiltshire, Somerset or Bristol/North Somerset/South Gloucestershire.
If you would like to contact the research team about a man who is potentially interested in taking part in the study please ask the man for his contact details and consent to pass these on to the research team. Please then phone or email us with these details, and we will get in touch with the man. Alternatively, he can contact us directly himself.
Phone: 07976 22 5462
The group programme is being run by organisations who are RESPECT accredited (or who are working under RESPECT standards). Men will be assessed to check their suitability for both the trial and perpetrator programme. Prior to the programme, men allocated to the intervention arm will undergo a comprehensive risk assessment, with risk being continually monitored during the programme.
Study ethics and approvals
This study is sponsored by the University of Bristol and the research is being carried out by a team of experienced researchers within the Medical School, led by Professor Gene Feder. The University has Public Liability insurance to cover the liability of the university to research participants.
This study is being funded by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research and Public Health England. The trial site which is based in Wales is being supported by Health and Care Research Wales.
This work is part of a wider research REPROVIDE programme funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR ref: RP-PG-0614-20012).
This study was approved by South Central-Oxford B Research Ethics Committee, ref 19/SC/0171.
The trial has been registered with ISRCTN and the trial number is: ISRCTN15804282.
The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HS&DR Programme, NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care.