The PROVIDE programme of research brings together a group of key DVA researchers from the health and social science fields. By combining the group’s expertise, building on member's previous research and links with health sector and third sector DV organisations, PROVIDE has been able to develop research that is groundbreaking and complex.
The idea for PROVIDE was sparked when Gene Feder was looking to work more closely with the Bristol University Violence Against Women Research Group (now the Centre for Gender and Violence Research). Marianne Hester had recently completed a study with the Home Office (Hester et al., 2006), examining the help-seeking strategies of heterosexual male domestic violence perpetrators. The study found that many of the men accessed GPs to seek some form of help with their violent relationships, but that follow-through by the GPs was problematic. It seemed timely to try and develop a new programme of research study that combined Gene’s and Marianne work on DV prevalence in GPs surgeries and asking women about DV (Feder et al, 2008; Westmarland et al., 2004), but this time focusing on men.
At the same time systematic reviews on the effectiveness of domestic violence advocacy, and Gene’s collaboration with Roxane Agnew Davies, Debbie Sharp and other colleagues on the IRIS trial and its pilot highlighted the need to integrate psychological support with advocacy to improve outcomes for women. PROVIDE includes a randomised controlled trial of psychological support delivered by domestic violence advocates.
Within the mental health workstream, we will also build on the systematic review work , qualitative research on domestic violence and people with mental health disorders and the LARA project led by Louise Howard. This work, carried out in collaboration with Gene Feder and Roxane Agnew-Davies, has highlighted the limited evidence base on the prevalence and experience of domestic violence for people with severe mental disorders and how health services should respond to domestic violence experienced by service users.
Building on Loraine Bacchus’ evaluation of DV training in a UK sexual health clinic, where clinicians reported that disclosure of DV by men who have sex with men (MSM) was common and that DV training needed to take into account the needs of the diverse patient population. Furthermore, sexual health practitioners reported feelings of discomfort when routinely asking heterosexual men about experiences of DV and this was reflected in the lower rates of routine enquiry amongst male patients compared to female patients. These findings, combined with Marianne’s work on MSM and DV (Donovan and Hester 2007) led to Workstream III.
As the development of the programme progressed, the expertise in Bristol of synthesising and translating research findings into clinical guidance and policy recommendations provided the obvious setting to develop ways of combining the work across the other workstreams, leading to Workstream 4:
The PROVIDE team (Ades, Agnew Davies, Bacchus, Buller, Feder, Hester, Hollinghurst, Howard, Jones, Malpass, Peters, Sharp, Speight, Watts, Williamson) has come together after members have spent many years looking at various aspects of domestic violence and domestic violence and health, for example routine inquiry, GP training, interventions in pre-natal care, sexual health settings, effective interventions for female victims, and interventions for male perpetrators.