The role of survivor-support services integrated within domestic abuse prevention programmes.



National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Research for Social Care (RfSC) Ref. NIHR204257.

What is the research question?

1. What types of survivor-support are provided within UK DAPPs?
2. How do different types of support meet survivors’ safety and other needs?
3. What do DAPP survivor-support workers need to cope with the challenges of their role?
4. How can the national standards and training for survivor-support within DAPPs be improved by our findings?

What is the problem?

Respect is the national organisation which helps ensure services follow best practice. Programmes accredited by Respect carry out behaviour-change work with the abusive person, while current/ex-partners are offered support.
As well as practical and emotional help, survivor-support work within accredited services manages risk, helps survivors have realistic expectations of their (ex-)partner’s behaviour-change and informs case management. This survivor-support is known to vary between services. Existing standards give limited guidance on how support should be provided; however, survivor-support has the potential to be a crucial element in the success of these programmes.

What is the aim of the research?

Domestic Abuse Prevention Programmes (DAPPs) aim to help abusive people change their behaviour and to increase survivors’ safety and freedom from abuse. We use ‘survivor’ to describe someone who has experienced domestic abuse as this is generally preferred to ‘victim’.

How will this be achieved?

This study will:

1. Conduct a national survey of DAPP survivor-support services to establish the different models of support.

2. Conduct interviews with survivors who have had support, to better understand their needs and experiences of support.

3. Observe and interview survivor-support staff embedded within or working alongside programmes to understand how they meet different needs of survivors and to understand challenges of the role.

4. Collaborate with Respect, with programme provider/children’s charity Barnardo’s, and with PPI-survivors, to translate study findings into practical recommendations to improve national standards and training.

Who is leading the research?

Dr Karen Morgan, Research Fellow, University of Bristol and Dr Helen Cramer, Senior Research Fellow, Bristol Medical School.

Further information:

For more information or to get involved in this project, please contact

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.