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Prevention schemes for female vicitms and offenders in Hampshire and Dorset

Principal Investigators: Dr Sara Morgan

Team members: Dr Sara Morgan(Lecturer in Public Health School of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton), Fiona Maxwell (Public Health Registrar School of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton), Sergeant Ali Attwood (Hampshire Constabulary, Restorative Justice Lead) , Debbie Willis (Hampton Trust charity, Domestic Abuse Service Manager), Vicky Atkinson (Hart District Council, Domestic Abuse Project Coordinator), Patricia Durr (One Small Thing), Mona Samiy (Stop Domestic Abuse charity, Project Manager)

Start: 11 November 2019 Ends: 11 November 2021Project Partners: University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampton Trust, Hart District Council, One Small Thing, Stop Domestic Abuse.

Lay summary:

Background and study aims

Compared to the previous year, in 2018 there was an overall 8% increase in theft in England and Wales and a 6% increase in crimes involving sharp instruments or knives. In order to tackle this increase in crime, many believe that more needs to be done to address the reasons why people commit crime in the first place, as well as the damage it causes to peoples’ lives. This means working together in the community to offer solutions to those affected by crime, including victims and offenders. When we discussed possible solutions with local service providers, it was felt that a tailored approach is needed for women, as their needs are unique. Women in prison are very likely to be both victims and offenders whilst, in the general population, one in four women are also victims of abuse within the home and more than half the women in prison have experienced domestic abuse themselves.  In response, three projects are being piloted in Hampshire and Dorset to address the needs of women affected by crime.

What does the study involve?

To understand how these projects are working, we plan to carry out group interviews with those delivering the pilot intervention projects in the community. This will primarily be to understand how the projects are working. We will also use information gathered from the project staff about the women using the service to understand whether women go on to seek further assistance in the community, what sort of women engage with the project, and what changes for them as a result of using the service. This study proposal was developed in collaboration with public representatives; including offenders, victims, social care workers, domestic abuse service manager, and police officers. They have all shaped the design of the study; by informing us what types of research questions we should be asking. Going forward, we will continue to involve similar representatives throughout the research study; for example, to co-produce the materials used in the study, such as information sheets, and to gain feedback on the write up of the study.

What will we do with the study findings?

It is important that the information gained from the study reaches the widest number of people. We will therefore consider who to engage, and how to reach them, from the very start of the study. The main findings will be developed into a short summary report, which will be accessible to the general public through our public representatives and collaborators. They might include charitable organisations in the community (e.g. Stop Domestic Abuse, Hampton Trust) or services that work directly with women affected by crime (e.g. NHS, probation services).

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