An exploration of the responses of friends, families and partners of victim-survivors during the aftermath of sexual assault and rape

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Social and Policy Sciences


The majority of sexual violence disclosures are thought to be made to friends, family and partners (informal support) of the victim-survivor, as opposed to formal disclosures (e.g. to the police or health professionals). Despite this, there is a significant lack of research relating to the disclosures to informal support networks resulting in a limited understanding of the ways in which such disclosures are responded to and the potential impacts this may have on the victim-survivor.

This research is aims to:

* understand the impact of friend, family and partner responses to sexual violence from the perspective of the victim-survivor;

* understand the ways in which victim-survivors believe these responses could be improved.

These aims are instrumental in providing an analysis of victim-survivor perceptions of informal responses to disclosures of sexual violence which will be used to formulate victim-survivor approved awareness campaigns.

This research is of significant benefit in a number of ways. Firstly, despite support services acknowledging the importance of responses to disclosures, a lack of corroborating research poses problems in terms of securing funding for training and materials. Therefore, the collaboration with sexual violence support services ensures that the research has a real impact on the lives of victim-survivors and the support they receive post-trauma. This is why we are pleased to be working in co-operation with Bath and North East Summerset Domestic Abuse Partnership, Summerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, VOICES (a survivors of domestic violence group), other support agencies, and the Home Office in this project.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2223208 Studentship ES/P000630/1 30/09/2019 29/12/2022 Jade Louise Bloomfield-Utting