Patterns of victim-survivor utilisation of domestic violence support services

Lead Research Organisation: City, University of London
Department Name: Sch of Social Sciences


The primary research question is:
What are the determinants of domestic violence support service use for women experiencing domestic
This includes several sub-questions:
a) How do women experiencing domestic violence currently utilise support services?
b) What are the patterns of utilisation amongst women who access domestic violence service provision?
c) What is the relationship between trajectories of domestic violence and the utilisation of domestic
violence support services?
d) What is the contribution of domestic violence service provision to reductions in the rates of domestic
e) What are the implications of the different patterns of service use for the understanding of the
connection between gendered inequalities and violence, and for the discipline of sociology?

The proposed project employs a quantitative methodology to analyse two large datasets provided by the
collaborative partner. It will apply Bayesian modelling, time-to-event (TTE) models and machine learning
models (Mohri, Rostamizadeh, & Talwalkar, 2012; Russel & Norvig, 2013). Although primarily quantitative,
the project will be informed by a systematic literature review, understanding of the construction of the
categories in which the data is collected, and the theory of change.
Systematic review of relevant literature
The student will produce a systematic review of literature on help-seeking, service use by victimsurvivors,
and the impact of domestic violence support services, in sociology and related disciplines. The
systematic review will be based on database searches, grey literature, and a call for evidence circulated
via Women's Aid's member organisations, the VAWG Research Network and the European Network on
Gender and Violence. This will inform subsequent phases of the research including the identification of
variables to explore in the datasets.
Identify a theory of change
Informed by the systematic review, the student will provide a reflexive analysis of measures of
effectiveness for services. The student will identify different measures of effectiveness of service
provision as indicators for reductions in domestic violence. This will involve critical reflection upon the
limitations and inferences made about the dataset. This phase of the methodology will produce a theory
of change to identify impacts, outcomes and interventions necessary for improving support for victimsurvivors.
This will engage with sociological understandings of the interconnections of gendered
inequalities and violence.
Quantitative analysis of longitudinal data
The student will re-organise the raw data from On Track in order to define the relational tables, identify
missing and redundant data and points of overlap between the datasets. Data will be extracted, cleaned
and assembled into a working dataset. The data will be held securely in compliance with GDPR. This will
involve combining data on domestic violence support services, other agencies and victim-survivors.
Patterns of missingness in the data will be addressed by multiple imputation by chained equations and a
large number of repetitions (mi<30) in order to reduce bias (Goldstein, Harron, & Wade, 2012), when
necessary to create a full dataset. Sensitivity analysis will be used comparing complete cases and fully
imputed data.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00072X/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2590362 Studentship ES/P00072X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2024 Kate Smith