Domestic violence research makes positive impact

Logo and design for the FSEPS project

A research project designed to assist victims of domestic violence has helped to raise awareness and significantly improve the support given, according to Staffordshire Women’s Aid.

Addressing the needs of domestic abuse victims

The Families: Social Exclusion and Places of Safety (FSEPS) project was developed by Professor Morag MacDonald in collaboration with Staffordshire Women’s Aid and a host of European partners, including institutions in Spain, Austria, Romania, Italy and Bulgaria.

The project builds on Professor MacDonald’s work as Director of Birmingham City University’s Social Research and Evaluation Unit (SREU).

The FSEPS project addressed female survivors of domestic violence, as well as their children.

Its aims were to combat social exclusion, aid recovery from abuse and facilitate stable, sustainable family relationships.

Filling an important knowledge gap

Staffordshire Women’s Aid were inspired to participate in the FSPS project in order to develop their existing knowledge and work with multiple European partners. They were also able to contribute their existing expertise to the partnership.

“We are acutely aware of the profound impacts of domestic violence on the relationships between mothers and their children,” says Dickie James of Staffordshire Women’s Aid.

“This was an opportunity for us to fill a gap in responses to children and young people in terms of repairing the damage done to their relationships with their mothers, to rebuild their confidence and to enhance their trust in others.”

Making a positive difference

Through FSEPS, the partners created the Our Time programme, which advocates a fun approach to tackling relevant issues and enabling the families to have happier, healthier futures.

Designed to be flexible and adaptable, the Our Time programme works with mothers and children at the same time, as well as through group interventions involving more than one family.

“Our Time has already made such a positive difference to so many children,” Dickie says. “It also means we now have a purpose-developed intervention for addressing the impacts of domestic violence on the mother/child relationship.”

Uncovering new information

The project has enabled Staffordshire Women’s Aid and the partners to uncover some vital new information about domestic abuse.

“We identified it’s a global issue, impacting thousands of children, and that the needs of these children remain overlooked,” she says. “We also feel the project has empowered each partner to respond more effectively to the needs of these children.”

Building confidence and understanding

Dickie feels that she and the team have learned a great deal from the FSEPS project, from strengthening their understanding of what their clients need to help them appreciate the importance of knowledge sharing.

“We have really built on our knowledge concerning the needs of children and young people who have lived with domestic violence, and we aim to share this through increasing our own training portfolio,” Dickie says.

“Developing Our Time as a shared project with European partners has also deepened our understanding of partnership.

“Staffordshire Women’s Aid is a more confident organisation from working in the FSEPS project.”

Find out more by visiting the FSEPS project website