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Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse

Project Mirabal

Project Mirabal was a major CRiVA research project which lasted from 2009 to 2015. Professors Liz Kelly (London Metropolitan University), Nicole Westmarland (Durham University), and Charlotte Watts (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) wer funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Northern Rock Foundation to investigate the extent to which perpetrator programmes reduce violence and increase safety for women and children, and the routes by which they contribute to coordinated community responses to domestic violence. The pilot phase also received funding from LankellyChase Foundation and the Home Office. The research entered a contested arena where questions of methodology and policy direction have reached something of an impasse. By re-casting the research question beyond ‘do they work?', addressing the limitations of previous studies, and introducing innovative directions in analysis the project has created new trajectories for domestic violence perpetrator research and interventions. Publications which have come out of the research project so far are listed below.

Professors Nicole Westmarland and Liz Kelly have written a piece for the Conversation about the Project Mirabal research findings:

'Leopards can’t change their spots but domestic violence programmes do change lives' (The Conversation, 13/1/2015)

Conference videos

Two conferences were held in January 2015, with over 500 people attending, to mark the end of Project Mirabal and launch the research report. You can view videos of the presentations from the London conference which took place on 13th January 2015 in Stoke Newington Town Hall here:

Morning session

Chair's Welcome (Yvonne Roberts, Chief Leader/Writer for the Observer); Findings from Project Mirabal (Prof Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University; Prof Nicole Westmarland, Durham University; Dr Natasha Howard, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Response from Respect to findings (Jo Todd, CEO, Respect) [video unavailable]

Question and Answer session - AM

Afternoon session

Chair’s Welcome (Marai Larasi, Director, Imkaan); Hidden from view: LGB and/or T perpetrators and the challenges they pose to the gendered story about domestic violence and abuse (Prof Catherine Donovan, University of Sunderland; Dr Rebecca Barnes, University of Leicester)

Intersectionality in Young Men’s Accounts of Domestic Violence Perpetration (Prof David Gadd, Manchester University)

Question and Answer session - PM

Publications to date

Wistow, R., Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2016) “Time Out”: A Strategy for Reducing Men’s Violence Against Women in Relationships? Violence Against Women.

Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2016) Naming and Defining ‘Domestic Violence’: Lessons from Research with Violent Men. Feminist Review 112 (1): 113-127.

Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2015) Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes: Steps Towards Change. Executive Summary. London and Durham: London Metropolitan University and Durham University.

Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2015) Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes: Steps Towards Change. Project Mirabal Final Report. London and Durham: London Metropolitan University and Durham University.

Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2015) New Approaches to Assessing Effectiveness and Outcomes of Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes. In Critical Issues on Violence Against Women. Johnson, H., Fisher, B.S. & Jaquier, V. (eds) Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 183-194.

Downes, J., Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2014) Ethics in Violence and Abuse Research - a Positive Empowerment Approach. Sociological Research Online, 19(1)2.

Alderson, S., Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N.(2013) Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes and Children and Young People. London and Durham: London Metropolitan University and Durham University.

Phillips, R., Kelly, L. and Westmarland, N. (2013) Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes: An Historical Overview. London and Durham: London Metropolitan University and Durham University.

Westmarland, N. and Kelly, L. (2013) Why Extending Measurements of 'Success' in Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes Matters for Social Work. British Journal of Social Work, 43(6), 1092-1110.

Alderson, S., Westmarland, N. and Kelly, L. (2012) The Need for Accountability to, and Support for, Children of Men on Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes. Child Abuse Review, 3, 182-193.

Westmarland, N., Kelly, L. and Chalder-Mills, J. (2010) Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes: What Counts as Success? London: Respect.

You can find a selection of our Project Mirabal research tools here.