Researchers at the University of Wolverhampton are working in collaboration with Birmingham Children’s Trust to improve the lives of families affected by domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is a significant and widespread national issue which has a profound and long-lasting impact on victims, their children, wider family, communities, and society.


The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 identifies that children exposed to domestic abuse are also victims. Research and experience identify children and young people who are exposed to domestic abuse may experience emotional, mental, and social difficulties that can affect their developmental growth, life chances, and later relationships.

Researchers Professor Elaine Arnull, Dr Mahuya Kanjilal and Dr Nazanin Khastegnan in the University’s School of Society and Community, have been awarded funding by Birmingham Children’s Trust to research the effectiveness of the Trust’s ‘Think Family’ domestic abuse service. The Trust’s ‘Think Family’ programme is a response to the Government’s Supporting Families Programme to support targeted interventions for families experiencing multiple problems including domestic abuse, crime and anti-social behaviour, poor school attendance, unemployment, mental and physical health, and children in need of help and protection.

University experts will begin their research this month, carrying out qualitative research to understand the impact their service is providing to families. The research team will also include some baseline quantitative research including the number of families supported, staff trained, number of services provided and for how long and known outcomes plus a rapid evidence review.

Elaine Arnull, Professor of Social Work at the University said: “We are so pleased to undertake this important research in collaboration with Birmingham Children’s Trust. Many families are deeply impacted by domestic violence and developing a better understanding of the effectiveness of interventions is critical.

“Working with families experiencing domestic violence and abuse also forms a large part of everyday social work practice. By working with social workers and other practitioners to understand what works potentially has a significant impact to improve the lives of many families across Birmingham.”

Domestic Abuse Lead Manager at Birmingham Children’s Trust, Domestic Abuse Lead Manager, Birmingham Children’s Trust Nikki Plummer, said: “In Birmingham, we are keen to see what works to ensure seamless services to families.

“The new and innovative model of service provision features a joint working model which aims to upskill and support children’s social care staff to respond to domestic abuse as well as provide specialist support to families. The evaluation of this model of provision is therefore critical in continuing to develop robust support for those affected.

“We are excited to partner with the University of Wolverhampton to undertake this important piece of work and to be making a positive difference to many families and their futures.”