A SOUTH Tyneside community champion has helped launch pioneering research into the impact of domestic abuse on its ‘hidden victims’.
Ruth Thompson OBE pledged to raise awareness of violence in the home – and particularly its effect on children – when she was sworn in as the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear last April.
Now she has joined forces with Durham University and seven housing providers to help carry out vital research on the issues facing young children who are forced to witness domestic abuse each day.
The High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear’s 50th Anniversary PhD Scholarship is now calling for students to apply to carry out the research, which will include in-depth reviews on possible interventions in domestic abuse, with particular emphasis on the role housing associations can play when abuse is taking place in their properties.
Mrs Thompson, from Cleadon, said: “A gap has been identified in current research on the impact of domestic abuse in relation to children.
“This will be the first time that research has considered housing and domestic violence through a child’s eyes, by talking to children and young people who have witnessed domestic abuse, and to domestic abuse practitioners and people involved in housing provision.
“It will also consist of an in-depth, international literature review on interventions with children and young people and domestic violence, with particular emphasis on the role of housing.”
The housing associations involved in the partnership – Derwentside Homes, North Star, Grainger plc, Incommunities, North Star, Poplar Harca and Gentoo – have provided funding for the research, which will take place at Durham University over the course of three years.
Mrs Thompson added: “I am very grateful to these housing organisations which will fund this new research.
“My ambition is that this research will set out ways to help which the housing providers are well-positioned to address, and so make a positive difference for the children and young people who live with the plight of domestic abuse.
“As a graduate of Durham University, I am delighted that the PhD scholarship will form part of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA) and mark the 50 years of sociology and social policy at Durham.”
One three year scholarship is available, with the closing date for applications being February 27.
For more information on the research scholarship and how to apply, log onto www.dur.ac.uk/scholarships/postgraduate/university/hs50/