11 Gaps in the evidence
The Programme Development Group (PDG) identified a number of gaps in the evidence related to the programmes under examination, based on an assessment of the evidence and expert comment. These gaps are set out below.
1. There is a lack of research on:
a) working with men who experience domestic violence and abuse
c) interventions to prevent elder abuse
d) lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people's experiences of domestic violence and abuse
e) the differences in outcomes of interventions for women and men
f) dating violence and intimate partner violence among adolescents
g) tailored approaches for women facing different levels of risk
h) whole-family interventions in response to domestic violence
i) violence and abuse directed at parents, carers or siblings by children and young people
2. There is a lack of evidence on identifying people affected by domestic violence or abuse in social care settings and integrated approaches to identifying people across various health and social care settings. There is also a lack of evidence on integrated approaches to identifying coexisting issues, such as the links between domestic violence and substance use or mental health issues.
3. There is a lack of evidence on prevention interventions due to methodological issues including: short follow up, lack of comparisons of different interventions, lack of behavioural measures and reliance on self-reporting. In addition, most studies measured attitudes and knowledge, or exposure to educational materials and messages, rather than behavioural outcomes. Many included women who were already using refuge or shelter services, so the findings may not be applicable to those who are not using them.
4. There is a lack of large, robust studies of advocacy, skill development, counselling and other therapeutic approaches for people who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.
5. There is a lack of large, robust studies of interventions for people who perpetrate abuse. The majority were non-experimental (primarily before-and-after studies).Often they did not include a comparison group, had relatively small sample sizes, reported high rates of attrition and lacked follow up beyond programme completion.
6. There is a lack of high quality studies measuring the effects of multi-faceted and multi-sectorial approaches to the prevention of domestic violence. The majority were before and after, or qualitative studies providing narrative reports. Methodological weaknesses included: scant information on data collection, methods and analysis and small sample size (particularly for qualitative studies).
7. There is a lack of research on the impact of partnership working among agencies serving men or a range of subgroups of women experiencing violence. No studies discussed the effectiveness of partnership working for lesbian women who experience domestic violence.
The Committee made 4 recommendations for research into areas that it believes will be a priority for developing future guidance. These are listed in Recommendations for research.