University researchers secure €400,000 to support mothers and children living in refuges

Academics at Birmingham City University’s School of Social Sciences have been granted over €400,000 to conduct research into the services that refuges and places of safety provide for women and children fleeing domestic violence and abusive environments.

The funds awarded from the European Commission’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme will allow researchers Professor Morag MacDonald, Dr James Williams and David Kane to explore the needs of women and children living in refuge situations and help them to reintegrate into mainstream society.

Working alongside research institutions in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain, the researchers will develop a programme to combat the social exclusion that is often associated with escaping situations of domestic violence and abuse.Commencing later this year, the two-year project will see the UK research team work alongside Staffordshire Women’s Aid to study the activities that are provided by professionals working in refuges. The EU partnership will then collaboratively develop a programme designed to help families gain active life skills and build confidence.

The developed programme will also provide learning activities, supported free play, educational trips and communal food activities to create positive memories for families.

“Refuges and places of safety are often unable to provide other services that deal with the accompanying problems that mothers and children bring with them after experiencing domestic violence and abusive behaviour”, said Dr James Williams, senior research fellow at Birmingham City University’s Social Research and Evaluation Unit.

Find out more about Birmingham City University’s School of Social Sciences at the University’s Open Day on Saturday 30 June.

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