University of Northampton wins funding from Big Lottery Fund to support women who have experienced domestic abuse

Date 31.05.2016

The University of Northampton’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, in collaboration with children’s charity Spurgeons and domestic violence charity Eve, has won £600,000 from the Big Lottery Fund which will be used to support local women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

One in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime* and up to three million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence each year**. To support women and children, The Big Lottery Fund has recently announced 63 projects which will be sharing a £45.5 million fund. All of the projects will support women and girls faced with extremely difficult situations to regain and retain control of their lives.

The University of Northampton, Spurgeons and Eve will be working together to deliver the three-year SHE Project (Safe, Healthy, Empowered), which will offer a range of holistic, therapeutic and wellbeing interventions. The project will include a perpetrator programme accredited by Respect, which will enable women who have experienced domestic abuse to become safe, healthy and empowered.

Professor of Psychology Dr Jane Callaghan, explained: “We believe that the best way to support families where domestic violence and abuse has been an issue is to support them in recognising, understanding and developing their strengths, to develop a sense of family resilience and empowerment. Working together with our partners in Eve and Spurgeons, our programme will enable integrated support for women and children recovering from domestic abuse. This includes support to babies and parents who want to get off to the best possible start with the very youngest members of their families. We also incorporate a programme to support perpetrators who wish to stop their abusive behaviour. We believe that this integrated package will contribute to better recovery, and true empowerment for all members of the family.

“Domestic violence affects 30 per cent of children and young people, and providing robust, evidence based support to improve their outcomes and build their resilience is crucial. We at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Northampton are excited to be developing a therapeutic model for babies, children and young people. We will also evaluate the effectiveness of the integrative approach to working with families in the SHE Project. We are known for our expertise with children and young people affected by domestic abuse, and are looking forward to further developing knowledge and skills in this important area.”

The University of Northampton has a long standing relationship with Eve, whose work gives freedom back to women and children who have suffered any form of domestic abuse or violence. Eve provide programmes to help people to re-build and transform their lives and prepare themselves for a more safe and independent future. These therapeutic programmes help women and children to develop resilience and the confidence to change their lives.

Christine Morgan, CEO of Eve, said: I am so pleased and excited to announce this funding. It heralds a three year project where we will be working with the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University and Spurgeons to deliver interventions for women, babies, children and young people as well as perpetrators.

Based in Northamptonshire, Spurgeons is one of the UK’s leading children’s charities, supporting children and their families for almost 150 years. In the last year, the charity as delivered services reaching over 37,000 children and 78,000 parents or carers.

The SHE Project will be evaluated by the University of Northampton’s Dr Jane Callaghan and Jo Alexander. Visiting Professor Arlene Vetere will be overseeing delivery of the interventions with families and young people. Students from the University will also be involved with the project as it progresses.


*One in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime
Di McNeish and Sara Scott – Women and Girls at Risk, 2014.

**Up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence each year**.
Coy, M., Lovett, J. and Kelly, L. (2009) Realising Rights, Fulfilling Obligations: A Template for an Integrated Strategy on Violence Against Women for the UK, End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Find out more about the Big Lottery Fund’s Women and Girls Initiative (#womenandgirls).