The challenges of developing and implementing a bystander intervention for the prevention of domestic violence and abuse in UK communities

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Rachel Fenton University of Exeter, UK

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Cassandra Jones University of Exeter, UK

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Sue Moss Bristol City Council Public Health, UK

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Kate Cooke Bristol City Council Public Health, UK

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Bystander intervention is showing promise as a strategy for violence reduction. Following successful preliminary evaluation of The Intervention Initiative (TII), a bystander programme for universities, a Public Health department in a local authority commissioned a DVA-specific version of TII for communities which became Active Bystander Communities (ABC). This paper documents, in narrative and reflexive form, the challenges and complexities faced by the research team and practitioners in translating TII into a new context for a new audience. We review findings from research, document the theoretical rationale underpinning the new programme, and its content and adherence to effective prevention criteria. We discuss the community readiness model and results of our engagement with a wider practitioner base and how feedback informed further programme development. We document the importance of the intersect and interplay of academic work with practitioner ‘real world’ realities. We discuss two fundamental theoretical issues: the meaning of ‘communities’ in this context, and the safety of interventions expressing social disapproval of problematic male behaviour to perpetrators designed to shift social norms. Government cuts have affected the structures and the staffing required to pilot the intervention in communities. Further research into effectiveness of the intervention and barriers to implementation is needed.

Rachel Fenton University of Exeter, UK

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Cassandra Jones University of Exeter, UK

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Sue Moss Bristol City Council Public Health, UK

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Kate Cooke Bristol City Council Public Health, UK

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