PROTECT Covid-19: Intimate Partner Violence

Exploring lived experiences of the impact of intimate partner violence and abuse on children, affected family members and perpetrators during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Full report

PowerPoint Presentation


Parental Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPVA) is a prevalent and substantial concern and the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has exacerbated the risk of IPVA experienced by families. There is an urgent need to understand how victims/survivors and perpetrators have experienced the multi-agency response to IPVA during the pandemic.

Key findings

  • It is important that organisations play a critical role in raising awareness of parental IPVA and signposting victims/survivors, perpetrators, and children to specialist support.
  • The move to online and telephone support services had both negative and positive consequences. Organisations providing specialist support should consider the feasibility of delivering support and interventions using a mixture of face to face appointments to build rapport and remote measures once a relationship has been established to provide flexibility.
  • When organisations are providing support remotely, an agreed codeword should be established to alert professionals if the perpetrator or children are present, which will restrict the ability to converse openly.
  • Domestic violence groupwork programs should be delivered face to face to optimise the impact of the content being delivered and to promote peer support for participants.
  • There is further need for frontline services to acknowledge that immigration status can be a barrier to accessing services and recognition of the importance of specialist culturally sensitive support (particularly the case with honour-based violence) inclusive of using independent translators rather than family members when assessing need.
  • Further education and awareness is needed regarding the DDV- Destitution Domestic Violence concession, which enables victims/survivors on a UK partner visa to claim public funds while applying to settle in the UK because of domestic violence.


The research team consisted of Dr Hayley Alderson, Dr Simon Barrett, Carrie Barron, Hilda Frost, Dr Simon Hackett, Professor Eileen Kaner, Dr Ruth McGovern, Ms Deborah Smart, Dr Will McGovern, Dr Michelle Addison, Dr Sam Burns, Ms Victoria Cooling, Ms Linda Whitehead, DCI Yvonne Dutson and Gillian Routledge.

From Newcastle University, Northumbria University, and Durham University in collaboration with, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Gateshead Local Authority and Durham Constabulary. For further information please contact Hayley Alderson by email: