Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

‘Walking on eggshells’: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of service-users' perspectives of domestic abuse support services

Martin-Denham, Sarah (2021) ‘Walking on eggshells’: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of service-users' perspectives of domestic abuse support services. Other. University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK.

Item Type: Reports, briefing/ working papers (Other)


‘Violence against women is widespread and persistent’ (Bulte and Lensink, 2021, p. 148) and has ‘rapidly become a global health concern’ (Walls and Drape, 2021, p. 156). It is widely understood that domestic abuse is not a one-time event but instead is ongoing (Oliver et al., 2019). Kelly and Westmarland (2016) agree that men describe their behaviour whereas women talk of an ongoing micro-management by their abuser, including ‘what they wear, where they go and whom they see, household management and childcare’ (p. 3). Baird et al. (2015) noted that the impact of domestic abuse is a significant and ongoing health issue. Sanderson (2008) and Pill, Day and Mildred (2017) explain that domestic abuse can happen to individuals in heterosexual and same-sex relationships, regardless of employment, education and socio-economic status. Evidence consistently shows that women are at increased risk of domestic abuse and other severe and repeated forms of abuse (Women’s Aid, 2018a; 2018b; 2020c; 2020d; 2020e).
Currently in its third reading in the House of Lords, the long-awaited Domestic abuse Bill 2020 will include a legal duty on local authorities to assess the need for and commission refuge services. The impact of this not being a current requirement is that 64% of refuge referrals being declined last year alone due to a lack of space (Refuge, 2020). The charity announced an 80% reduction in funding to their services and anticipated that around £173 million per year is needed to increase the number of refuge spaces so that no children or caregivers are turned away.
In April 2020, Together for Children (TfC) commissioned Sarah Martin-Denham at the University of Sunderland to review their domestic violence and abuse support services. The Department for Education funded the review as part of the Transformation Programme. TfC commission a range of domestic abuse support services to provide early intervention to victims/survivors and domestic abuse perpetrators. For this research, 12 participants were interviewed 1:1 by telephone; seven women who were victims of domestic abuse and five men who had perpetrated domestic abuse against their intimate female partners.

13451 4.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: Leah Maughan


Item ID: 13451

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Sarah Martin-Denham: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 04 May 2021 09:41
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2021 11:15


Author: Sarah Martin-Denham ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item