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Prevention of sexual violence and domestic abuse through a university bystander intervention programme: learning from a UK feasibility study

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/04/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Gender-Based Violence
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)1-18
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date15/04/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In response to evidence documenting the scale and impact of sexual violence (SV) and domestic abuse (DA) in universities, Universities UK (2016) recommend implementation of a UK based bystander programme, The Intervention Initiative (TII), as a key prevention strategy. However, a recent UK review (Gaffney et al, 2023) concluded that no studies have addressed implementation issues for university-based bystander programmes. Our study explored what is required for implementation of the TII in a UK university, rather than intervention effectiveness. The intervention was delivered to undergraduate students across three school cohorts: medicine, social work and sports coaching. The study draws on pre- and post-intervention surveys to explore SV and DA knowledge, attitudes, and bystander skills. Focus groups or individual interviews with students (n=11) and staff facilitators (n=10) explored experiences of implementation, delivery and participation. Students reported positive changes across several areas and some evidence of immediate impact on behaviours, suggesting potential for wider implementation across university contexts. Barriers included professionalisation of the application of the bystander intervention, resistance to an underpinning gendered evidence base and a lack of diversity and relatability in programme materials.