VAMHN'S ECR BURSARY WINNER Alex Fairnes DISCUSSES their ATTENDANCE AT THE MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow
Have a read below to see what our ECR bursary winner Alex Fairnes did with their award money. To find out how you can apply to our ECR Bursary Scheme click here.
I spent one week at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow. My aim was to use the facilities and the contacts to review recent U.K.- focusing literature concerning the impact of exposure to domestic violence on the health and developmental well-being of children and young people.
In my view, this seems to be particular relevant given the evidence of rising domestic violence during the lock-down and the severe impact on youth mental health.
During my stay, I undertook a comprehensive search of identified databases which were developed within an 11-year framework (1995-2006) in the U.K.. Impact was explored across four separate yet inter-related domains (domestic violence exposure and child abuse; impact on parental capacity; impact on child and adolescent development; and exposure to additional adversities), with potential outcomes and key messages concerning best practice responses to children's needs highlighted.
There is compelling evidence that children and adolescents living with domestic violence are at increased risk of experiencing emotional, physical and sexual abuse, of developing emotional and behavioral problems and of increased exposure to the presence of other adversities in their lives. This should inform action towards a range of protective factors that can mitigate against this impact, in particular a strong relationship with and attachment to a caring adult, usually the mother.
Moreover, children and young people may be significantly affected by living with domestic violence, and impact can endure even after measures have been taken to secure their safety. Based on findings of my literature review, there is rarely a direct causal pathway leading to a particular outcome and that children are active in constructing their own social world. Implications for interventions suggest that timely, appropriate and individually tailored responses need to build on the resilient blocks in the child's life.
Given the limited period of my research stay, I am keen to further explore the links between exposure to domestic violence, various forms of child abuse and other related adversities, investigating how such exposure may have a differential yet potentially deleterious impact for children and young people.
From a resilient perspective, I am also interested, in the future, to review the influence of each protective factor regarding the impact of exposure and the subsequent outcomes for the child.
The research stay comes to benefit of me as an independent researcher ad survivors’ community organiser. It definitely strengthened my abilities, skills and network of contacts finds and will hopefully help me contribute to discussions & action plans for a holistic and child-centered approach to service delivery, derived from an informed assessment, designed to capture a picture of the individual child's experience, and responsive to their individual needs.