Alison was initially awarded a studentship by the NIHR SPCR in 2010 to explore the health and wellbeing impacts that domestic violence has on the friends and family members of survivors. Over the course of the next year, Alison will carry out the preliminary work for a pilot study to produce, implement and evaluate a support intervention for the informal supporters of domestic abuse survivors, and will submit applications for the funding of this study. She also plans to mobilise her PhD findings, in collaboration with Women’s Aid, by producing training modules and guidance regarding the role of, and impact on, friends and relatives of survivors for staff working on the National Domestic Violence Helpline. Women's Aid have invited Alison to present her work at their national conference in July.
At the European Network on Gender and Violence in Valletta, Malta, where Alison presented her work, she said "The network is international, multi-disciplinary, and collaboratively-minded, and the aim of their conference is to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions of the latest European research in the field. This year’s conference was opened by the president of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, and was attended by more than 80 delegates from a wide range of countries across Europe. Topics presented included: domestic violence, stalking, prostitution, trafficking and child abuse, and discussions ranged from the theoretical to the very practical. Included within this, were six researchers from the University of Bristol who had been invited to present their work, much of which has been funded via NIHR programmes and fellowships. Dialogue and debate were very actively encouraged and it struck me as the ideal forum to both test out ideas, and to think about what is possible to apply pan-Europe and what needs to remain region-specific. The presentations from Bristol researchers tended to focus on the pragmatic, and as such, attracted a lot of interest.
As a PhD student heading rapidly towards the end of an NIHR SPCR student fellowship, it was great to have the opportunity to discuss my findings with such a distinguished international audience, and I came away with a real sense of encouragement about the possibilities of linking up what I’ve been working on with that of others outside of the UK."