Manchester expert recognised for pioneering domestic abuse research

Media contact: Joe Stafford

Professor David Gadd of The University of Manchester’s School of Social Sciences is among the finalists for the prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

The prize is awarded annually to recognise and reward ESRC-supported researchers who have created or enabled outstanding impact in the world around us. 

Professor Gadd’s research project ‘From Boys to Men’ set out to explore why some boys become domestic abuse perpetrators when others do not - the project aimed to understand what more can be done to prevent boys and young men from becoming perpetrators. 

The research led to a number of significant interventions at a local and national level. Recent activity such as the Home Office’s ‘This is Abuse’ social marketing campaign, Police Scotland’s ‘Don’t be that Guy’ campaign, and Greater Manchester’s ‘Is this Okay?’ campaign were all influenced by findings about the importance of social marketing campaigns in creating behaviour change among men. 

The research findings also contributed to GMCA’s 10-year strategy to tackle gender-based violence, and the toolkit generated by the project has influenced school-based preventative strategies as well as being rolled out in Malta, France and Spain. 

It’s an absolute honour to be an ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize Finalist, though the real credit should go to all the young people who shared their stories with us as researchers, and the many people working in domestic abuse sector who have championed the research findings and explained to policymakers why they need taking seriously.

Professor David Gadd

“Perhaps the most important thing our research established is that it is pointless simply telling young men that domestic abuse is ‘wrong’ – most already know that. Rather, public education campaigns must engage with young men on their own terms around issues of trust, vulnerability and control over the long term if they are to secure sustained reductions in the rates of men’s violence against women and girls.," added Professor Gadd.

“David’s work has been ground-breaking,” said Suzanne Jacob, CEO of SafeLives, a UK-wide domestic abuse charity. “It gives a sense of how we can bring boys and men into the work to end the abuse of girls and women, and help overcome some of the challenges we all face in achieving truly transformational change.” 

“Government as well as other agencies and organisations all strive to provide young people who use violence with opportunities for change - Professor David Gadd’s work illuminates how to make this a reality and reduce domestic abuse in society,” said Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales. 

The winners of the prize will be announced at an awards ceremony on 2nd November 2022. 

For more information on Professor Gadd’s work and the ‘From Boys to Men’ project, visit https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/david.gadd.html  

A project whose research was explicitly referenced in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper earlier this year has also been shortlisted for one of the awards - for more information, visit https://www.alliancembs.manchester.ac.uk/news/productivity-project-shortlisted-for-national-award/ 

For more information about the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize and how to livestream the awards ceremony, visit https://www.ukri.org/what-we-offer/esrc-celebrating-impact-prize/.  

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