Research exploring the experience of children who have experienced domestic abuse is very limited. Research that is focused on children tends to talk about them as secondary victims, as witnesses, as passive recipients of abuse, and explores how they are damaged by the abuse they have experienced.

In contrast, UNARS is interested in understanding how young people experience and live with domestic abuse, how they cope, how they creatively manage their circumstances, and how they build a positive and resilient sense of self.  We are interested in talking directly to young people, to explore how they see their lives, their experiences and their own responses to domestic abuse.

The UNARS project researches four key areas:

  • How children and young people cope during and after living in situations of domestic abuse.  This is achieved through interviews with young people who have lived with domestic abuse.

  • The ways professionals and  carers perceive and articulate children’s capacity for resilience, To achieve this, we have conducted focus groups with professionals who work with children and families, and with carers (mostly parents).

  •  How the policy context frames children in situations of domestic abuse. This is achieved through a policy analysis of local, national and European frameworks relevant to children in situations of domestic abuse.  Through an examination of the policy context, and the professional focus groups we will explore the service landscape that young people must negotiate, to explore barriers and enablers to agency for children in situations of domestic abuse.

  • How young people experience the impact of  intervention focused on building capacity for resistance, resilienceand agency.