Using the Curriculum to Promote Awareness and Mitigate the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence Against 16 to 19 Year Old College Students in England

  • Xiaomin Sheng

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Adolescents are at the incipient life stage to develop an intimate relationship but are also amongst the riskiest age groups of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Education on this phenomenon is therefore important and significant. The UK government began to address IPV abuse in teenaged relationships in 2013, marked by the policy definition of domestic violence being extended to include 16- and 17-year-olds. This research starts from the position that education is an effective way to minimise the prevalence of IPV issues amongst young people. A curriculum is developed herein to complement the existing provision offered by Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, with the intention of promoting awareness and mitigating the risk of IPV among college students aged between 16 and 19 in England. To do so, participatory mixed methods research, drawing on some elements of an action research methodology is adopted, following a three-phase, cyclical inquiry-in-action process. The first phase is designed to obtain in-depth knowledge of what students have learnt from their previous education in this area. Following this, the curriculum is constructed and delivered to improve their understanding of this complex and nuanced area. Next, views elicited from participating teachers and students in the final phase provide insights into ways to develop and implement future IPV-based interventions. This study suggests several knowledge gaps in the field of IPV prevention. First, it indicates the significance of adopting agreed upon definitions and clarifying basic IPV concepts before implementing an intervention. Second, gender variances appear vital to the efficacy of such programmes, and the finding suggests that gender-specific approaches tends to be more effective than when taught to mixed groups. Furthermore, the study holds the view that special attention should be paid to male students, since they may be prone to seeing IPV issues from a perpetrator’s perspective. Third, IPV education seems to be more effective when delivered in person rather than taught virtually or remotely. Finally, this study conceptualises IPV causation and prevention by incorporating it into Bronfenbrenner’s PPCT model, which is amongst one of the first attempts to adapt this theory to the development of IPV educational programmes.
Date of Award28 Feb 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Youde (Main Supervisor) & Hazel Bryan (Co-Supervisor)

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