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Why do some boys grow up to be domestic abuse perpetrators when others do not? How can we change the attitudes and feelings that give rise to abusive tendencies?

The research will answer these questions through a mixed methods study that examines:

  1. 1200 secondary school children's attitudes to domestic violence. Using attitudinal and self-report measures we will also examine how these attitudes relate to children's direct experiences of violence as victims, witnesses to, and perpetrators of domestic abuse and dating violence.
  2. The contingencies through which domestic and dating violence are legitimised. Focus groups will be used to explore in what circumstances teenagers who might otherwise condemn violence are prepared to condone it.
  3. Young men's biographical accounts of experiencing, witnessing and/or perpetrating acts of dating or domestic violence.

Through a detailed analysis of each of these 3 datasets and their interrelations, the research will attempt to explain why some young men come to adopt pro-violence attitudes and others do not; the roles attitudes, emotional well-being, and experiences of both parent-child and intimate partner relationships play in this; and how to intervene more effectively in the lives of young people already manifesting violence proclivities.