Evaluating the impact of the Domestic Abuse Suicide Risk Assessment Tool

Supervised by Professor James Rockey and Prof Heather Flowe together with West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner

To apply for this project, please include ‘Rockey & West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’ as the project descriptor in the subject heading of your email. 

Domestic abuse results in a range of profoundly damaging health outcomes, including elevated suicide risks largely unaddressed in existing response systems. This PhD studentship evaluates a domestic abuse suicide risk assessment tool designed to improve multiagency identification and intervention to prevent these deaths. Operating across police, maternity, and health visiting services in the West Midlands, the project employs mixed methods to assess tool effectiveness at fostering victim safety through a social science lens encompassing system and individual spheres. This intensive PhD project will culminate in actionable recommendations, and directly inform regional and national policies on domestic abuse and suicide prevention. 

The successful candidate will develop expertise in sophisticated multi-methods research designs, learn to apply behavioural science to real-world policy challenges, and produce research that leads to actionable insights to prevent harm. 

In addition, the researcher will be immersed in the work of the West Midlands OPCC policy team and those working specifically on domestic abuse and suicide following domestic abuse. The policy team has a close working relationship with staff in West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service who work on domestic abuse and suicide. This will support the researcher to gain a real understanding of how these agencies operate in practice in the context of the research subject matter and enable the findings to be socialised through OPCC partnerships. The OPCC will be able to support the researcher with any domestic-abuse related training that would support the research. 

We are looking for a highly talented and dedicated PhD student with a 1st class or 2:1 degree in a behavioural science field, such as psychology, economics, management or related field, such as public health An MSc degree in a relevant area is desirable though not necessary. The ideal candidate will have expertise in policies addressing domestic abuse, suicide prevention, and gender-based violence, along with some experience in developing and/or evaluating qualitative and quantitative data and integrating findings. Superb communication skills for academic and practitioner audiences alongside organisational skills to independently lead a complex 3-year project are essential to meaningfully impact domestic abuse prevention. 

Informal enquiries about the project prior to application can be directed to Professor James Rockey  j.c.rockey@bham.ac.uk, Professor Heather Flowe h.flowe@bham.ac.uk, Dr. Christine Christie Christine christine@chanon.co.uk, and Imogen Cheatham imogen.cheatham@westmidlands.police.uk.