Evaluation of the WEPROTECT service (remote legal support for victim of domestic abuse)

How effective is the WEPROTECT intervention at reducing revictimisation of domestic abuse (DA) and improving mental wellbeing outcomes following experiences of Domestic Abuse?

Project leadProfessor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (at the University of Birmingham)

Logo of the Home Office

The number of police recorded domestic abuse (DA)-related crimes in England and Wales in the year ending March 2023 was 14% higher than in the year ending March 2020, this follows increases in previous years. Demand on DA helplines has also increased and in the year ending March 2021 the police made only 33 arrests per 100 DA-related crimes and the CPS charging rate for DA-related crimes decreased to 70%. 

DA has myriad effects; on survivor physical and mental health, as well as their family and social networks. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many support services were required to deliver their services remotely. Although restrictions have been lifted, remote service delivery appears to have been beneficial. 

One such service is WEPROTECT, developed by the Domestic Abuse Alliance. It provides free legal information and assistance to survivors. A referral is made by police officers via a mobile application (app) to an in-house team of call-takers and case workers who work with a network of solicitor’s firms. 

This mixed method evaluation will assess the roll out WEPROTECT to new police forces and its effects on revictimization and mental wellbeing of survivors when compared to a control group. 

Research objectives

We will aim to evaluate the effectiveness of WEPROTECT intervention by completing the following work packages: 

  1. Scoping exercise and Theory of Change (ToC) - rapid review of similar online delivery models in the area of DA nationally to help develop a ToC for WEPROTECT
  2. Process Evaluation – understand the implementation and experience of the service. Will include police officers, commissioners, referrers, victim-survivors.
  3. Impact Evaluation - will aim to understand the effectiveness of the WEPROTECT regarding revictimization and mental wellbeing (via the SWEMWEBS question set), ideally via a randomised controlled trial.
  4. Economic evaluation to understand the cost effectiveness of the WEPROTECT service.

Outputs and impact

The project is ongoing (October 2022 – March 2025). 

We will produce a suite of co-developed dissemination outputs for different stakeholders throughout the project to ensure key policy and practice messages are disseminated quickly. The presentation of results will be tailored to different audiences in order to maximise relevance to them.

The research team

The University of Birmingham

  • Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (PI)
  • Professor Caroline Bradbury-Jones
  • Professor Julie Taylor
  • Professor Paul Montgomery
  • Dr Joht Singh Chandan
  • Dr James Martin
  • Dr Francesca Crowe
  • Dr Amy Burrell
  • Dr Emily Evans
  • Dr Juste Abramovaite
  • Dr Fatos Ozkan Erciyas
  • Alice Burton
  • Zhaonan Wang
  • Jaya Nambiar
  • Joanne Baker

Brunel University

  • Professor Yiannis Karavias

University of Nottingham

  • Professor Eddie Kane  

Partner organisations and funder


Domestic Abuse Alliance (developers of WEPROTECT) 

WE:ARE (a West Midlands domestic abuse charity, founded by a survivor).


Home Office, under the Preventing Violence Against Women And Girls, and Supporting Children (PSVC): What Works Fund Genera. 

Further details

The WEPROTECT service