The Risk, Abuse and Violence (RAV) research programme at the University of Birmingham was established in September 2016 and officially launched in March 2017. 

Child maltreatment

Its principal aim is to produce high-class evidence regarding the cause of, responses to and interventions that lead to reduction of societal abuse and violence, particularly that perpetrated against women and children. Specific areas of expertise are child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, FGM, perinatal trauma and mental health. Within the University of Birmingham RAV has particularly close links with the Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing and the School of Social Work, the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) and the newly formed Children and Childhood Network. It contributes to research undertaken by Public Health England for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Academic Public Health Nursing and Midwifery.

To tackle the worldwide phenomenon of abuse and violence RAV works with multiple international partners across different sectors. Existing collaborators include the University of Michigan, the University of Auckland, the University of Melbourne and the University of British Columbia, the University of Bergen and the University of Tampere, Finland. 

Informing policy

The group’s research has been effective in several ways, for example informing policy in relation to child neglect through the extensive work of Professor Julie Taylor, and the commissioning of services for domestic violence, through work led by Dr Caroline Bradbury-Jones. It works closely with front-line practitioners and agencies to improve research engagement and enable others to respond confidently to the problem. Dr Maria Clark is particularly influential in this knowledge translation aspect of RAV. 

Dr Caroline Bradbury-Jones, who leads the RAV programme, says: ‘Our vision is that the University of Birmingham will be recognised worldwide as a leader in risk abuse and violence research and for it to be the university of choice for students and staff internationally who are interested in this area of research. This will strengthen further our capacity to tackle the global challenge of abuse and violence.’