Cumbria University makes Best Breakthrough list

Date: Thursday 6th December 2018

RESEARCH carried out at the University of Cumbria into cases of male domestic abuse has been listed in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs for having a significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

The list, compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, is part of the MadeAtUni campaign launched today. The aim is to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

Dr Liz Bates, from the university’s psychology department, is among those listed for pioneering research which investigated the prevalence of male domestic abuse.

It revealed that the extent of abuse suffered by men was far greater than previously thought and that victims were reluctant to ask for help.

Dr Bates is conducting a survey to follow up work carried out last year which resulted in 161 men answering an online survey.

Men in the sample reported experiencing controlling behaviour from their female partners. This included behaviour often reported from women of their male partners, for example using children as a weapon, manipulating or controlling finances and experiencing being isolated from friends and family.

Other results included men reporting cases of verbal, physical and sexual aggression, often making a lasting impact on them physically and psychologically.

“Many men didn't feel they could ask for help or support,” Dr Bates said. “Those who did appeal for support told me the services were geared more towards helping women and they felt they weren’t taken as seriously.”

Dr Bates has contributed written evidence to the recent consultation on the new domestic abuse bill.

The list of breakthroughs demonstrates how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives; from the discovery of penicillin to the establishment of the Living Wage.

It follows independent research undertaken by Britain Thinks which found that the public has little understanding of the benefits of universities beyond undergraduate teaching. The findings show that research is one of the key triggers to change opinion about universities but for many people, it is an abstract concept.