From boys to men: Ending the cycle of domestic abuse

Our research has demonstrated the importance of early intervention for preventing young men from becoming repeat domestic abuse offenders.

Research exploring why some boys become domestic violence perpetrators and some do not has led to the development of a set of recommendations on delivering interventions for young perpetrators aimed at breaking the domestic violence cycle.

The From Boys to Men Project was a three-year Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project which has explored why some boys become domestic abuse perpetrators when others do not.

A primary aim of the research was to establish what more can be done to reduce the number of young men who become perpetrators.

This research, alongside European Commission funded research into preventative education, shows the importance of helping young people cope with the effects of domestic violence and enhancing their resilience to it.


  • Preventative education should be mandatory in schools. There is also a need to engage teenage boys who have been excluded from school.
  • Social marketing has the potential to open a thoroughgoing conversation between young people and adults about the nature of domestic abuse and what can be done to engage those boys and men who begin to perpetuate it.
  • There is a need for service providers that address young men's feelings of vulnerability, rage and powerlessness while also being sensitive to the ways in which mothers and female partners can be blamed for a host of social, familial and personal problems.
  • There is a need to develop skills in the field of working with younger male perpetrators.

Our recommendations have been adopted by RESPECT, the UK membership organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims and young people.

The research and subsequent recommendations have also been discussed with the policymakers including the Home Office, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Executive.

Furthermore, there have been presentations to the NSPCC, Women’s Aid, EVAW and Barnardo’s.

Our research was presented to the Home Office by Women’s Aid and helped to provide a body of evidence that persuaded the government to continue their social marketing campaign on domestic violence.


  • Professor David Gadd (Manchester)
  • Dr Claire Fox (Keele)
  • Dr Mary-Louise Corr (Queens University Belfast)
  • Professor Ian Butler (Bath)
  • Professor Margareta Hydén (Linköping)

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