CWASU Child And Woman Abuse Studies Unit


Completed Projects

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Developing Minimum Standards for Professionals in the Balkans Responding to the Trafficking of Women and Girls for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation

The objective of this capacity-building project was to contribute to international efforts to combat trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation within and from the Balkans, through the expansion, and awareness, of good practice in governmental, non-governmental and voluntary local agencies. The mechanism was to pilot training for trainers (TfT) courses for multi-agency groups in Albania, Bosnia & Herzogovina, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM), and Montenegro. Croatia was added at a later point upon the request of a government representative. The training package provided participants with a human rights framework, and a minimum standard of expertise in counter-trafficking and related issues. In addition, it was intended that it would contribute to a more effective and sensitive approaches to trafficked women and girls by relevant officials and agencies. The course was also validated by London Metropolitan University.

Overall aims and objectives:

  • develop training materials and resources drawing on agency experiences and knowledge of trafficking as forced migration and victim vulnerability in each Balkan country;
  • conduct training based on the developed materials for those involved in preventing and curtailing trafficking, assisting women and girls, and those with a remit for responding to human rights violations;
  • conduct Training for Trainers within specific organisations to encourage a sustainable multiplier effect (cascade training model);
  • promote the most effective interventions and best practices and resources in the field through dissemination of the results of the project.

Main Outcomes:

  1. The TfT was implemented as intended in each target country, and the innovative delivery mechanism meant that almost 4000 citizens in the Balkans - both professionals and members of civil society - received training on trafficking through the cascade mechanism. In addition there were other welcome outcomes, such as the emergence of inter-agency networks.
  2. A sizable pre-reading document was developed including an up-to-date country audit for all six countries. Course materials, including overheads for presentations, exercises and additional handouts were produced. All materials were prepared in the local language, and in English. A library of additional materials was compiled and left as a reference tool for participants on the course, and housed in the local IOM office post-course.
  3. Each training course and follow-up day was successfully delivered, to a multi-agency group of relevant individuals and organisations. All of the organisations specified in the original proposal were represented on the training courses.
  4. A total of 167 attended the course as full participants, 117 qualified, and 3835 additional persons received training through the delivery mechanism.
  5. Examples of good practice which emerged during the earlier courses were then used as examples in subsequent courses, and, where possible, direct links provided for individuals/organisations. CWASU have also promoted the good practice emerging through this project to IOM and more widely.
  6. The STOP funded Stopping Traffic Project (see below) is a direct outcome of this Project, with one of its aims being to promote more respectful and informed exchange between Western European countries and the Balkans.
  7. The Project website was also established in order to: build on best practices and maintain contact; enable future partnerships; provide access to relevant links, and provide access to all training and library materials in the course languages of Albanian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and English. In order to enable linking of origin, transit and destination countries, the materials from the STOP Project are also available in English, Romanian, Italian and Danish. Participants from those courses are being encouraged to link with those from this Project's courses.
  8. A website: (expired November 2005).


Effective awareness raising in cases of domestic violence

This report is the result of a small research project commissioned by The Women and Equality Unit, Department of Trade and Industry. Using focus groups, the study was designed to explore what information and messages are of most use to women wishing to escape domestic abuse. Seven focus groups were undertaken with a total of 29 women, some were living in refuges, whilst others were in contact with more community-based support projects. One group involved women whose male partners were on a perpetrator programme, and another was conducted in Asian community languages.

Selected Main Findings:

  1. The difficulty that most women have in naming what is happening to them as domestic violence inhibits their identification with messages and/or from seeking support, especially if the content uses explicit portrayals of 'weak' or injured victims.
  2. Messages aimed at actual or potential victims should avoid stereotypes and not over-emphasise ending the relationship or that all that is available is a refuge. Some concern was expressed about messages including the words 'violence' or 'abuse', in case these are interpreted as meaning physical violence only. A way to include other forms of abuse within messages needs to be found.
  3. The decision to seek help frequently arises in relation to a specific incident, often when children are thought to be at risk. This creates a 'window of opportunity' in which responses should be immediately accessible and useful.
  4. Posters can be effective in providing information, but professionals, friends or telephone directory enquiries are the most frequent point of contact cited by participants. A helpline number was identified as the single most important piece of information. Participants stressed that the 'window of opportunity' can be easily lost if women have to make repeated attempts to get through to an under-resourced line.
  5. For some women, particularly those for whom English was not their first language or where other routes were inaccessible, their only route to information was through professionals in the health and education sectors. Schools were, for some women, the only location where they were free to talk/find out about local services.
  6. Information needs to be available in multiple locations, media and formats, in several languages and on an on-going basis.
  7. Newspapers, magazines, public transport tickets, shop/supermarket receipts and cards were the most popular formats because of their anonymity and accessibility. Leaflets were a less popular format, since they are conspicuous and harder to hide. To a lesser extent the same problems were identified in relation to cards.
  8. Messages that are part of general public awareness raising should be sustained and hard-hitting in a similar vein to anti-drink driving and HIV/AIDS campaigns.

Internal Report: Everywhere and Anywhere: A Focus Group Study on Domestic Violence Information and Awareness Raising

Authors: Anjum Mouj, Linda Regan, Liz Kelly, Jo Lovett

Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries

This review was commissioned by the Routes Out Social Inclusion Partnership in order to identify the most effective strategies that have worked elsewhere and use them to inform the work of the Partnership in Scotland.

Aims of the review were to address:

  • The current approach to prostitution;
  • The previous approach to prostitution;
  • The impetus/rationale for change from the previous position; The long and short term aims of the approach;
  • The understanding in relation to the cause and effects of prostitution and to what extent this has influenced the approach;
  • The implementation of the approach and any issues that arose from this;
  • To describe the impact and implications for women involved in prostitution, police and health services;
  • To describe and analyse legal changes and highlight the impact on women involved in prostitution and the men who use them;
  • To draw out any implications of these legal changes for the Routes Out SIP.


CWASU used the strategy of commissioning country reports from individuals/groups based in each country. However the Swedish report was produced by CWASU and was based on interviews with key players and other secondary data, and all reports were supplemented by CWASU's desk research.


  • Total legalisation is not a viable option;
  • Criminalising women is both discriminatory and ineffective;
  • Re-active, short lived interventions achieve little if anything;
  • The links between the sex-markets, drugs markets and organised crime are expanding;
  • Legalisation has not reduced or limited trafficking, and there is evidence that it has resulted in increased flows;
  • Tolerance zones in both the legalised and regulatory regimes have failed to deliver the hope for benefits;
  • Street prostitution is both dangerous for women and unpleasant and disruptive in local communities;
  • As increases numbers, inclosing trafficked women, enter the sex industry, prices fall, resulting in many feeling more pressured to offer 'services' such as unprotected and anal sex, which has serious implications for the health and safety of prostitutes;
  • Whilst off-street prostitution involves less violence, levels are still high, and when it is subject to limited control more likely to involve minors and trafficked women;
  • Only coherent, co-ordinated, multi-stranded and well-resourced interventions, linked to a clear longer-term policy direction make a positive difference.

It is worth highlighting that in the few surveys that asked the opinions of those involved in prostitution, few supported legalisation. The extent to which they also view violence as an 'occupational hazard' raises serious questions about whether prostitution can ever be considered as 'just another form of employment'.

See Research Report: A Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries: Victoria-Australia, Ireland,The Netherlands, Sweden


Authors: Julie Bindel, Liz Kelly

British Council International Seminar on Violence Against Women: Trafficking

Liz Kelly and Linda Regan of The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) are the Seminar Directors for this, the third international seminar on violence against women that they have run for the British Council. This event is a week-long residential seminar open to participants from all over the world, and aims to provide those involved with practical knowledge and approaches to the problem of trafficking, which can be implemented at local, regional and national levels.



Author: Liz Kelly

The Links Between Domestic Violence and Substance Misuse

This project, jointly funded by the Home Office and the Greater London Authority (GLA) aimed to;

  • identify strategies for progression practice and policy through building upon the developing practice in both sectors;
  • explore the overlap between domestic violence and substance use by men and women who are accessing services in the sectors, including the overlap with both survivors and perpetrators of abuse;
  • ascertain service user experiences of help-seeking and service provision.

Methodology included the following;

  • a review of all relevant research internationally;
  • consultation (including interviews and focus groups) with service providers working in the context of the overlap between substance misuse and domestic violence;
  • a survey of the service users of a number of domestic violence agencies;
  • a survey of the service users of a number of substance misuse agencies;
  • documentary analysis of files from a number of perpetrator programmes to extract information regarding substance misuse;
  • interviews with survivors and perpetrators.

Some Key findings:

  • A very significant number of people using domestic violence survivor agencies, perpetrator programmes and substance use programmes face the duel problems of domestic violence and substance use;
  • for many survivors and perpetrators of abuse, the patterns of substance use are linked to the violence and abuse, which they are either perpetrating or experiencing. This link should not be understood as a causal relationship, but one where the practice issues of safety planning, and identifying the strategies of power and control need to be addressed in the context of, and intersection with, problematic substance use;
  • violence reported by service users where there were dual issues of substance use and domestic violence was severe.This highlights the urgency with which this issue needs to be addressed and also raises concern about the children that are living with mothers and fathers where there is co-occurrence of substance use and domestic violence;
  • mental health problems such as depression, trauma symptoms, suicide attempts and self-harm are frequently symptoms of abuse and need to be addressed alongside the issues of substance use and domestic violence;
  • the majority of service users who have domestic violence and substance use problems are primarily using either substance use agencies or domestic violence agencies and not receiving appropriate intervention for 'the other' issue;
  • there has been only marginal development of the practice and policy linking domestic violence and substance use.


See Research Briefing Report: Domestic Violence and Substance Use: Overlapping Issues/Separate Services?

Authors: Catherine Humphreys, Linda Regan, Ravi K. Thiara

The Problem of Trafficking of Women and Children in Eastern India

This project will focus on trafficking in women and children in Eastern India (specifically on the border of Bangladesh and Nepal). Involving secondary analysis, direct field work, and public awareness raising workshops it will undertake the following:

  • an assessment of the extent of trafficking in this area from existing secondary records and independent studies;
  • identification of some of the key trafficking routes;
  • an analysis of the impact on trafficking of the liberal trade regime and the openness of the economy;
  • an exploration of the linkages between the feminisation of poverty, the motivation to migrate and trafficking;
  • an overview of the effectiveness of the existing trafficking laws to tackle this problem;
  • the dissemination of alternative opportunities to trafficking open to families below the poverty line;
  • a counter trafficking public awareness campaign.

CWASU are involved in this Project as consultants on research methodology and analysis.

Authors: Liz Kelly, Linda Regan

The Workings of Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act

The aim of this project is to examine the impact of s.41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (YJCEA) 1999 on the prosecution of sex offence cases. Whilst it is intended to explore the question of whether s.41 has affected attrition rates, the main focus of this study is the extent to which s.41 is fulfilling the intentions of parliament in limiting the circumstances in which sexual history evidence can be used in rape trials. The wide array of research questions that this study will address necessitates a linked multi-methodological strategy combining quantitative and qualitative methods and legal interpretation. It involves the following:

  • Prospective Case Tracking: tracking of rape cases and any s.41 applications made therein over a three-month period in all Crown Courts in England and Wales.
  • CPS Case File Analysis: examination of 200 CPS files for references to s.41 applications, decisions, circumstances etc. in the four study regions (London, Greater Manchester, Newcastle and Sussex).
  • Analysis of Home Office Data: secondary analysis of all Home Office criminal statistics rape data for the years 1998-2002 in England and Wales.
  • Trial Observations: observations of rape trials in the four study regions in order to assess how s.41, and sexual history evidence in general, is 'played out' in court.
  • Interviews with Judges and Barristers in the four study regions.
  • Interviews with Survivors in the four study regions on their experiences of the criminal justice/legal process.
  • Interviews with Relevant Agencies/Practitioners/Key Informants: including Police officers and staff from the Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in the four study regions, and national representatives of Victim Support, the Rape Crisis Federation (RCF) and the Campaign to End Rape (CER).
  • Questionnaires to Service Providers: questionnaires to Victim Support Services and Rape Crisis Centres nationwide.
  • An Analysis of the Legal Context and Leading Cases.

See Research Report:Section 41: an evaluation of
new legislation limiting sexual history evidence in rape trials (Online only)

Authors: Sue Griffiths, Liz Kelly, Jennifer Temkin