Alison McDonald: “Examining the Implementation and Experiences of Domestic Violence Disclosure Schemes”

In Students by General Account


My PhD research aims to advance knowledge, theory and practice through a detailed examination of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Abuse Disclosure Scheme (DVADS) in Northern Ireland and explore the ways it is understood and experienced. My project will adopt a mixed methods design: quantitative analysis of a secondary dataset will assess the extent to which DVADS is being accessed and the associated outcomes; qualitative interviews and focus groups with professionals and those who have accessed the scheme will elicit detailed accounts of how the Scheme is experienced by those most affected. As the first in-depth examination of the scheme in Northern Ireland, this research will make unique theoretical contributions to emerging debates related to disclosure schemes and will contribute to wider debates on DV prevention. It will also advance policy development providing important insight into good practice and limitations in implementation and delivery, maximising the potential of such schemes to enhance safety and protection of those accessing it.

On completion of my BSc (Hons) Psychology at QUB in 2016, I gained employment with a domestic violence organisation in Northern Ireland. My role entailed working closely with victims/survivors of domestic violence and following an information and training session on DVADS my interest in disclosure schemes was piqued. In 2020 I completed my Master of Research (MRes) at QUB. My PhD research will build on my MRes research dissertation which also focused on the DVADS; examining the reach of the scheme and the public’s awareness.