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What stops black and minority ethnic women living in the UK reporting domestic abuse?


The abstract of the protocol is a concise summary of the protocol and it must contain the research question, rationale, design and methods and the statement of importance in the findings of the study (Hulley, et al., 2011, p. 303).

The research question for this study is contained in the title itself. This is, “What stops black and minority ethnic women living in the UK reporting domestic abuse?”

The rationale for the study comes from the plethora of recent studies that have pointed to under reporting of domestic violence in Black and ethnic communities. To research and identify the reasons for such under reporting is essential for the purpose of devising a meaningful strategy for creating conditions wherein women belonging to Black and ethnic minority communities would report the crime of domestic violence if they fall victim to it. The design of the research is structured to conduct a systematic search of electronic data bases and library research into journals in order to identify literature through websites, and print media. The search is aimed at locating literature that relates to under reporting of the crime of domestic violence by women belonging to Black or ethnic minority communities. In particular, two areas of research are emphasized on. These are social and cultural reasons and financial reasons for the under reporting of domestic violence. Once the research identifies the literature, the focus will be on the identification of the afore mentioned factors with regard to Black women and ethnic minority women.


The issue of domestic abuse in the UK has taken serious dimensions due to the revealing of the large numbers of domestic abuses cases in recent reports and literature. These statistics reveal that in 2014-15, there were a reported 8.2% of women and 4% of men were who experienced domestic abuse. Numerically, this percentage converts to about 1.3 million female victims and 600,000 male victims (Woodhouse & Dempsey, 2016, p. 3).Worryingly, it was found that 27.1% of women and 13.2% of men experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16. Numerically, this converts to around 4.5 million female victims and 2.2 million male victims between the ages of 16 and 59 (Woodhouse & Dempsey, 2016). So from the perspective of just reported incidence of domestic abuse, the issue is serious enough. More worrying than the reported numbers of domestic abuse, is the number of women who do not report the crime of domestic abuse. At least in the Black and minority ethnic families, research suggests that there is a tendency to underreport the incidence of domestic violence. These social factors may be related to the concept of honour in some ethnic communities, which forbid women from reporting such crimes against their husbands or family members (The House of Commons, 2009, p. 12). Here, there are decided cultural connotations to the structure of abuse (Gill, 2014).

Recent research on domestic violence and certain ethnic groups within the UK, reveal the under reporting of domestic violence incidence in Black and minority ethnic communities. Social and cultural issues may be one factor responsible for under reporting of domestic violence. Other factor responsible may be financial constraints, more often seen in certain ethnic groups which see a lot of marriages where the bride may come from a non-English speaking country and may be a new migrant into the UK (Anitha, 2008). Studies point to the recent marriage migrants and the problems that they face when they come into an abusive marriage or family in a new country (Colucci, et al., 2013). Many migrants come from cultures that do not consider domestic violence to be a crime as in their countries, domestic violence is seen in a different cultural light and within the gender roles assigned by society (Güvenç, 2014). In certain countries, such violence is socially structured and it gets imported into the UK, when these ethnic minorities migrate to the UK (Gary & Rubin, 2013).

Intervention into the situation is necessary as many women choose to continue to live within a violent relationship, thereby putting themselves at risk for more violent behaviour (Sax, 2012). In general, the Black and ethnic minority communities do experience a number of barriers in reporting crimes of domestic abuse. These barriers are related to two primary groups, social and cultural factors and financial reasons.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the research is to review in a systematic manner, the literature related to under reporting of domestic violence in Black and ethnic minority communities.

The objective of the study is to identify the factors that are responsible for women not reporting victimisation by their husbands, partners or members of family and extended family.

The identification of the factors to which such under reporting may be attributed is essential for informing policy debates on the issue. Also, the key authorities, agencies, practitioners and help groups are also likely to be benefitted by the increased knowledge on the issue.

Review design

The process of systematic review is to the purpose so as to “collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question” (Green, et al., 2011, p. 6). Therefore, the purpose of the systematic review is to locate and collate all the empirical evidence that is available on the given subject matter so as to order a specified research question. The level of bias is limited because the researcher uses explicit and systematic methods of literature review.

Systematic review may also be defined as the summary of research literature that is focused on a single research question that is resultant from a research of all the identification, selection, appraisal and synthesis of all the high quality literature that is available on the topic of research (Bettany-Saltikov, 2012, p. 5). It is also important to identify grey areas, such as PhD theses or conference papers, as these may also provide information that may prove to be valuable to the research (Bettany-Saltikov, 2012, p. 68).

Bettany-Saltikov (2012) suggests using the PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes) method for research questions involving therapeutic interventions and PEO (Population, Exposure, Outcomes) method for qualitative questions. As this study involves a qualitative question, PEO method is appropriate. The table below outlines the PEO method for the research question.

Search Process

The initial search (on psychinfo) on the key word ‘domestic violence’ produced 351 results. Once filtered with the inclusion criteria of adulthood and females, the search came down to 26 journal articles. After further research, these 26 articles will be graded into A, B and C. A grade will be given to the most relevant and C to least relevant.

  • Ethnic Differences in Battered Women's Formal Help-Seeking Strategies: A Focus on Health, Mental Health, and Spirituality. El-Khoury, Mai Y.; Dutton, Mary Ann; Goodman, Lisa A.; Engel, Lisa; Belamaric, Robin J.; Murphy, Megan Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Vol 10(4), Nov 2004, 383-393. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1099-9809.10.4.383
  • Daily reports of intimate partner verbal aggression by self and partner: Short-term consequences and implications for measurement. Derrick, Jaye L.; Testa, Maria; Leonard, Kenneth E. Psychology of Violence, Vol 4(4), Oct 2014, 416-431. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037481
  • Self-report measures that do not produce gender parity in intimate partner violence: A multi-study investigation. Hamby, Sherry Psychology of Violence, Vol 6(2), Apr 2016, 323-335. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038207
  • Self-report measures that do not produce gender parity in intimate partner violence: A multi-study investigation. Hamby, Sherry Psychology of Violence, Vol 6(2), Apr 2016, 323-335. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038207

Sifting Process Data analysis

In a qualitative research which employs a systematic review method of data collection, the meta-synthesis of such data is a demanding activity, which also requires an adequate time resources (Jones, 2004). However, it can also be a very rewarding exercise (Jones, 2004). Considering the method chosen and the nature of the research, being a qualitative research, a thematic synthesis may be appropriate for the data analysis (Thomas & Harden, 2008). Thematic analysis involves the various processes that may be involved in reading texts and refining the findings into key ‘themes’, which may represent ways of understanding the combined meaning of the text and may be “derived by such informal means as reading the texts and describing key messages” (Bearman & Dawson, 2013, p. 252).

Qualitative research involves the analysis of data from a subjective point of view. As pointed out:

“Making judgements about qualitative research requires a deep engagement with ‘rich, thick, description’ and the context of the study. Qualitative synthesis is by its nature a subjective process. The themes presented in qualitative work may be sum- marisable, but their meaning is sometimes inseparable from the data and not usually generalisable beyond it” (Bearman & Dawson, 2013, p. 253).

The data analysis of the results of system review will be done by thematically organising the data and then conducting a qualitative synthesis. This will allow the data to be analysed by reference to important themes, such as Black, or Ethnic minority or BMI, social or cultural factors responsible for not reporting incidents of domestic violence, etc. This will help to conduct an appropriate analysis of the qualitative data.



  • Anitha, S., 2008. 6 CrossRef citations 0 Altmetric RESEARCH ARTICLES Neither safety nor justice: the UK government response to domestic violence against immigrant women.
  • Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 30(3), pp. 189-202. Bearman, M. & Dawson, P., 2013. Qualitative synthesis and systematic review in health professions education. Medical Education, Volume 47, p. 252–260.
  • Bettany-Saltikov, J., 2012. How To Do A Systematic Literature Review In Nursing: A Step-By-Step Guide: A Step by Step Guide. London : Mc Graw and Hill.
  • Colucci, E. et al., 2013. Nature of domestic/family violence and barriers to using services among indian immigrant women. International Journal of Intercultural Research, 3(2).
  • *Gary, J. & Rubin, N. S., 2013. When will violence against women and girls stop in developing countries? The struggle continues. Psychology International, June.
  • Gill, A. K., 2014. Introduction: 'Honour' and 'Honour based violence': Challenging common assumptions. In: A. K. Gill, C. Strange & K. Roberts, eds. 'Honour' Killing and Violence: Theory, Policy and Practice . Basingstoke: Springer.
  • Green, S. et al., 2011. Introduction. In: J. P. T. Higgins & S. Green, eds. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions . London: John Wiley and Sons.
  • *Güvenç, G., 2014. Construction of Wife and Mother Identities in Women’s Talk of Intrafamily Violence in Saraycık-Turkey. nternational Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 3(2), pp. 76-92.
  • Hulley, S. B. et al., 2011. Designing Clinical Research. 3 ed. Philedelphia: Lippinkot, Williams and Wilkins.
  • Izzidien, S., 2008. Domestic abuse within South Asian communities: the specific needs of women, children and young people. [Online]
  • https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/i-cant-tell-people-what-happening-home-summary.pdf
  • Mirza, N., 2016. South Asian women’s experience of family abuse: The role of the husband’s mother. [Online]
  • Mirza, N., 2016. South Asian women’s experience of family abuse: The role of the husband’s mother. [Online]
  • https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/14199/CRFR%20briefing%2080.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y [Accessed 12 December 2016].
  • Sax, K., 2012. Intimate Partner Violence: A Group Cognitive-Nehavioral Therapy Model. The Group Psychologist, November.
  • T. H. o. C., 2009. Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and 'honour'-Based Violence: Sixth Report of Session 2007-08, Volume 1, London: The Stationary Office.
  • Thomas, J. & Harden, A., 2008. Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Medical Research Methodology, Volume 8, p. 45.
  • Veigh, T. M., 2015. Abuse going unreported in Britain’s south Asian communities – study. [Online] Available at:
  • https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/19/abuse-going-unreported-in-britains-south-asian-communities-study [Accessed 12 December 2016].
  • Woodhouse, J. & Dempsey, N., 2016. Domestic violence in England and Wales, Briefing Paper Number 6337, London: House of Commons Library.

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