Phase 2 Research Findings

The key findings from Phase 2 of the From Boys to Men Project are detailed in the following report:

Phase 2 Key Findings

69 young people, aged 13-19, took part in 13 focus groups to explore young men’s attitudes to domestic abuse. ‘Abuse’ encompassed controlling behaviour, including the exercise of emotional control as much as physical and/or sexual violence. Groups were selected to reflect potentially distinctive relationships to violence and/or intimacy, for example young men undergoing Youth Offending Team supervision, school students attending anger management sessions, young gay men, young Asian men. The research revealed that the differences between the groups in terms of their attitudes towards violence were not as overt and consistent as might have been expected. There was broad consensus in every group that abuse in relationships is wrong. Participants’ initial reactions to televised scenes of domestic abuse were universally condemnatory. Despite this broad condemnation, it was quite common for participants to justify the use of controlling behaviour where low levels of trust were identified in a relationship.

adolescente parent conflit“If someone’s been cheating on you and you decide to stay with them, then I think you’ve got a right to be more controlling over them cos they, it’s their fault they put themselves in the situation… I think that you should never hit a woman but I know I’ve experienced it in the past when I’ve been cheated on and at the time you’re that upset, you don’t really think… you just want to go round and smash someone’s face in. Even though you know it’s wrong… you feel like you need to get them back. You can’t  let them get away with it…”

(Blake, Focus Group 8)

The young people’s relationships with domestic abuse proved to be highly complex. Participants from all groups also struggled to suggest ways of preventing and responding to domestic abuse, whether perpetrated in the families of young men, or by a young man who had pushed a girl in his school and called her a ‘slag’. For in-depth discussion around these and other issues, please refer to the full report.