March 3, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on The Home Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament

I.                   Introduction


Normally, the home is supposed to be a sanctuary for every individual. It is a place where people usually seek solace from family and relatives. In an ideal world, the home is just that. However, real events prove otherwise. Domestic violence has been one of the major social and legal issues that have been plaguing the globe today. There have been numerous cases of domestic violence all over the world with women and children having to suffer the consequences. There has been policies has been ratified by the states protecting the welfare of women and children such that the possibility of domestic violence cease to materialize. In countries like the UK, programmes and policies are not solely focused on women and children. Perpetrator programmes have been in implemented by the state to deal with the perpetrators of domestic violence. This proposal is going to provide a general view on the issues involving these programmes. Specifically, the study will be taking a closer look on the effectiveness of these perpetrator programmes on the incidence of domestic violence in UK. For clarity and coherence of the discussions, the paper is going to be divided into several parts. Moreover, the claims, observations, and arguments used in this paper are to be supported by academic studies from articles and scholarly works on domestic violence, abuse of women and children, and the limited sources on perpetrator programmes.    


II.                Background


The Home Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament has recently released a report on the sentencing guidelines regarding the offenders for domestic violence. (UK Parliament, 2005) Based on the report, the committee are not really keen on employing the use of perpetrator programmes as an alternative means of custody. This shows that there are plans to change the system of using perpetrator programmes in general. The report claims that the use of such programs does not show clear indication on its effectiveness and thus doesn't ensure the safety of the victims of domestic violence. In addition, the report claimed that the sentencing guidelines be changed such that showing genuine signs of remorse be taken out of the equation as a grounds for sentencing to a perpetrator programme. They claimed that this is a sign of pending cycle of violence that essentially endanger the wife and child.


This report is an indication that even the legislative part of UK is still doubtful of the level of effectiveness of perpetrator programmes in general. Specifically, the report indicates that there is a need to improve the system provided by perpetrator programmes such that a tangible and actually discernable indicator of effectiveness would be seen by the proper authorities. The findings of this study will be a great help on the UK government in deciding as to whether to further employ the programmes or otherwise.


III.              Aims and Objective


The study intends to determine the level of effectiveness of perpetrator programmes in the United Kingdom. Specifically, the study intends to answer the following questions:

1.      How does the UK justice system handle offenders of domestic violence?

2.      How does perpetrator programmes play a part on the rehabilitation of the offender?

3.      What are the processes involved in perpetrator programmes in the UK?

4.      How effective is the perpetrator programmes in preventing domestic violence?

5.      What is the relationship between perpetrator programmes and the incidence of domestic violence?   


IV.            Literature Review


Domestic violence is described as "by a pattern of abusive behavior ... which escalates in frequency and severity over time." (May, 2005, 1) This shows that the occurrence of such abuse is not a one time deal; it has been going on for some time now. Enough times to establish a pattern that spirals with extreme outcomes as severe physical injuries or even death. Laws protecting women and children from this crime have been ratified and implemented in many countries. In a study of Johnson and Kishor (2005, 259) they found out that women in countries like Cambodia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Haiti, India, Nicaragua, Peru, and Zambia experience domestic violence from their spouse regardless of their physical state. This implies that the women in these countries do receive abuse even in their periods of pregnancies. On the whole the said study indicates that such abuse is detrimental to the health and rights of women as well as the development of the individual nations. These studies show that domestic abuse does exist and it has become a major problem. And one of the possible solutions to this problem is the use of perpetrator programmes to avoid the possible recurrence of domestic violence.


In the study of Laing (2003), she took into consideration several studies on the use of perpetrator programmes to review whether the programme is indeed effective. She found out that it would be difficult to determine as to whether a conclusive answer on the effectiveness of the programmes because the studies have varied outcomes, especially those using the experimental methodologies. On the whole she noted that the perpetrator programmes are generally important in the deterrence of domestic violence however, she implied that more research is needed to place the position on whether the programmes are effective or not.


In a similar study of Mullender and Burton (2000, 2) indicated that 67% of the perpetrators coming for the programmes has been able to avoid further violence. However, the study similarly claimed that the figure eventually declined with only a few who have responded positively on the programme. The said study also considered the performance of programmes in London. However, the same disappointing result came about, with only a few returning for the second stage of the programme.      


V.               Methodology


The study will employ a descriptive form of research. Creswell (1994) noted in his study that descriptive research is predominantly based on analysis of the observed data. The descriptive method of research is characterized as cheap and quick. This means that the researcher will be able to make the most of the resources allotted in this study in implementing such a research. On a more specific note, the use of such a method will allow the researcher establish the existing situation by gathering information from an area prescribed in this study. In addition, using the descriptive method of research permits the researcher to illustrate the nature of the situation intended to be studied as it occurs and in the same time look at the possible causes that triggers the said phenomenon. It also appealed to the researcher that the use of descriptive method will provide first hand data from the respondents. This will give way to the formulation of rational and sound conclusions and recommendations at the latter part of the study.


VI.            Sample Participants


The researcher will ask the help of the Probation Service in England and Wales such that they could introduce some of the offenders qualified for perpetrator programmes. A correspondence will be sent to the said agency in order to obtain a permit to conduct an examination using some of their clients in West Yorkshire and London as samples for the study. The researcher will then choose a total of ten of the perpetrators, five from West-Yorkshire and five from London, as sample. The researcher will be using interviews. Using the interview as a tool will allow the researcher/interviewer to adapt to the individual sessions by developing further in-depth questions to direct the respondents in communicating the factors affecting their actions. This adaptability and flexibility provided by interviews are elements that may not be provided by a questionnaire.  


VII.          Sample Protection


The sample used in this study will be protected in such a way that their identities will be withheld in the presentation of data. Instead, the sample will be labelled Patient 1, Patient 2, etc. such that their identities are kept from the public. In the same time, it will assure the respondents that their responses to the questions provided by the researcher would only be used for academic purposes.  


VIII.       Analysis


The researcher is going to make use both primary and secondary data so as to very much examine the conditions involved in the study. The primary source of data will be derived from the data from the interviews and the researcher-made questions conducted by the researcher. The primary data commonly provides the thorough definitions of conditions employed in the study. Consequently, these are generally divided into more detailed classifications. The secondary sources of data will be based on published scholarly articles from social science journals, theses and related studies on domestic violence and perpetrator programmes.


IX.            Limitations


This study also possesses several limitations towards its completion. One would be with reference to the data used in this study. Given that qualitative data is used, the researcher is going to be dependent on the assumption that the sample would be giving unadulterated responses to the interview questions. Moreover, because the researcher opted to use a qualitative form of study, the outcomes and findings made by this research may be limited as to indicating a general claim on the effectiveness of perpetrator programmes. 


X.              Study Design


The study is predominantly qualitative in nature. The researcher opted to make use of such a method because this study similarly has an objective to uncover and to construct theories that would explicate the relationship of one variable with another variable by means of qualitative factors present in research, which is the rationale of a qualitative research method. (Patton, 1990) These said qualitative factors do not have benchmarks or measures for that matter. In its place actions, behaviours, convictions and ideas are often gauged in this kind of study.

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