The Stella Project, run by Against Violence and Abuse (AVA), has been improving services for adult women affected by overlapping domestic violence and problematic substance use for several years. During training and development work with practitioners, AVA was increasingly being asked to advise agencies on how these issues affected younger women.
The UK evidence base regarding how to effectively support these young women was weak. In 2010, AVA successfully sought funding from the John Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust for a research and development project to address the gap: the Stella Project Young Women's Initiative (SPYWI).
Middlesex University's Forensic Psychological Services won the tender to undertake this work. The findings of this research will provide, for the first time, insight into the prevalence of problematic substance use and domestic and sexual violence experienced by young women accessing services in London. It will also provide insight into young women's help-seeking and referral pathways, and the ability of current services to meet their needs.
The project is taking place in three distinct phases:
1. Research(October 2010 – November 2011) We conducted research to scope the prevalence of the overlapping issues of domestic and sexual violence and problematic drug and alcohol use experienced by young women in two London Boroughs, Enfield and Kensington & Chelsea. Download the research report and recommendations 'It blocks out the problem and becomes an addiction' [https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9C9QbSc8ON8MU11MWhOUldudTQ/edit]. We also collected pre-intervention evaluation data during this time.
2. Intervention (September 2011 – March 2013) The Stella Project provided tailored training and consultancy support to agencies in the two boroughs over 18 months. This included integrating the work carried out at borough level into the bodies responsible for strategic oversight for the delivery of young people's services, in particular young people's substance misuse treatment.
3. Evaluation (April – August 2013) Post-intervention evaluation data will be collected. The final evaluation report will be published in August 2013.
Funder: The John Paul Getty Jnr Foundation, through AVA
Lead investigator: Dr Miranda Horvath
Co-investigators: Dr Susan Hansen and Professor Joanna Adler
Research assistant: Shola Apena Rogers