Evaluating programmes for violent fathers: challenges and ethical review

Nicola McConnell, Julie Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A range of challenges exist when evaluating programmes for violent men about domestic abuse. Delivered in five UK sites, the Caring Dads Safer Children programme is designed to enhance the parenting behaviour of violent men. At the end of the first delivery programme in each site, a review was undertaken at the request of the ethics committee: to ensure that the evaluation was not raising further ethical issues; to check on the wellbeing of service users and their families; to scrutinise the evaluation process in terms of data quality and quantity; and to inform service and evaluation changes as necessary. In-depth interviews were undertaken with practitioners delivering the service and analysed inductively. While some practitioners expressed concerns about the burden on service delivery and challenges to their relationship with families due to the use of standardised measures in the evaluation, others demonstrated how robust evaluation procedures enhanced assessment and service delivery. Organisations need to be confident that the cumulative effects of any disadvantages posed by the use of standardised measures do not outweigh the benefits and plan for potential barriers and resistance to their implementation. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2014


  • Domestic abuse
  • Routine outcome measures
  • Caring Dads Safer Children
  • Practice evaluation


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