Evaluation of Domestic Abuse Policy Guidance for UK Universities


The Domestic Abuse Policy Guidance for UK Universities guidance document aims at raising awareness of the problem of domestic abuse at UK universities and guiding university policymakers in the development and implementation of domestic abuse policies to safeguard and support students and staff. Guided by a Theory of Change, a mix of evaluation methods were used to build evidence of the project’s impact.

About the client

University of Central Lancashire is an international, multi-campus university with over 42,000 students and staff from more than 100 countries.

University of Central Lancashire - Evaluation client

Evaluation aims

The objectives of the Guidance Project outputs are to prompt universities to develop new policies or update existing policies, training, and communications, based on the guidance document, and to encourage awareness and understanding of the issues facing victims of domestic abuse so that universities can provide a safer and improved response based on the needs of their diverse student-staff communities. The Guidance Project outputs were disseminated to all UK universities in early 2021. The overarching aims of the evaluation were: To determine the extent to which the Guidance Project outputs impacted on UK university domestic abuse policymaking, training, and communications.

Evaluation approach and methods

To meet the evaluation aims, onEvidence used a Success Case Method approach , undertaking various forms of data collection and analysis between 26 January and 31 July 2023. We gathered, analysed, and synthesised data that were collected as a routine part of the Guidance Project. We asked universities who had been sent the guidance to complete FOI questionnaires. We also asked universities who indicated that they had used the guidance to provide more in-depth data in the form of a structured case study survey. We used a research approach known as impact evaluation. This enabled us to explore both the way that the Guidance Project (intervention) was delivered and the extent to which it worked as intended.

Key evaluation findings

Evaluation of Domestic Abuse Policy Guidance for UK Universities - infographic

Evaluation of Domestic Abuse Policy Guidance found the project’s multifaceted dissemination strategy to be highly successful, with 58.2% of universities reporting that they were aware of and had read the Domestic Abuse Policy Guidance for UK Universities document. Among those who had read the guidance, the impact on university policy making, training, and communications, was found to be high.

  • Impact on policy: 36.5% had used the guidance to create new or update existing policy.
  • Impact on training: 29.4% had used the guidance to create new training.
  • Impact on communications: 38.8% had used the guidance to issue domestic abuse communications.

Additionally, of the universities who were not aware of the guidance prior to the evaluation, 95.9% expressed that they now intend to or may use it in the future.

The full report is published on the UCLan website here.

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