Asylum seekers and Refugees suffering domestic abuse: Exploration of the issues

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  • Published On: 22-05-2024


The future research project, as could be envisaged through the subsequent research proposal, would be formulated for the purpose of formulation of greater understanding regarding the selected research topic of identification of the issues related to the incidence of domestic abuse amongst the women of asylum seeking refugee communities.

Please refer to Appendix II


Study purpose and research problem

The primary purpose of the corresponding research proposal would be to explore and determine the unique risk factors concerning the prospect of asylum seeking and refugee women who have to encounter domestic abuse either prior to, during or after their migration. In this context, the research problem would be envisaged as the dearth of availability of detailed as well as reliable information concerning the representation of the effects of family violence on women who primarily seek asylum as refugees from their countries of origin. This brings into effect the research problem of the dearth of proper literature in this respect. This would be considered to be a gap of literature concerning such a topic. The variables associated with the impact of domestic violence on refugee women, who could have suffered varying measures of domestic abuse, are mostly specious and peripheral. This dearth of literature is to be resolved through the secondary research literature review in this study and this would lead to the addressing of the existing gap of literature.


Research question

What are the issues associated with the domestic abuse affected refugee and asylum seeking women at their respective social contexts?

The significance of the research

The contextual research significance would be outlined as the necessity of outlining the scope and utilitarian value of the corresponding research topic regarding the formulation of particular references to the differential experiences of asylum seeking or refugee individuals or groups of individuals, including those of women, who could be subjected to multiple variations of domestic abuse related conditions (Gregory, Williamson and Feder, 2017). This can be further elaborated as the frequent occurrence of generalisation of issues and experiences of such personnel. This is the indication of the frequent failures, on part of the research project undertakings, to reflect upon the variations of differential experiences and issues related to the vulnerability of such individual asylum seeking refugees towards having to suffer domestic violence and abuse (Siddiqui, 2016).

Major issue and sub-issue description

In context of the previously mentioned section, the major issue which the corresponding research project undertaking would be addressing is the necessity of the health practitioners to concentrate each domestic abuse incident and the related experiences of the victims. Such a process would include the evaluation of the case specific particularities which would be derived from the victims. Apart from these, the study would also assess the various aspects of asylum seeking, refugee women who have been subjected to domestic violence as well. In addition to this, the sub-issue of the research would be identified as representation of research perceptions through which the necessary understanding would be formulated.

Research scope

The scope of the research is extensive and it intends to cover the multiplicity of aspects related with the overall research topic. This can be more specifically delineated as the exploration of different issues, causes and effects of domestic violence which the asylum seeking refugee women have come to experience (Clarence, 2017). In particular, the domestic abuse based issues which may afflict specifically women with disabilities and ethnic minorities would be delved into. Specific research attention would be concentrated on situations which might lead to further discrimination on part of such domestic abuse affected refugee women, in the course of their attempt to seek asylum and protection.

Definitions of concepts and contradictory debate indication

Furthermore, the research project proposal would be examining the demands and the associated responses which might be necessitated for mediation as well as resolving such risks. The study underpinnings would be highlighted from the perspective of comprehending the different conditions which such women might experience while having to settle down and establish themselves in their host countries.

Literature Review

Concerning the establishment of the ground work of the research undertaking, it can be observed that the social campaigns of the voluntary organisation of Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO), have been instrumental in providing the case based perspectives through which the research project undertaking would be envisaged. BAWSO has been operating from Wales of the UK, providing specialist care and support services to victims of a range of problems such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour based violence, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and human trafficking, involving the women from the Black, Asian Minority Ethnic(BAME) communities (Malsch and Smeenk, 2017).

According to Dransfield and Clark (2018), it can be observed that a number of previously performed qualitative research studies involving the refugee and immigrant communities had concentrated on the specified research topic. However, the dearth of the quantitative data regarding the pervasiveness of the domestic abuse within such communities, had ensured that the outcomes would not be credibly compared to the results derived from the Anglo-Saxon communities of the United Kingdom. In this context, the research of Timshel, Montgomery and Dalgaard (2017) has highlighted that various cultural aspects and practices which are associated with the BAME communities, are to be considered to be the catalysts of exposing the women of the immigrant and refugee communities to additional risk propensities of domestic abuse based victimisation. According to Shishehgar et al (2017), the critical issue of furtherance of violence at domestic environments for asylum seeking and refugee women, is the trauma emanating from the experience of previously suffered violence.

Furthermore, for the women of asylum seeking and refugee families and related ethnic communities, as has been observed through the research of Dennis, Merry and Gagnon (2017), the dearth of professional, administrative, legal and governmental support mechanisms , when they could have been in the refugee camps or at the internment and detention centres as well as during their displacement, is one of the primary issues which aggravate their problems having to be subjected to repeated cycles of domestic abuse and violence, even during their resettlement within the United Kingdom (Rogers, 2016). As has been observed through the research conclusions of Li, Liddell and Nickerson (2016), the existence of any legal safeguard against domestic abuse and the availability of proper accessibility to the same for the domestic violence affected displaced women, within the transit nations through which they could have had to commute in the course of their arrival at the United Kingdom, did not generally resolve the issues of increased vulnerability of such women towards having to suffer family based violence and maltreatment. The reason is discernible from the research of James and Squire (2017), that the enforceability of the legal safeguards is mostly inadequate since a number of national legal structural architectures are deficient from the perspective of properly stipulating the laws could be capable of prohibiting such practices of abuse in the domestic environment over women. In this context, as has been opined by Freedman (2016), the fundamental constituents of the problems of domestic abuse and violence suffered by the women of asylum seeking refugee communities are recognisable as the paucity of family support and consistent shifts and variations in the mechanisms of justice. These leave such asylum seeking women without adequate measures of support.

According to Wenzel (2019), this observation has brought into focus the realisation of another issue related to the outcomes of such women suffering from domestic abuse. This issue is related to the helplessness of such abused women to become consigned to their predicaments and situations. Thommessen, Corcoran and Todd (2017)has specified that the traditional norms related to gender identification remain to be primary conditions which formulate social barriers for abused women to respond legally to the domestic violence perpetrators. According to Asgary (2016), this observation concerning the gender role based influence on the conditions of the abused women has been especially prevalent in the refugee camps where the women of asylum seeking African and Southeast Asian communities reside.

Furthermore, as per the research of Patterson et al (2018), the context of African and Southeast Asian women is also significant from the perspective of reporting of the incidences of abuse to the authorities. Such fear is reinforced from the existing social norms prevalent amongst such communities and from the often absence of access to legal and social support for such victimised women (Whittaker et al. 2005). This is understood to be a direct outcome of prolonged social processes which have enforced certain traditional norms of gender role based relationships on the psyche of such victimised women belonging to different refugee and asylum seeking communities (Nixon and Humphreys, 2010).

Finally, the research literature review would concentrate upon the delineation of three specific issues. These concern the clarification of the research perspectives regarding the variables associated with the entire research topic. The first would be the evaluation of the proper definition of the constituents of ‘violence’. The second would be the assessment of the social relationships in between the victimised women and the perpetrators of such violence. The third would be the analysis of existing multiplicity of factors, including socio-psychological conditions which perpetuate the practice of domestic abuse even within the host country of the United Kingdom. The clarification of such ideas would be of primary significance for the research literature review to provide effective secondary information for the research to be credible and authentic.


The research problem would be tackled through the implementation of the strategic research methodology so that the analysis of acquired research data from research participants would be performed for the purpose of resolving the research problem. Special emphasis would be concentrated upon application of the sub-philosophy of Post-Positivism so that collection and interpretation of primary data would be performed. This would be directly defining the latent issues associated with refugee and asylum seeking women getting abused by domestic violence (Kelly,2016).

The research will draw upon Positivist Epistemological philosophy. This research philosophy is directly inclusive of three different strands of research philosophical constituents and these are Interpretivism, Post-positivism and Realism. The research project would implement Post-positivism for the purpose of collection of Primary data from the research sample and would be interpreting this data to arrive at evidence based research findings. The focus would be on evidence based evaluation of the research data through empirical observation. Thus, it would be vital to reduce the interpretation of the data which can be considered as erroneous.

The research will draw upon the Descriptive Research design and the Deductive research approach. The Deductive approach alludes directly to the existing models and theoretical hypotheses to outline the credible research speculations through which new threads of understanding would be comprehended. This would require investigation of primary quantitative data. On the other hand, the research would be using the Descriptive research design for the purpose to organise the entire research process in the most formal manner as possible. Credible, relevant and effective synthesis of theoretical constructs from the evaluation of such collected data would be the ultimate objective of the data collection process (Browne, 2016).

The Primary data collection process would be utilised with emphasis on the subsequent two sub-methods of data collection and analysis. These can be identified as the Qualitative and the Quantitative operational methods (Oliver, 2010). The Quantitative data collection process would be essential to ensure accuracy and relevance of the entire research data collection undertaking and would involve inputs of data from the selected research sample of participants.

The research strategy would be utilising the formulation of a set of specific questionnaire comprised with semi-structured questions and the questionnaire would be presented to the selected research sample of participants, for the Quantitative data collection. For the Qualitative data collection, the research process would be adopting the formulation of a series of open ended questions and would be providing these to the specific numbers of case workers of BAWSO and would be collecting their responses as direct transcriptions. The quantitative data would be evaluated and analysed through the utilisation of data tables and charts and instruments such as the Likert Five Point scale based data demonstration and categorisation table. For the purpose of time management, the Quantitative data collection questionnaire would be provided to the research participants through a line manager.

The ethical considerations, under the stipulations of Data Protection Act (1998) would be of specific importance to protect the personal information of the research participants from unauthorised utilisation by any third party (Oliver, 2010). Furthermore, the intimation of the proceedings of the data collection methods and procedures as well as the different steps of the survey process to the research sample participants would be also one of the ethical responsibilities for the research process. Seeking of prior consent from the Quantitative and Qualitative data collection participants through provisioning of consent letters to the focus group participants would be also utilised. Furthermore, the research project would desist from utilisation of any coercive method to extract responses from the research sample participants. The sampling strategy used will be purposive so that the selected research respondents would be either 18 years of age or above. Finally, the research questionnaire formulation process would be performed carefully to not formulate the survey and interview questions in any manner which might be considered to be disrespectful by the case workers of BAWSO or might be harmful to the sensibilities of the research participants.

The selected sampling strategy would be purposive so that the research respondent focus group could be formulated with 100 women who had been domestic abuse victims, for Quantitative data collection process. On the other hand, 10 case workers of BAWSO would be selected for the purpose of conducting the interview process. The Quantitative data process sample participants would be 100 in number.

For this purpose, the research process would adopt probability based snow-ball random sampling method to select the necessary number of research questionnaire respondents from within the research population comprised by women from African and Southeast Asian refugee communities. The purpose of probability sampling is to make the most extensive effort to include BAME women, both victimised and non-victims of domestic violence, to participate in the research process (Fulu and Miedema, 2015). This would further permit the research process to give equal measures of opportunities to the entire research population to be selected to the finalised research focus group. For the purpose of having more accurate responses from the interview based Qualitative data collection method, the purposive or targeted sampling method would be utilised by the research process.

This sampling method would enable the research process to select particular BAWSO case workers of interest who could be working closely with the victimised women suffering from domestic violence. The Qualitative data collection process would examine the responses from these case workers of BAWSO. This would entail the careful and deliberate selection of the adequate number of BAWSO workers who would be approached in person for conducting the direct interview sessions. In this respect, the non-probability sampling would be further effective towards not selecting any BAWSO worker who may not be able to participate in the interviewing process due to a host of reasons.

For the planned activities timeline, please refer to Appendix I


The potential of the future research would be grasped from the fact that it would be an interdisciplinary research process. The initial aspect which is to be drawn from the literature review, is that the gap of literature in highlighting the holistic psychological and social complications, through which, the women of asylum seeking refugee communities face at various junctures, can be resolved through a multipronged research process. Specific focus needs to be concentrated upon the heightened risk propensities of domestic violence for women at the BAME communities. The second gap of literature is comprehensible as inadequacy of proper understanding of the responses generated by the domestic violence affected women of such communities. The third literature gap is the influence of the situations which perpetuate the displacement of such women from their native habitation, on the social composition of such communities. This is significant since the refugee status and the necessity to seek asylum at UK considerably complicate the social existence of such women. There are three points of considerations have been drawn upon from the data derived from the literature review in this respect. The first one is the necessity to consider the combined effects of the tribulations associated with displacement as well as the necessity of having to seek refuge at UK, the second one is the influence of the social context of traditional interpretation of gender identities and finally, the third one is the inadequacy of approach of the governmental institutions to address such cases of domestic violence. The literature theme has been that of the deductive and explorative thematic constructs under which the theoretical and evidence based statistical data have been evaluated. In this context, the category of the literature would be the Epistemological data based on research hindsight. The literature review based secondary data collection would be concentrated upon the determination of the various dimensions of the research topic. This would be in the mode of domestic violence incidence at the displacement stages of such women and at the refugee camps. The research methods will be concentrating upon the delineation of the two research variables, in the form of the Independent variable and Dependent variable. This would be effective in the clarification of the research title involving the research exploration of various issues related to the subject. This might be further contemplated to be the principal contribution to the primary research process of the subsequent study project. Furthermore, the mutual effects of both the research variables and the effects of evaluation efforts of the same, through different theoretical constructs, would be also undertaken consistently in the research literature review section. This specification of the two research question variables has been another contribution by the literature review conductance to the research findings.

The research project would also strive towards the establishment of logical linkages between the observed analytical outcomes of the Qualitative and Quantitative data structures with those of the research objectives and the literature review based perceptual constructs. This would be vital to outline any inherent flaws in the literature review in the manner of ambiguous areas of understanding of the issues pertaining to the experiences of domestic violence affected women belonging to the asylum seeking communities. One particular limitation would be the relatively limited availability of accurate secondary resources and constrained accessibility to these. The relative meagreness of effective evidence to back the perceived theoretical knowledge derived from the literature review is another academic limitation of the research process. Another limitation is comprehended as the inadequate availability of proper time and financial resources for the research process based Quantitative and Qualitative data collection responsibilities. In this respect, one particular limitation would be the problem of securing interview appointments with the BAWSO case workers.

The recommendations for the research process are three folds. The first recommendation is to utilise greater accuracy of data through inclusion of greater number of research journal articles and books as well as published situations reports by institutions such as the Office of Immigration of the UK Governments and that of BAWSO. The second recommendation would be to utilise a critical tool of appraisal to review both the collected primary and secondary data. This would involve a phase based comprehensive analysis and review of all the data collected. The third recommendation is to extend the length of data collection and also to enhance the resource available for the research process. This might enhance the accuracy of attainability of the research findings in the most credible manner.

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Reference list:

  • Asgary, R., 2016. Graduate public health training in healthcare of refugee asylum seekers and clinical human rights: evaluation of an innovative curriculum. International journal of public health, 61(3), pp.279-287.
  • Browne, S., 2016. Violence against women. In The women’s liberation movement in Scotland. Manchester University Press.
  • Clarence, E., 2017. Ignored and isolated: Women and asylum policy in the United Kingdom. In Gender and Insecurity (pp. 19-33). Routledge.
  • Dennis, C.L., Merry, L. and Gagnon, A.J., 2017. Postpartum depression risk factors among recent refugee, asylum-seeking, non-refugee immigrant, and Canadian-born women: results from a prospective cohort study. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 52(4), pp.411-422.
  • Dransfield, R. and Clark, L., 2018. An exploration of the mental health needs of asylum seeking women and children in the UK: implications for health visiting practice. Community Practitioner.
  • Freedman, J., 2016. Sexual and gender-based violence against refugee women: a hidden aspect of the refugee" crisis". Reproductive health matters, 24(47), pp.18-26.
  • Fulu, E. and Miedema, S., 2015. Violence against women: globalizing the integrated ecological model. Violence against women, 21(12), pp.1431-1455.
  • Gregory, A.C., Williamson, E. and Feder, G., 2017. The impact on informal supporters of domestic violence survivors: A systematic literature review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 18(5), pp.562-580.
  • James, J. and Squire, C., 2017. Refugee women.In The social context of birth (pp. 114-128).Routledge.
  • Kelly, L., 2016. Moving in the shadows: Violence in the lives of minority women and children. Routledge.
  • Li, S.S., Liddell, B.J. and Nickerson, A., 2016. The relationship between post-migration stress and psychological disorders in refugees and asylum seekers. Current psychiatry reports, 18(9), p.82.
  • Malsch, M. and Smeenk, W. eds., 2017. Family violence and police response: Learning from research, policy and practice in European countries. Taylor & Francis.
  • Nixon, J. and Humphreys, C., 2010. Marshalling the evidence: Using intersectionality in the domestic violence frame. Social politics, 17(2), pp.137-158.
  • Oliver, P. 2010, Understanding the Research Process. Sage Publications Ltd. London
  • Oliver, P. 2010, The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics, (2nd edition), Open University Press, Maidenhead.
  • Patterson, J.E., Abu‐Hassan, H.H., Vakili, S. and King, A., 2018. Family focused care for refugees and displaced populations: Global opportunities for family therapists. Journal of marital and family therapy, 44(2), pp.193-205.
  • Rogers, M., 2016. Breaking down barriers: Exploring the potential for social care practice with trans survivors of domestic abuse. Health & social care in the community, 24(1), pp.68-76.
  • Shishehgar, S., Gholizadeh, L., DiGiacomo, M., Green, A. and Davidson, P.M., 2017. Health and socio-cultural experiences of refugee women: an integrative review. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 19(4), pp.959-973.
  • Siddiqui, H., 2016. “True Honour”: Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and Honour Crimes in the UK. Moving in the Shadows: Violence in the Lives of Minority Women and Children, pp.169-84.
  • Thommessen, S.A.O.T., Corcoran, P. and Todd, B.K., 2017. Voices rarely heard: Personal construct assessments of Sub-Saharan unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee youth in England. Children and Youth Services Review, 81, pp.293-300.
  • Timshel, I., Montgomery, E. and Dalgaard, N.T., 2017. A systematic review of risk and protective factors associated with family related violence in refugee families. Child abuse & neglect, 70, pp.315-330.
  • Wenzel, T., Völkl-Kernstock, S., Wittek, T.U. and Baron, D., 2019. Identifying Needs, Vulnerabilities and Resources in Refugee Persons and Groups. In An Uncertain Safety (pp. 51-99).Springer, Cham.
  • Whittaker, S., Hardy, G., Lewis, K. and Buchan, L., 2005. An exploration of psychological well-being with young Somali refugee and asylum-seeker women. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 10(2), pp.177-196.


Appendix I

 Research Timetable Chart Appendix I Appendix II

Appendix II

The research rationale is to utilise the developed understanding of different modes and issues of such domestic abuse practices to enable the social care providers to develop effective care provisioning strategies and services. The theme of literature review would be to highlight the differential theoretical constructs as well as social study results through which, the psycho-social conditions related to domestic abuse incidences in the refugee communities within the UK, would be better assessed and related to the current conditions. The focus would be always on the addressing of the care necessities of such victims. The theoretical direction would be indicative of the proposed secondary and primary data analysis based conclusion of the research process and this process would culminate in the formulation of effective research recommendations on part of the Researcher.

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