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New project in Brazil tries to change norms and behaviour of violent men


Most attempts to prevent intimate partner violence involve women as it is difficult to get the men to participate. In a new research project economist Joe Vecci and his colleagues will involve the male perpetrators to change their norms and violent behaviour.

What is the project about?

"One in three women worldwide report being victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, and according to the WHO the countries with the highest rates of domestic violence are from the developing world. While a number of countries are attempting to combat violence within the household, most interventions that aim to reduce domestic violence target women, mostly because it is challenging to get men to participate. We have teamed up with the judicial branch in Northern Brazil to investigate to what extent and why a long term education programme with domestic violence perpetrators, targeting their violent behaviour, and/or an empowerment programme with their victims influences recidivism, norms, re-victimization, and the general prevalence of intimate partner violence", says Joe Vecci.

How are you going to conduct your research?

"In Ceara, Brazil there are over 14,000 men who have been charged with domestic violence in the last three years. There is currently no capacity within the state to reeducate perpetrators in order to change their behaviour and reduce recidivism. For this reason, the judicial branch of Ceara has allowed us to randomly assign perpetrators to different reeducation programs run by Brazilian NGO's. Simultaneously, we are working with the largest NGO working on domestic violence in Brazil to conduct female empowerment programmes with victims."

What do you hope will come out of this project?

"We hope that we can improve the effectiveness of the government intervention. If the programme is effective we hope to scale up both the male and female interventions in other parts of Brazil. We are currently in discussion with judiciaries in Goiás and Brasilia."

About the project:

Title: The project "Addressing Intimate Partner Violence: Evaluation Interventions with Male Perpetrators vs Female Victims"
Duration: November 2019-2022
Investigators: Sonia  Bhalotra (University of Essex), Pietro Biroli (University of Zurich), Karlijn Morsink (Utrecht University), Jose Carvalho (Universidade Federal do Ceará), and Joe Vecci (University of Gothenburg)
Place: Ceara, a Northern state of Brazil.
Funding: USD 177,000 from Innovations for Poverty Action and SEK 500,000 from Adlerbert Foundation