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National Institute for Health Research

Qualitative research is helping mental health services develop better ways of identifying and supporting people who are experiencing mental health issues as a result of sexual or domestic abuse.

We’ve worked with mental health practitioners and victims of abuse to find out how mental health services can become more effective at identifying and supporting people with a history of domestic and sexual violence.

NatCen Social Research has a well established team of qualitative experts, which means we’re able to draw on our most highly experienced researchers when carrying out really sensitive research like this, who specialise in research in this area.

In this study, our researchers used what is called a narrative interview technique to talk to people who had experienced abuse and were making use of mental health services.

Using this technique meant survivors could describe at their own pace and in their own words, what their experience of accessing services had been like.

By using this narrative interview technique we helped survivors feel in control of the interview and less like they were undergoing a clinical assessment.

This made it easier for them to recount personal and highly traumatic experiences.