Barriers to domestic violence education in Northern Ireland: Pupils' views and experiences

Stephanie Maguire, Maria Pentaraki

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Domestic violence (DV) in adult and young people's intimate partner relationships is a social and public health problem across the globe. Education can play an important and unique role in addressing DV; however, it remains relatively under‐investigated. The aim of this qualitative study set in Northern Ireland, the first of its kind, was to explore young people's views and experiences of DV education. Focus groups were conducted with 188 pupils (97 males and 91 females) aged 16 to 18 attending post‐primary school. The data were analysed using thematic analysis and reveal five barriers to DV education: (1) absence of DV teaching and learning; (2) DV is a taboo topic; (3) lack of teacher training and expertise on DV; (4) religious influence; (5) prioritisation of academic achievement over pupil wellbeing. The results demonstrate that changes are needed in schools to improve the role of schools in addressing DV. From this qualitative study, we make recommendations for how school‐based DV education may help prevent and protect young people against intimate partner violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-612
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 13 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland. We thank the schools, staff and students for their participation in this project. The work was carried out at Queen's University Belfast.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. British Educational Research Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.


  • domestic violence education
  • post‐primary school
  • relationships and sexuality education
  • young people


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