About the programme

The Domestic Violence Research Programme

A research programme about violence in close relationships

The Domestic Violence Research Programme is a five year programme at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, financed by The Ministry of Justice and Public Security (regjeringen.no)  (thematic areas 1-3 below) and The Ministry of Education and Research (regjeringen.no) (thematic area 4 below). The programme runs from 2014 to 2024, and the budget is 59 million NOK.

The programme is organized in four thematic areas:

  1. Developmental trends, vulnerability and protection
    Prevalence and vulnerable groups
    Polyvictimization, resilience and mental health
    Violence perpetration among Norwegian adolescents – a study of risk and protective factors
  2. Cultural understandings and underlying causes
    Sexual violence in intimate relationships – definitions and cultural meanings 
    Violence in majority and minority families – similarity and difference
  3. Measures and systems in public and private sector
    Exploring Inter-agency collaboration among services for victims of domestic violence
    A process evaluation of «Project November», a coordinated approach to victims of domestic violence
    What influences attrition in cases of domestic violence?
    Victim support and victim protective measures in the penal process
    Domestic violence: The changing role of NGO
  4. Negative social control and forced marriages
    Young people, sexual morality and social control
    Violence and abuse in a transnational perspective
    Forced marriages and honour based violence: Judicial and extra judicial measures

The research group

The Domestic Violence Research Programme builds on NOVA’s expertise on a broad range of topics related to interpersonal violence. This expertise has been developed through a number of projects that has been carried out by researchers at NOVA over more than 10 years.

Researchers taking part in the domestic violence research programme have  conducted large-scale surveys on the prevalence of violence among children and youth in 2004, 2007 and 2015. Published reports and scientific articles explores risk factors and time trends. Results point towards a general reduction of parental violence but continuity in risk factors for severe parental violence. New to the surveys are the phenomenon of poly-victimization, resilience, perpetration, and links between victimisation and self-harming behaviour.

A range of support services for victims have been studied, including e.g. victim support in penal cases, children’s houses, crisis shelters, support centres for victims of sexual abuse, security alarm, child protection services and multi-agency coordination and how child sexual abuse is handled in the criminal court system.

This research is now moving into analysis of more overarching themes relating for instance to the development of the policy field on violence prevention: framings and understandings, as well as due process of law, issues of implementation, translation and diffusion of measures across countries and forms of violence, violence prevention as risk-management, issues of juridification and penalisation. Comparative perspectives are increasingly employed (e.g. in a forthcoming volume on the implementation of children’s houses in different Nordic countries).

Victims’ interpretation of violence, rape, sexual relations with legal minors and unwanted touching, is a key theme. This research relates violence to cultural understandings of gender, intimacy, sexuality, agency etc. In a new project, these themes are explored using a biographical approach.

Bredal, part of the group since 2015, has conducted research on forced marriages and honour based violence in ethnic minority families, including support services, regulation and policy frameworks.


The programme is led by the following team:

Kari Stefansen (oslomet.no), Research Professor, NOVA, OsloMet

Elisiv Bakketeig (oslomet.no), Senior Researcher, NOVA, OsloMet

Anja Bredal (oslomet.no), Senior Researcher, NOVA, Oslomet


NOVA –Norwegian Social Research (oslomet.no) at the Oslo Metropolitan University (former Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences) is responsible for the research program.

In addition, the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law (jus.uio.no) at the University of Oslo contributes to the program by providing training and scholarship.


The program’s aim is to build up a knowledge and expertise center for research on violence generally and domestic violence in particular. To ensure that the research at the center is disseminated effectively to the students and a new generation of professionals, NOVA has secured valuable cooperation with two education centers on student training. We offer also grants to bachelor students to secure future recruitment to the occupations.

We at NOVA regard it as an important task to create a meeting point for the researchers in the field on a national as well as a Nordic level. A cooperation with the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress would be invaluable in this respect.

As part of their work towards cooperation in research, the research staff at NOVA are going to work with a number of notable research networks, like the recently-established Nordic research network on Children’s House and the Nordic research network on rape, sexual abuse and gray-area offences.

The program has also established national cooperation with the academic community, including the Department of Psychology, the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law and the Department of Public and International Law at the University of Oslo.