It is often claimed that computer games encourage violence. But the University of Huddersfield is working on a game that aims to reduce domestic violence.
Academics at the university are taking part in joint research aimed at tackling violence at home.
A team headed by social work expert Prof Adele Jones, which includes renowned health care expert Prof Minhua Ma, has been awarded 400,000 euros from the European Union’s Delegation to the Eastern Caribbean Research Programme, Towards a Future Free from Domestic Violence.
The project will investigate domestic violence in the Caribbean countries of Grenada and Barbados. Research will be mirrored in the UK by another member of the team, Gill Kirkman, subject leader in social work at the university’s School of Human and Health Sciences. Also taking part in the project is reader in criminal psychology Dr Daniel Boduszek.
Data will be used to develop an interactive, role-playing computer game designed to educate perpetrators and empower victims.
Prof Jones said: “There is enough evidence to tell us that computer games can generate violence, so what we want to do is look at how we can create an educational tool that might begin to generate empathy – or non-violence.”
The project has been named None-in-Three, derived from the finding that one in three women and girls experience violence in their lives.
“That’s a fairly global statistic but the problem of domestic violence is identified as being particularly acute in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Prof Jones.
The University of Huddersfield will implement the project in partnership with the Grenada-based Sweet Water Foundation and has linked up with the University of the West Indies.
Prof Jones said the research would also focus on vulnerable and marginalised groups of women but she added: “We are also engaging with men and boys finding out their perspectives.
“We need to acknowledge that men and boys are also subject to violence and we need a clear take on their perspectives on what can be done and what kind of changes are needed.”
When the computer game has been developed it will be piloted among groups of young people in the Caribbean. It will be adapted for other countries.