Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence rated as one of the best online courses of 2019

Parveen Ali

An online course written and designed by Dr Parveen Ali has been announced as one of the top 30 MOOCs of 2019.

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence has been rated one of the best free online courses of 2019 by Class Central, a search engine and reviews site for free online courses. Class Central looked at 2,400 new courses published on online educational platforms such as Coursera, Edx and FutureLearn last year.

The course aims to help those in professional support roles identify the signs of domestic abuse and guide those at risk through the network of help that is available. Although designed to support health and social care workers, the course is open to anyone who may come into contact with a vulnerable person or victim of domestic abuse.

Since the course first launched on 25 November 2019, it has received more than 2,600 enrolments. In a post-course survey, 93 per cent of learners said they had gained new knowledge or skills from taking the course, 76 per cent have shared this new knowledge with other people and 50 per cent had been able to apply this knowledge in their own lives or professions.

The course was written and designed by Dr Parveen Ali from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, alongside learning technologist Jesrine Clarke-Darrington. It was produced by Laura Giles and Dave Holloway from the University’s Digital Learning Team and also includes a wide range of contributions from Sheffield-based professionals who are all involved in supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse, from doctors and social workers to members of the police and independent advocates.

The course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means health and social care workers can use it as evidence of their continuing professional development.

Feedback from course participants has been extremely positive. For instance, one learner commented: "I really learnt a lot from the educators, DVA is a global issue yet most of us know so little about it, I can safely say I am the better for it after taking this course. I am better informed to support and assist persons in my community to seek help on DVA. I am better informed about the signs of DVA. I am really glad I took this course. Thanks once more to the educators. You guys rock."

Dr Ali is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, she is also Lead of the University of Sheffield Interpersonal Violence Research Group. Her research focuses on gender-based violence/domestic violence, inequalities in health related to gender and ethnicity, and health experiences of minority ethnic communities.

Dr Ali said: "I am passionate about developing effective online activities that facilitate learning. I designed this course to provide professionals with an effective, interactive and short resource that they can use to enhance their understanding about DVA and how a victim can be supported. I wanted to make sure that such a resource is widely and freely accessible to people and FutureLearn provided such a platform.

"Our fantastic Digital Learning Team are experienced in developing such courses with FutureLearn. It was a good opportunity to share knowledge and understanding I gained from my research over the past few years. I am delighted with the success of the course and the fact that people found it very useful and felt that they can use the learning to improve their practice."

Parveen's research into domestic violence and abuse and her work with frontline healthcare professionals and victims of domestic violence and abuse was also the driving force behind an interactive board game to enhance training for student healthcare professionals on the topic of domestic violence and abuse. The Domestic Abuse Training Game is commercially available for any organisation that has a need to train frontline professionals on how to approach and support potential victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence runs again from Monday 9 March 2020 to coincide with International Women’s Day (8 March).

Sign up for the course