Study Areas

The research is focussing on four groups that may already have been isolated, excluded or marginalised prior to Covid-19. The research is organised into work streams for each of these populations. We recognise there are many overlaps, so we are also seeking to understand shared experiences.

Click the links below to jump to information about each of the groups:

Disabilities and long-term health conditions

Before lockdown, many disabled people experienced a number of barriers in their day to day lives due to inaccessible environments, poor information access, disabling attitudes and limited resources to enable them to live full lives.

Disabled people’s organisations have shown that many of the barriers facing disabled people have increased during lockdown: inaccessible information, digital exclusion, social isolation and further cuts to social care. For many disabled people and those with long term health conditions this has been a difficult time, with difficulties in accessing health and social care, following social distancing and following government guidance to ‘shield’.

We are gathering perspectives of disabled people and those with long term health conditions to understand experiences and consider ways to ensure these groups can have full independent lives.

The team leads for this area are Dr Nicky Burns and Dr Philippa Wiseman.

Domestic abuse and sexual violence victim-survivors

For those who experience domestic abuse or sexual violence, the measures introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19 are likely to compound the risks, anxieties and issues that they face. Access to vital support agencies and safe community spaces may be limited, and criminal justice processes may be delayed. Key agencies including support organisations, the police, prosecutors, health and housing are having to find new ways of providing their services while ensuring the safety and well-being of their own staff and those they seek to protect.

There is an urgent need to understand the needs of those experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence, and to support policy and service responses during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The team leads for this area are Prof. Michele Burman and Dr Oona Brooks Hay.

Imprisonment and criminal justice supervision

Those in prison are already isolated from society, and management of Covid-19 risk has led to further cut-offs from family visits and other activities. Those under community supervision may experience reduced support or face increased exposure complying with licence conditions such as using public transport to meet with social workers. We are gathering the perspectives of those in prison or recently released, those under community supervision and family members and friends of imprisoned people.

The team leads for this area are Dr Marguerite Schinkel and Dr Caitlin Gormley.

Refugees, asylum seekers and destitution-facing populations

For people in the asylum process, refugees and people who have been made destitute with no recourse to public funds, third sector and community groups provide a lifeline, offering a wide range of essential information and support services and safe community spaces that are directly impacted by social distancing measures and emergency responses. The shutdown of essential face-to-face services and supports and switch to online provision will likely exacerbate the inequalities vulnerablised populations already face. Social distancing, isolation and shielding raise significant challenges and risks around accessibility to and quality of information, guidance and support.

We urgently need to understand how COVID-19 is impacting on the everyday experiences and social health and well-being outcomes for people in the asylum process and is shaping and will continue to shape third sector responses during and after the pandemic.

The team leads for this area are Dr Gareth Mulvey and Dr Teresa Piacentini.

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