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What makes studying Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence PG CERT & Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules [ONLINE] special?

Due to the incidence and dominance of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (DASV) within society and the wider global community, practitioners and researchers across all disciplines are frequently required to respond to the needs of victims/survivors and the risks presented by perpetrators of abuse. During the course, you will be introduced to a wide range of theoretical perspectives to help your understanding of DASV, including the gendered nature of DASV, and the diversity of victims and survivors in terms of issues such as sexual orientation, disabilities, age and different cultural contexts.

The course and the CPD modules will also focus on the recognition and responses to violence and its impact, in addition to risk assessment and working with perpetrators of abuse. The PG Cert and the CPD modules consider a range of theoretical perspectives from the academic disciplines of psychology, criminology, sociology, education and public health. You will have the opportunity to meet and study online with a range of students from various professional and practitioner perspectives, which provides an enriching and enhanced learning experience.

This online delivery will appeal to students who would prefer the option of studying around personal and professional commitments. We are also keen to promote the online programme to international students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to study this subject.

For further information on the Online PG Certificate and CPD module dates for 2024/25 you can download our PG Cert/PG Dip/MA in Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence MA.



Key features

  • Providing you with a stimulating and challenging learning environment in which you can engage in individual and collective examination with other students of the dynamics of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (DSV).
  • Promoting your engagement with the programme through commitment to an inclusive ethos of learning with other students.
  • Developing your understanding of the complex needs of different service user groups and how to respond to their needs appropriately and safely
  • Encouraging you to examine and interrogate national and international policy and provision in prevention and intervention strategies for DSV.
  • Enabling your development of critical reflective and ethical practice in professional and research contexts.

What will this qualification mean for you?

Many of the students studying the various academic awards from the MA Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence are currently employed in the sector or related professional disciplines. The students who have graduated from the programme over the last seven years have used their qualification for a promotion within their agency, there has also been significant and positive trends of postgraduate students acquiring positions as Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) within the sector or acquiring roles within the police as specialist advisors on Domestic Violence.

Our Online PG Cert in Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence and the CPD modules will prepare you for a range of careers working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, including:

  • Violence prevention and interventions
  • Victim support for survivors of abuse
  • Working with abuse perpetrators
  • Working with adults, young people or children in domestic abuse support roles
  • Becoming involved in further academic study and research
  • Social justice activism and public awareness raising on violence and its impact.

Please note that this course of study should not be considered as a means of recovery or healing from recent trauma and abuse. In such instances, we would encourage every victim and survivor of abuse and trauma to seek counselling and therapeutic support.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Prospective students will be required to have

  • A relevant first degree gained at a 2.1 (or equivalent level) in a health related or social science discipline, or similar subject discipline
  • A relevant professional qualification and experience, including but not exclusively, Social Work, Police, Probation, Health and Education
  • Current or past experience (a minimum of six months) of working with victims or perpetrators of Domestic and Sexual Violence.


Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requirements

You will not be required to provide DBS clearance as a student in the UK as there is no Work Based Learning module on this programme. However, where relevant and for the purpose of research with service users in your workplace, this requirement should have already been met by your employer. If you are a student who is not employed but may want to conduct research with service users, then you may be required to apply for DBS or an Enhanced DBS clearance to satisfy the requirements of the host organisation. The fee for DBS clearance will be met by you in this instance.

Other information

As an applicant you may be required to attend for interview, this can be via attending in person, MS Teams/Zoom or telephone.

Recognition of Prior Experience and Learning (RPEL)

Students with relevant previous experience of study at postgraduate level or relevant extensive practice experience may be considered eligible for recognition of prior experience and learning. You would be required to provide evidence of your interest in the subject of DSV, and evidence of relevant training you have received and/or delivered, this is in keeping with your CPD. This also includes evidence of your attendance at relevant conference events, your engagement with professional supervision and the training or mentoring of other less experienced staff. You would also be required to offer evidence of leading good practice in your professional context and contributing to aspects of policy provision to enhance your agency’s service provision. You can contact the Admissions Tutor for more guidance on this aspect of your application.

The IELTS score for international applicants is 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in component). Other English Language qualifications will be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or

Course content

Course content

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender, Violence and Interpersonal Relationships

Module code: DSVM4001

In this module, we explore a range of theories that have been applied to the issues of domestic and sexual violence - ranging from feminist explanations of violence against women, to social learning theories which focus on the family environment, to biological explanations that explain violence according to the psychology of the offender.

Recognition, Responses and Impact of Violence

Module code: DSVM4002

In this module we look at the impact of domestic and sexual violence on victims and the costs of violence to our society. The module is designed to examine the impact of violence from a range of cultural perspectives, which will also focus on faith and spiritual beliefs providing students with an in depth critical awareness of the multiple costs of domestic and sexual violence.

Public Health Responses to Violence and Managing Perpetrators

Module code: DSVM4004

In this module we look at perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence and the work that is being done to try and prevent these forms of violence in our societies. The module will critically analyse perpetration and interventions within social and culturally specific contexts and explore implications for good practice in relation to prevention; enabling students to develop a critical understanding of legislation, policy and practice.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


There is an emphasis on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) on your programme as this is an online course. Your teaching will include a range of interactive lectures, individual, paired and group work. There is a focus on taught skills and assessment skills and problem-solving scenarios which reflect the realities of inter-disciplinary working within the DASV sector. The programme will comprise 3 online teaching blocks for each of the two modules you will study for the PG Cert award and there will be a series of 6 online learning activities (OLAs) for you to complete between each of the modular teaching blocks. The OLAs will typically comprise learning online interactive discussion fora, case studies, narrated video/lectures, other video materials and directed readings for your reflection and online discussion.

As a student on this online programme there is an expectation on your abilities to self-organise and to commit to your independent study. However, you will have access to your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) to support your development and confidence through your course of study. You would be required to arrange virtual meetings with your PAT on average twice within each academic semester.

Contact time

Each module is delivered via online three teaching blocks with the academic tutorial team, in addition to online learning activities. You are expected to engage with the online learning sessions that are made available between teaching blocks. These sessions equate to 66 hours of learning over the duration of the module. The online Student Conference is an annual event and as a student of the you will be encouraged to attend, so that you can participate within the wider community of learners and practitioners of the MA programme.

Class sizes of the PG Cert programme may vary from 10 to 15 students which promotes a positive learning environment in getting to know the other students and the lecturers within the virtual classroom.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, part-time students are expected to undertake around 8 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve preparing directed readings for online lectures and engaging in the prepared OLAs in between the scheduled teaching blocks.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching staff

Your teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and all of our course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include essays, report writing and individual presentations.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

What our students say

“As a practitioner in the field with over a decade of experience I have found the course to be a real asset and strongly believe that it has improved my knowledge and practice. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who has an interest in the area of domestic and sexual abuse.”

“The course has far exceeded my expectations. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable and the content has expanded my professional practice to a considerable degree. I have been challenged to think differently about the historical roots and social impact of domestic and sexual violence and cannot recommend the course more highly.”

“For me the course has given me more confidence to support the young people I work with, in terms of relationship issues. I have a more thorough understanding of the support available in my area and how to help young people access this. The course itself has been well run, with supportive staff who are always at the end of the phone or email to answer queries and are always happy to help. I have very much enjoyed my time at Worcester and hope to continue onto to a PhD program in the near future.”

"This course has given me the confidence to evaluate and alter my own professional practice as well as constructively challenge working practices within my own organisation. This has enabled me to develop best practice and become a more well-rounded practitioner which has greatly benefited my client group."

‘’The course has challenged what I thought I knew and tutors have sensitively delivered material that has taken me out of my comfort zone. The diverse skills and knowledge in the group has enriched the learning and supported my development, my thinking and working practice.’’

‘’This course has grown me as an academic, professional and as a person. There is no other university where I would wish to undertake this research due to the excellent quality of teaching available and it has been a privilege to be taught by such a wealth of experience and knowledge’’.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment please download our programme specification 

Meet the Academic Teaching Team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team include:

Claire McLoone

Dr Claire McLoone-Richards

Claire has a lively interest in human rights issues, particularly regarding the rights of children. Claire attended the 60th Session on the Commission of Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva when she campaigned for a world moratorium on the death penalty, which also affects children in other countries who could be executed for crimes through an adult court system.

Prior to working in academia, she developed and implemented a multi-agency strategy for dealing with domestic abuse concerns in Worcestershire; this enabled the development of a co-ordinated agency response to addressing domestic abuse. Claire was a key representative for the Worcestershire Forum in public awareness campaigns and she has had considerable positive contact with local media as part of campaign and public awareness-raising.

Her previous experience of partnership working evolved a legacy of useful connecting links with the West Mercia Criminal Justice Board; Worcestershire Crime and Disorder Partnership and particularly as a contributor to the Multi-Agency Public Protection Panel, offering expert opinion in the context of risk assessment of vulnerable children and adults living with domestic abuse, substance misuse and other issues which can impact on parenting and caring for children. Claire was Chair of the Association for England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN), now known as the AoCPP.

beverly gilbert

Dr Beverley Gilbert

Beverley has over 30 years of experience working within the criminal justice system. She was a Police Officer in Birmingham deployed in various uniform and plain clothes roles, including in plain clothes surveillance roles and as a Detective Family Protection Officer. As a Probation Officer, Beverley worked with individuals who posed a high risk of causing harm, including perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence. She was a semi specialist officer working with custodial cases, including those serving Life and Indeterminate Sentence prisoners. Beverley has been a sessional Expert Domestic Violence Risk Assessor for London based DViP and the Family Courts in the London and Greater London areas.



Our Domestic and Sexual Violence degree will prepare you for a range of careers working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, including: 

  • Violence prevention
  • Victim support for survivors of abuse
  • Working with abuse perpetrators
  • Working with adults, young people or children in domestic abuse support roles

You will develop a range of skills on this course that should have an immediate and positive impact on your professional role.

For those who would like to start working in the areas of domestic or sexual violence, your increased knowledge and skill-set should prepare you for future job applications.

For those already working in this sector, you will enhance your ability to critically reflect on your professional practice and make valuable contributions to service improvement.


Fees and funding

Part-time tuition fees

UK students

The standard tuition fees for part-time home students enrolling on the course in the academic year 2024/25 is £1,500 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

How to apply

How to apply

Application advice

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 or

Claire McLoone-Richards is the Course Admissions tutor and she would love to hear from you if you would like to know more about the course and if you are interested in becoming a student on this excellent programme.

You can email Claire directly at

Get in touch

Dr Claire McLoone-Richards

Course Leader

Dr Beverley Gilbert

Admissions Tutor