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Ongoing research projects

Research projects at BPAS are monitored by BPAS Research and Ethics Committee (REC), a sub-committee of the Clinical Governance Committee.

  • The role of the REC is to examine all proposals for research, audits or service evaluation involving clients, or materials derived from clients, which are to be carried out within BPAS units or with BPAS staff, and to ensure that such activities conform to generally accepted ethical principles and standards. The committee also provides advice on ethical issues that affect BPAS. Click to read BPAS’ Research and Ethics Committee Terms of Reference.
  • BPAS Research and Ethics Committee is a member of the Association of Research and Ethics Committees (AREC) and the National Research and Ethics Service reference group.

View our ongoing research projects below

Reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA) has been defined as attempts to control pregnancy through interference, abuse, threats and violence. RCA can take different forms, including interfering with birth control, and threats and physical violence aimed at influencing the commencement, continuation, or termination of a pregnancy. RCA typically overlaps with other forms of abuse - such as trafficking, child sexual exploitation (CSE), and domestic abuse. Although recognition of RCA in the UK is increasing among policy actors and relevant practitioners, cross-learning between healthcare professionals and those working in the gender-based violence sector is currently under-developed.

Led by Dr Pam Lowe (Aston University), this project will undertake research to identify, analyse and disseminate knowledge relating to RCA, drawing on both national and international expertise. It aims to facilitate cross-learning, and build innovative responses to RCA to support reproductive health services, with a particular focus on innovation, service development, and learning from the recent introduction of telemedical services in abortion care. It will also establish a practice-oriented network on RCA of national and international policy actors, healthcare and gender-based violence professionals, and academics to support future knowledge exchange, ensuring self-sustaining developments in best practice after the fellowship is completed.

It has been funded through the British Academy Innovation Fellowship Scheme (2021-22).

The Responses to Alcohol and Pregnancy Policy (RAPP) project is a collaboration between the CRRC and the University of Southampton, funded by the Public Policy|Southampton New Things Fund. The research team includes Rachel Arkell (CRRC), Professor Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton) and Rebecca Brione. The project aims to understand the impact of the introduction of mandatory alcohol screening from the perspective of midwives based in the U.K. The project has two stages: an anonymous survey, followed by a focus group.

The anonymous survey is now closed to responses.

The focus group is open to qualified midwives working in the UK and will discuss antenatal alcohol screening. If you would take part in the focus group, or to find out more, please contact: f.woollard@soton.ac.uk 

The CRRC is collaborating with researchers at the University of Brighton who are UK leads for a WHO-funded project to assess the contraception, abortion/post-abortion care, STIs (including HIV) and violence against women (VAW) services available at local health facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CRRC team and Professor Lesley Hoggart (Open University) are interviewing BPAS clients who've had more than one abortion - one with an ultrasound scan and one without. This qualitative research aims to understand the experiences and opinions of women who have undergone telemedical abortion without a pre-procedure ultrasound during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CRRC team and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) are collaborating on this survey to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people’s choices surrounding fertility-related intentions, abortion, and pregnancy choices. Knowledge gained from the study may shed light on how pandemics impact pregnancy choices, allowing us to better prepare and meet the needs of people in similar situations in the future.

Following BPAS’ submissions (first submissionsecond submission) to the NICE Quality Standards FASD Consultation, with CPCS, the project After Choice: FASD and 'the managed woman' was formed. 

This project takes policies, guidance and healthcare practices about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as its focus. It builds on previous research considering the ascendence of claims about the salience of the ‘precautionary principle’ for providing advice to women about alcohol and pregnancy. The full paper can be read here or a short briefing is available here

This project is a collaboration between Professor Ellie Lee (University of Kent) and CRRC’s Rachel Arkell. For more information please see the project webpage

The CRRC has further formed the ‘Alcohol and Pregnancy Research Network’ which welcomes academics and policy makers working in this area. Contact us for more information or to join the network.

We are collaborative partners with the University of Kent on the SeNSS PhD project: Communicating the risk of taking medicines to (potentially) pregnant women post-Montgomery: a socio-legal exploration which is being undertaken by Rachel Arkell.

We are working with researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the SACHA study.

The objectives of this project are to:

  • collate, synthesise and summarise recent evidence for innovative models of abortion care with the potential to enhance access, quality of experience and cost-effectiveness
  • explore the potential for beneficial and harmful consequences of current trends in abortion provision and identify implementation strategies to harness positive outcomes of current developments and mitigate adverse outcomes
  • assess the potential of General Practitioners (GPs) and non-clinician providers in abortion provision, their education and training needs and their views on innovations in care
  • elicit women’s views on current experiences of abortion and on preferences for abortion techniques, models of care and sources of support
  • consult decision-makers on the range of innovative abortion practices and procedures and on the potential feasibility, acceptability and sustainability of their adoption in UK health services and systems.

This project aims to gain an understanding of the views and questions women have about alcohol and pregnancy as raised in online peer support forums. This aim is of particular importance given the recent UK press coverage of an emerging policy framework on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The project is funded by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and is a collaboration with Dr Lisa Schölin (PI, University of Edinburgh).

In addition to these research projects we undertake several internal service evaluations per year, which are sometimes published and shared externally. If you’re interested in discussing these please get in touch: research@bpas.org

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Collaborate with us

If you are a student or a researcher with a project you would like to undertake and looking for a host organisation, do get in touch.

We have previously accepted students and fellows from Imperial College London, Kent University, Sussex University, Princeton University, Harvard Law School and Yale Law School.

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Research Projects

Read more about our ongoing, completed and collaborative research.

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Awards, grants and prizes

The Heather Trickey Essay Prize

This prize encourages work reflecting the contribution and commitment of Dr Heather Trickey to finding common ground in the field of women’s reproductive health and women’s rights.

By bringing together those of differing perspectives, we’ll develop innovative, practical policy solutions to difficult problems.

Peter Huntingford Memorial Prize

BPAS has endowed the Peter Huntingford Memorial Prize to mark the late Professor Peter Huntingford’s contribution to obstetrics and gynaecology. 

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CRRC Resource Centre

Learn about our research by reading publications and research briefings.

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Find out about upcoming and past events at the CRRC.

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