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Computer Game Being Designed to Combat Domestic Violence

None In Three team

None In Three team members, L – R: Minhua Ma, Adele Jones, and Gill Kirkman (University of Huddersfield)

15 January 2016. Social scientists and designers in the U.K. are developing a computer game to teach empathy and non-violence in family relationships. The game, for use in the Caribbean and the U.K., is funded by a €400,000 ($US 434,000) grant from the European Commission.

The funding, from the EU’s delegation to the Eastern Caribbean Research Programme, supports an initial study by social scientists at University of Huddersfield in the Caribbean countries of Grenada and Barbados, as well as the U.K. The research will investigate patterns of domestic violence in the three countries.

The project, known as None in Three, will then translate the research findings into an interactive, role-playing computer game. The game will be designed to educate and influence attitude change among potential perpetrators of family violence, and empower those at risk of becoming victims. The name None in Three comes from the often-cited statistic that one-in-three women and girls experience violence in their lives.

Adele Jones, a social work professor at Huddersfield, is leading the team. Jones previously conducted research in several Caribbean countries and was on the faculty at University of the West Indies in Jamaica. She says that the problem of domestic violence is particularly acute in Latin America and the Caribbean. Jones notes in a university statement, “There is enough evidence to tell us that computer games can generate violence,” adding, “what we want to do is look at how we can create an educational tool that might begin to generate empathy, or non-violence.”

Gill Kirkman, also a social work professor at Huddersfield, will conduct a similar study in the U.K. The project is aided by digital media designer Minhua Eunice Ma and criminal psychologist Daniel Boduszek. Ma, on the faculty in Huddersfield’s school of art, design, and architecture, specializes in the design of serious games that aim to bring about improvements in fields such as health care and education.

The university plans to implement the game working with the Sweetwater Foundation. The foundation provides therapies and training to counter child sexual abuse worldwide, with operations in Grenada and Toronto.

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