The initiative for the study came originally from the Homelessness and Addictions Research Liaison Group of the Department of Health and Social Security. In 1975 the Report from the Select Committee on Violence in Marriage had emphasised the lack of knowledge about this problem: 'The whole of the enquiry is being limited by the remarkable paucity of information about domestic violence' (Select Committee Report, 1975, xxiii). The Committee stressed the urgent need for research and hoped that 'the D.H.S.S. will hold more multi-disciplinary conferences, meetings and discussions, so that those with expertise can pool and publicise what knowledge is available' (xxiv). In the following years the Department funded a number of studies which investigated different aspects of the problem (see Dawson and Faragher, 1977; Delamont and Ellis, 1979; Dobash and Dobash, 1979; Dobash and Dobash, 1980; Elsey, 1980; Leonard and McLeod, 1980; Murch, 1981).