CORDIS - EU research results

Virtual Environments for Rehabilitation of Gender Violence Offenders

Project description

Domestic violence offenders become ‘virtual’ victims

Violence against women is a global pandemic that has or will affect one in three women in their lifetime. Intimate-partner violence against women is most prevalent. Even though domestic violence constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights, it goes unreported and offenders go undetected. Research into offenders shows they are usually unable to recognise fear in a woman’s face. The EU-funded VRespect.Me project will use the immersive virtual reality method to alter the socio-perceptual processes that motivate the aggressive behaviours of abusive men. The project will be deployed in Catalonia where abusive men will virtually take the role of a woman who is on the receiving end of abuse. The aim is to help such men build empathy and stop the cycle of abuse.


Domestic violence (DV) is a silent, prevalent, serious and preventable human rights abuse. Globally, 38% of all murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. 30% of women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime, with 8% of women over the age of 15 reporting that they have suffered DV in the previous year.

Our Solution
VRespect.Me is an immersive Virtual Reality experience that puts the DV offender in the place of the victim. The work is based on the very latest scientific research in cognitive neuroscience that has found that immersive Virtual Reality experiences can modify the socioperceptual processes that underlie the aggressive behaviours exhibited by perpetrators of DV. Research shows that abusive men typically have an inability to recognize fear in a woman’s face. But in our study, using the VRespect.Me male domestic-violence offenders who embodied the verbally abused woman got significantly better at recognizing a woman’s fear. Essentially, they become more empathic. And a lack of empathy is one of the primary causes of domestic violence.
VRespect.Me is currently being used to rehabilitate domestic violence offenders in Catalonia.
In phase 1 we will:
- Demonstrate the prototype to stakeholders across Europe and beyond.
- Build a road map to bring the VRespect.Me to the market
- Map the stakeholder environment Understand the different purchasing mechanisms in the field of rehabilitation of domestic violence offenders in different European markets
- Identify the key target markets, develop a commercial strategy and update the business plan

The Market: European governments spend an estimated 72 billion euros on the impact of domestic violence, with the overall cost to society an estimated 256 billion euros. VR is a booming industry, with the VR healthcare market estimated to reach 4billion euros by 2025. With VRespect.Me as our first product, we aim to position Virtual Bodyworks at the forefront of this fast-growing sector.

Call for proposal


See other projects for this call

Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
08015 Barcelona

See on map


The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00