If we are ever to reduce the number and severity of incidences of domestic abuse we need to do more to reduce its source. A quarter of known perpetrators are thought to be repeat offenders; some have as many as six different abusive relationships. Currently, fewer than 1% of perpetrators get any intervention to disrupt their abuse.
Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse. Services rightly focus on meeting the needs of victims but too often perpetrators are not held to account, and their abusive behaviour continues. Fewer than 1% of perpetrators get a specialist intervention that might prevent future abusive behaviour and as a result there is a high level of repeat victimisation.
Transforming the system of support for those victims and their children at the highest risk of murder or serious harm is not sufficient to stop domestic abuse. We need to develop effective interventions for perpetrators that minimises repeat and serial patterns of abuse - and reduces the social costs of domestic violence.
Why are we doing this?
- 2 women die a week as a result of domestic homicide.
- Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse
- Witnessing domestic abuse causes serious harm to the child
What are we doing?
Drive is a pilot that challenges perpetrators to change their behaviour, while always holding them to account. It is being piloted over 3 years in West Sussex, South Wales and Essex intervening with 900 perpetrators. The programme combines intensive case management with perpetrators alongside local multi-agency interventions to disrupt the abuse. The victim’s safety is paramount throughout the intervention.
Drive case managers work with perpetrators on a one-to-one basis, employing a dual support and challenge strategy. Case managers support perpetrators to address the issues that might contribute to their abusive behaviour, while ensuring they experience the full consequences of the law if they continue to be violent and abusive. Perpetrators receive multi-agency support which is tailored to their needs and risk. This could entail addressing mental health issues, housing and employment support, substance misuse support, and behavioural change support. Victims of the perpetrators are offered support from a domestic violence professional or other caseworkers, for the full period of the Drive intervention.
The Drive Partnership is made up of Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance. It is funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Tudor Trust, Comic Relief and the Police and Crime Commissioners in all three areas. The project has also benefited from local authority support.
The University of Bristol, acting as independent evaluators for the pilot, have now reported on their first year findings from Drive. The aim of their first year’s feasibility study was to determine whether the intervention could be effectively assessed, rather than to create a full evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention. That comprehensive evaluation will be the basis of their work in Year 2 and Year 3.
Read the evaluation here:
- Evaluation of the Drive Project – Year 1 Feasibility Study
- Evaluation of the Drive Project – Year 1 Executive Summary
For additional information, see http://driveproject.org.uk/.