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.
- Two 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
As a partnership, Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance, recognised and designed a programme to address a gap in work with high-harm perpetrators, which launched in 2016. The partnership’s expertise in domestic abuse, perpetrator interventions, and a research-led approach to solving social problems resulted in the creation of Drive. Drive is focused on holding perpetrators of domestic abuse to account, making victims, survivors, their children and wider families safer.
The pilot sites in Essex, South Wales, and West Sussex are jointly funded by Police and Crime Commissioners, Local Authorities, The Police Innovation Fund, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Tudor Trust, and Comic Relief. In the two years of the pilot, Drive has worked with over 616 perpetrators, 656 victims/survivors, and closed 317 cases.
Drive 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. 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 interim findings from two years of delivery are highly encouraging and clearly indicate that Drive is working to increase victim safety, reduce harm from the perpetrator, and improve multi-agency co-operation and information sharing. The full University of Bristol evaluation in autumn 2018 will further contextualise these findings, expanding on analysis to develop even more learnings.
With additional funding from the Police Transformation Fund and local areas, Drive is now being expanded and replicated into five sites. Each new site will bring their own understanding and requirements to the work while adhering to the Drive model; for example, the Croydon team want to look at the co-incidence of domestic abuse and gang involvement.
For additional information, see http://driveproject.org.uk/.