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National Systems Change 

The Drive Partnership is working across the domestic abuse specialist sector, public sector partners and beyond to develop sustainable, national systems in England and Wales that respond effectively to all perpetrators of domestic abuse. Our vision is that one day there will be a national approach which sees agencies in all PCC and local authority areas across England and Wales working together with a focus on those who cause harm, the perpetrators, to disrupt abuse and change behaviour, increasing safety for victims-survivors, children and families.

With our current grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, we are focusing on four key systemic gaps as well as workforce development, and our influencing work.

To do this we bring together the experiences and insights of survivors, service users, practitioners, specialist organisations, researchers and policy makers to influence developing the national response to those causing harm.

Children’s Social Care

Children’s Social Care (CSC) are a key partner in the multi-agency coordinated response to domestic abuse. In this systemic gap our key aim is changing policy and practice within CSC and statutory services to include engaging with and responding to the perpetrators, to enable better outcomes for victim-survivors and children.

To explore this gap, we worked with Research in Practice to explore CSC responses to perpetrators of DA. This included a literature review and focus groups with survivors, social workers and children’s sector leads.

Research in Practice produced resources outlining learning and recommendations which you can access here.

Following this, we are working on taking forward the key areas identified.

“All of the load and responsibility seems to be put on the mother, even though that is only part of the story. Going back to the perpetrator behaviour – what are they going to do about that? Which is often nothing!” survivor quote from Research in Practice focus group

Housing

Housing is fundamental when managing perpetrator risk to victim-survivors. However, a lack of risk managed housing pathways for perpetrators often presents a risk to the safety, leaving victim-survivors with few options other than to flee, leaving behind their home, possessions and local connections.

To explore this gap, we have been working with DAHA (Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance) and a broad alliance of voluntary and statutory sector representatives to build the case for why more formalised perpetrator housing support and pathways are needed to keep victims safe and prevent further abuse.

Our work to date has included:

  • Engagement with DA perpetrator services and housing practitioners on the role of housing in managing risk and safety, existing barriers and opportunities for change.
  • Policy and public affairs work to raise awareness and lobby for cross-system change, including engagement with MHCLG 
  • Secretariat and members of the re-established DAHA Perpetrators and Housing Working Group
  • Developed a Covid-19 emergency response trial with MOPAC, providing early intervention and accommodation support to families living with DA
  • Further developed the trial to launch Restart – a multi-agency CSC and Housing pilot working across 5 London Boroughs

“Keep me in the home, for my mental health and my son’s mental health. When the police got involved, they didn’t let me know what they’d done with him, I was just moved even though I didn’t want to.”

LGBT+

Currently there is limited specialist intervention for perpetrators from LGBT+ communities. To understand this gap, we have been exploring current practice and interventions in perpetrator services, any specialist intervention in LGBT+ services, and looking at the current data and research base.

We have identified a number of development areas and are planning to bring together key stakeholders to explore the options and opportunities for addressing these gaps through a collaborative approach.

Racialised Communities

Harm and abuse disproportionately impact people from Black and minoritised communities. There is a limited UK evidence base on programmes working with those using abusive behaviours in their relationships, and even less evidence on effective and culturally appropriate responses for people from racialised communities.

To explore this gap, we supported a research project by University of Suffolk and HOPE Training and Consultancy which explored responses to family and intimate relationship harm within Black and minority ethnic communities.

Using the recommendations from this research we identified these key priorities to start to address the issues raised:

  • Workforce and leadership development programme
  • Review of literature to identify evidence and best practice for working with those who harm from racialised communities
  • Mapping of current culturally specific interventions
  • Research and scoping of effective practice in both mainstream and specialist services
  • Development of referral pathways, commissioning models and quality assured interventions

We are working with a consortium led by HOPE Training & Consultancy to develop a workforce and leadership development programme.

We have undertaken a review of literature on culturally responsive and specific interventions and are developing next steps.

Workforce Development

We provide workforce training and development to build capability and capacity across the wider ecosystem of voluntary and statutory services.

To date this has included delivering bespoke training to Integrated Offender Management teams, Police teams, Children’s Social Care and health. We have also delivered webinars agencies such as mental health teams to support increased understanding of perpetrators and how to respond.

We worked with IRISi initially to support development of their internal training programme. From this we then worked together to develop training for GPs in identifying domestic abuse perpetrators. For sustainability we developed a train the trainer session for over 100 IRISi Advocate Educators who cover 40 IRISi sites across the country.

Our webinars to mental health teams have led to improved recognition of domestic abuse perpetration:

Thank you so much for today – my phone has been ringing since and one of the Consultants has identified a seriously high risk perpetrator.. so who knows, you may just have saved his wife’s life with your training!!”