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Restart initiative launches across 5 London Boroughs

Restart, a new domestic abuse service being launched across 5 London boroughs from November 2021, is aiming to keep families safe at home by responding more effectively to the person causing harm. The pilot project has been designed to address two major gaps in current provision:

  1. Training and supporting children’s social care teams to recognise patterns of abusive behaviour as early as possible, ensure specialist support for victims and respond directly to the person causing harm before abuse continues or escalates.
  2. Support for housing teams in the development of new approaches to domestic abuse and family safety. This includes, where appropriate, access to accommodation pathways for the person causing harm in order to keep families safe at home whilst creating space for action and change.

Multi-agency working has been repeatedly highlighted as paramount to effective interventions with perpetrators of domestic abuse and keeping victims safe[1],[2]. Restart will harness this to prevent continued abuse and increase the safety for the whole family. The pilot will use specialist domestic abuse services to ensure access to dedicated support for victims and provide behaviour change intervention for perpetrators. Alongside this, Restart will provide specialist ‘Safe & Together’ training for social workers to enable them to confidently identify perpetrators and support families. It will also support housing teams in the design and implementation of safe accommodation models for perpetrators and pathways centred on keeping victims safe.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of Drive said:

“We believe that domestic abuse is not acceptable or inevitable. Restart will shift the focus from primarily expecting the victim to shoulder the burden of responsibility to ‘be a better parent’ onto perpetrators taking responsibility for their behaviour, expecting them to make a change and supporting them in this change. We must do all we can to make sure that families can stay safe in their own homes.” 

The pilot, delivered by Respect, SafeLives, Social Finance, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) and Cranstoun, will build on learning and development from a Covid-19 emergency response to domestic abuse that was trialled in London in 2020/21. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Home Office have provided £900,000 of funding for an initial year of delivery in Camden, Croydon, Havering, Sutton and Westminster.

At a recent launch event, speakers from across the partner organisations involved in Restart discussed how perpetrator work is of growing importance in the implementation of the MOPAC VAWG strategy and emphasised the need to be bold in challenging the status quo when it comes to interventions for perpetrators of domestic abuse.

[1] https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/police-response-to-violence-against-women-and-girls/

[2] http://driveproject.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/HT-Building-a-robust-response-to-perpetrators-recommendations-for-the-new-Domestic-Abuse-Strategy-080921.pdf