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Today, Drive welcomes the £10million in the Chancellor’s Budget for responding to high-harm and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse

The Drive partnership develops and delivers an intensive intervention that works with high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. Today, we welcome the renewed focus on domestic abuse in the Chancellor’s Budget, which includes £10million for responding to high-harm and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse by extending programmes like Drive.

Director of Drive Kyla Kirkpatrick said:

“This is an important step for the Government as it starts to think more about preventing domestic abuse and tackling violent crime. It is a welcome move towards placing responsibility for domestic abuse where it lies with the perpetrator. Evidence increasingly shows that addressing perpetrator behaviour, when done properly, works. We are pleased that the Government recognises the need for more interventions that protect victims by addressing perpetrators.  

Safe, effective perpetrator work must always go hand in hand with the provision of victim and survivor support. Interventions must be delivered by skilled professionals and meet quality standards to make sure that victims and children are not inadvertently exposed to greater risk and harm. We look forward to working with the Government on the detail of how they will deliver this piece of work and how it fits in with the wider Call to Action for a long term perpetrator strategy for England and Wales and sufficient funding for victims’ services that we and others have called for.”

Quality-assured perpetrator interventions have been shown to be effective – and they can prevent further abuse and protect victims and survivors. The recently published evaluation of Drive project from the University of Bristol found reductions in those who were perpetrating abuse and increased safety for victims and survivors.

We know domestic abuse accounts for a third of all violent crime recorded by the police. An improved response to perpetrators is an important mechanism for addressing this and also what survivors tell us they want to see. In a survey conducted by SafeLives, 80% of survivors thought that perpetrator interventions were a good idea.

A survivor of domestic abuse, said:

“I was his second victim; he had done this before. I am safe, but nothing has been done to prevent the potential of future abuse to other women.”

The announcement follows the publication of a ‘call to action’ signed by over 70 organisations and individuals, including survivors, police and crime commissioners, and academics. The ‘call to action’ asks the Government to publish a perpetrator strategy for England and Wales and calls for investment in a full range of effective, quality-assured perpetrator interventions.

We know that domestic abuse impacts over 2 million people every year in the UK and, according to the Home Office, has an estimated cost of £66bn in health and economic costs for victims and survivors. While this announcement is a positive step in the right direction, we know much more is needed to robustly and comprehensively address domestic abuse.

We look forward to working with the Government and Police and Crime Commissioners on improving the response to domestic abuse.


Notes to Editors 

  • About Drive

Drive is an intensive intervention that aims to make victims and survivors and children safer by working with high-harm and serial perpetrators to challenge behaviour and prevent abuse. The original Drive pilot has been delivered since 2016 in Essex, South Wales, and West Sussex, by the Change Project, Safer Merthyr Tydfil, and DVIP (division of the Richmond Fellowship) and Hampton Trust. In 2018, replication testing began in Croydon, Cardiff, Worcester, and Birmingham and Sandwell, delivered by Rise Mutual, Safer Merthyr Tydfil, Cranstoun, and the Richmond Fellowship. For more information, please visit: http://driveproject.org.uk/

Drive has pioneered an innovative approach to ending domestic abuse, challenging the dominant narrative by asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ instead of ‘why doesn’t she leave?’

The pilot programmes were funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Comic Relief, Tudor Trust and the Police and Crime Commissioners in all three areas. The project has also benefited from Home Office funding and local authority support. The replication sites which launched in 2018, are funded by the Police Transformation Fund, local authorities and PCC support.

The impact of the Drive pilots around the country was assessed through an independent evaluation conducted by the University of Bristol. Key findings from three-years of Drive have shown:

Reduction in abuse. The number of Drive service users perpetrating abuse types reduced as follows:

  • physical abuse reduced by 82%;
  • sexual abuse reduced by 88%,
  • harassment and stalking behaviours reduced by 75%;
  • and jealous and controlling behaviours reduced by 73%.

Reduction of risk: Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), who are trained to work with victims-survivors and assess the level of domestic abuse risk they face, recorded reduction in risk to victims in 82% of cases.

About the call to action

The ‘call to action’ asks for funding for a full range of perpetrator responses, from services for perpetrators who are worried about their own behaviour and might be suitable for group work, to responses for the highest harm perpetrators who often refuse to recognise their abusive behaviour. It also asks for investment in training for a range of public agencies on how to identify and respond to abusive behaviour and support for such agencies to participate in multi-agency risk assessment panels.

Reduction of risk: Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), who are trained to work with victims-survivors and assess the level of domestic abuse risk they face, recorded reduction in risk to victims in 82% of cases.

Drive is a partnership between Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance.

  • About Respect: The main UK membership organisation working with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims and young people. It has developed standards and accreditation and provides training and support to improve responses to adults using violence and abuse in intimate relationships. Respect accreditation is the benchmark for the provision of quality interventions with men who use violence against their female partners.
  • About SafeLives: the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. We work with organisations across the UK to transform the response to domestic abuse. We want what you would want for your best friend. We listen to survivors, putting their voices at the heart of our thinking. We look at the whole picture for each individual and family to get the right help at the right time to make families everywhere safe and well. And we challenge perpetrators to change, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ rather than ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This applies whatever the gender of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship.  Last year alone, nearly 11,000 professionals working on the frontline received our training. Over 65,000 adults at risk of serious harm or murder and more than 85,000 children received support through dedicated multi-agency support designed by us and delivered with partners. In the last three years, over 1,000 perpetrators have been challenged and supported to change by interventions we created with partners, and that’s just the start. Together we can end domestic abuse. Forever. For everyone.
  • About Social Finance: A not-for-profit organisation that partners with the government, social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling social problems in the UK and beyond. It has mobilised £180 million of funding and designed a series of programmes, including the Social Impact Bond model, to tackle social challenges including rehabilitating short sentenced offenders, supporting vulnerable adolescents to avoid being taken into care and helping vulnerable youth access employment. Drive is an initiative of Social Finance’s Impact Incubator. The Impact Incubator is a collaboration between charitable foundations and Social Finance to develop new models in areas of acute social need with the potential for sustainable change at a national level.