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Drive responds to the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

The Drive Partnership is really pleased to see a determination threaded through the new Government Violence Against Women And Girls Strategy to address the problem at source.

We hope this determination will be matched with funding to make change happen through the comprehensive spending review.

We particularly welcome the proposed communication campaign to tackle misogyny and the acknowledgment there needs to be investment in extending the availability of quality perpetrator programmes. Victims voice and experience must be at the heart of the planning of this.

We would have liked to see proposals on using a fuller range of public services to identify and reduce the risk posed by perpetrators.

The strategy is currently heavily reliant on the criminal justice system in this regard and all the data shows that the vast majority of cases are not reported to the police – and in some of these cases there is a threat to life. If we rely solely on policing as the gateway to perpetrator responses, then sadly the current status quo – where most perpetrators get no response at all- is unlikely to change and opportunities to protect victims will be missed.

We hope that some of this detail will be set out in the forthcoming Domestic Abuse strategy which is due out in the autumn. The perpetrator element of the new DA strategy should include how the full range of agencies can help.

With the costs of DA falling heavily on health and local authorities, there are many partners who are interested in playing their part. We urge the Home Secretary to build on this interest, galvanise her colleagues across Whitehall and plan a truly cross sector perpetrator strategy. We stand ready to contribute to this thinking and to ensuring that victim and survivor views and outcomes guide every next step.


  1. See the full statement of Drive partners SafeLives and Respect here and here.
  2. If you are a survivor of DA and have views about how government should work with perpetrators at the local or national level you may like to take part in our 10min survey here.
  3. Read Baroness Gabby Bertin’s article here on why “it will take more than the criminal justice system to be tough on crime” when it comes to DA.

Notes for editors 

About Drive 

Drive believes domestic abuse is not acceptable or inevitable. Drive works with high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse to prevent their abusive behaviour and protect victims. Drive challenges these perpetrators to change and works with partner agencies – like the police and social services – to disrupt any ongoing abuse.

Drive advocates for changes to national systems so that perpetrators posing all levels of risk can no longer get away with abusive behaviour and can access the help they need to stop.

Drive was developed in 2015 by Respect, SafeLives, Social Finance – the Drive Partnership – to address a gap in work with high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. Drive is a national project, with service providers delivering the intervention in local areas. In every site, we partner with local specialist domestic abuse organisations to design and deliver a programme tailored for the locality. This work is done in partnership with statutory agencies such as the police, public health, and children’s social care.

Reduction in abuse. The University of Bristol found 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.

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

Respect UK – Respect is the UK membership organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims and young people. Respect have developed standards and accreditation and provide 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.

SafeLives – SafeLives is the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. SafeLives work with organisations across the UK to transform the response to domestic abuse.

Social Finance – Social Finance is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the government, the social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling social problems in the UK and beyond. They have raised over £100 million of social investment and designed a series of programmes to tackle social challenges including supporting vulnerable adolescents to avoid being taken into care, supporting older people reduce their level of loneliness and helping people with health conditions and disabilities access employment.

Funding and Commissioning partners  

Drive is funded by a mix of grant making trusts, central government grants and local government commissioning from policing, public health and local authorities. Local commissioners play a particularly important leadership role in Drive Project sites. The National Lottery Community Fund is a key funder, supporting the delivery of the Drive Project in certain sites and funding the Drive Partnership National Systems Change work until March 2023. The UK government is another key funder and is supporting some sites to adopt the Drive Project.

Find out more information at: http://driveproject.org.uk/ and follow us on Twitter: @DriveProjectUK