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Drive welcome visit by Victoria Atkins, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, and Minister for Women

The Drive partnership are delighted to have welcomed Victoria Atkins, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Safeguarding and Vulnerability and Minister for Women, to our site in Croydon today, discussing why it is so urgent we see a cross-government, comprehensive Perpetrator Strategy that challenges all those causing harm and holds them to account.

A third of violent crime recorded by the police is domestic abuse related, yet these crimes are often hidden from public view.[1] More than two million adults in the UK experience domestic abuse each year. Behind each and every one of these victims is the person causing harm: the perpetrator. One in four perpetrators are repeat offenders. Some have as many as six different victims. Despite this, less than 1% currently receive any intervention to challenge their behaviour. We need to change the narrative, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ not ‘why doesn’t she leave?’

Drive is an innovative approach that has worked with over 1,300 high harm perpetrators to date. The Home Office has been a key contributor to its development. As well as working with individuals to challenge and address their behaviour, Drive focuses on closing down and disrupting the opportunity for perpetrators to abuse by working closely with the police and other agencies. It also addresses issues such as substance misuse, housing and mental health which can increase the risk to victims. Drive works hand-in-hand with Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (Idvas) to strengthen the support for victims and survivors to become safe and well, and provides access to recovery services for children.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of the Drive programme said:

“We warmly welcomed the opportunity to meet with Victoria Atkins at our Drive site in Croydon today. For too long the vast majority of perpetrators have remained unchallenged and unchanged. Its time they stopped getting away with it.

“We’re pleased to see the Government have committed to re-introducing the Domestic Abuse Bill in the Queen’s Speech next month. Survivors tell us that any response to domestic abuse must include perpetrator provision – with 80% of survivors saying they thought perpetrator programmes were a good idea. Today we spoke to the Minister about this – calling for a comprehensive, fully funded, national perpetrator provision which identifies those responsible for harm, challenges their behaviour and ensures the safety of victims, survivors and whole families.”

Victoria Atkins, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Safeguarding and Vulnerability and Minister for Women said:

“I’m grateful for the vital and innovative work carried out by the Drive project and its delivery partners to reduce this devastating crime.

“Not only is it fundamental that we support victims and survivors but also hold perpetrators to account and where possible, prevent offending in the first place.”


[1]  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2018#domestic-abuse-recorded-by-the-police