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Drive’s response to the Domestic Abuse Bill

Drive welcomes the Domestic Abuse Bill as an important step forward, highlighting the need for provision that works comprehensively to protect and support victims/survivors, while also working to stop the abuse from being carried out by the person causing the harm – the perpetrator.

We know that the response to perpetrators across the UK currently lacks a national strategy – it is patchy and under-resourced. Promisingly, the Domestic Abuse Bill identifies the need to more effectively hold perpetrators to account as a crucial aspect of ending domestic abuse.

The Drive Partnership supports this and wants to see national systemic change. To tackle the cause of harm – the perpetrators – we need high-quality robust responses and interventions that are tailored to target all levels of risk and have the scope to address additional issues such as mental health and substance misuse.

We must also go further.

We need to change the broader narrative around domestic abuse, to ask the question, “why doesn’t he stop?” instead of “why doesn’t she leave?”

This work is challenging. It requires a significant shift from the current approach – but we are ambitious. Drive is already doing this work in England and Wales, constantly learning and developing, with the goal of making victims/survivors and their children safer by focusing on stopping the perpetrator.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, director of Drive, says:

“We know that 1 in 4 perpetrators of domestic abuse are repeat offenders and that some have as many as six different victims. Victim and survivor support is utterly essential, but on its own, it will not end domestic abuse.

The Domestic Abuse Bill recognises the importance of perpetrators receiving targeted responses to prevent abuse, to challenge, and if possible, to change, abusive behavior.

This work must always be done with victims, survivors and children at its heart – which means that perpetrator interventions must be quality-assured, with the oversight and scrutiny of national standards.

The work also relies on an ecosystem of properly funded and resourced public services, including highly trained police forces and coordinated action from key agencies such as children’s social care, probation, mental health and substance misuse services. Sustainable longer-term commissioning models, effective data collection and improved information sharing are also essential to ensure that interventions are effective over time and across geographic or local authority borders.   

We know that considerable systems change is needed to make this happen and the Bill provides a promising foundation from which to better hold perpetrators to account, stop the abuse, and increase the safety of more victims and children.”

Drive is an intensive intervention that works with high-harm and serial perpetrators to prevent abuse and challenge behaviour.