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New survey aims to put victim and survivor views at the heart of new perpetrator strategy

The Drive Partnership has launched a survey of victims and survivors of domestic abuse, to ensure that their voices are at the heart of its input into the upcoming government domestic abuse perpetrator strategy. This is part of Drive’s work at a national level to ensure that perpetrators can no longer get away with abusive behaviour and can access help to stop. The survey can be completed here.

The new Domestic Abuse Act requires the government to publish a strategy on how they are going to deal with perpetrators of domestic abuse (the people who are abusing others) in England and Wales.  The Partnership wants to make sure that the strategy has the voices and experiences of victims and survivors of domestic abuse at its core.

The survey asks about victim and survivor views on services received by perpetrators from organisations such as the council or the police, or specialist domestic abuse services, and the effect this had on victims and their families. The survey also asks about domestic abuse behaviour change programmes, which work to challenge and change the abusive behaviour of perpetrators.

The Drive Partnership are calling for a perpetrator strategy that includes and goes alongside high-quality support and services for all victim/survivors of domestic abuse.

The survey is open to all victim/survivors who are over 18 years old and currently are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales. It will close on 1st August 2021. You can complete the survey here.

Notes for editors 

About the legal requirement to publish a strategy

The Domestic Abuse Act received royal assent on 29th April 2021. Section 75 of the new Domestic Abuse Act requires the publication of a Strategy for prosecution and management of offenders within 12 month of Royal Assent. This should cover:

(a)detecting, investigating and prosecuting offences involving domestic abuse,

(b)assessing and managing the risks posed by individuals who commit offences involving domestic abuse, including (among others) risks associated with stalking, and

(c)reducing the risk that such individuals commit further offences involving domestic abuse.

Drive understands this will form part of a wider DA strategy.

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