Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes

Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes (or domestic violence perpetrator programmes, as they’re otherwise known) are behaviour-change programmes for men who use violence and abuse towards their (ex) partners. They run in small groups aiming to:

  • help men stop being violent and abusive
  • help them learn how to relate to their partners in a respectful and equal way
  • show them non-abusive ways of dealing with difficulties in their relationships and cope with their anger
  • keep their partner safer

They meet once a week for about two and a half hours in the evening for anything between 20 to 48 weeks (depending on the programme).  They are not anger management classes.

A domestic violence perpetrator programme is the most appropriate type of help for men who are abusive and violent toward their partners.

What happens at a domestic violence perpetrator programme meeting?

Some groups are discussion based, but most use a variety of interactive exercises to make the learning realistic, stimulating and relevant to men’s own situations. There are many different programmes across the UK, and the content will vary, but on the whole they will cover these issues:

  • What is violence and abuse? Why am I violent?
  • Learning that I am in control of my own behaviour and can choose not to be violent.
  • Taking responsibility for my behaviour, without blaming others or minimising it.
  • Understanding the impact of violence and abuse on my partner and children.
  • Learning how to notice when I am becoming abusive and how to stop.
  • Learning different, non-abusive ways of dealing with difficulties in my relationship.
  • Dealing non-abusively with my partner’s anger.
  • Negotiation and listening- how to build a respectful relationship.

The video below will give you an idea of how a programme works. It was created by REPAIR, a group work programme running in three parts of Devon to help abusive men who want to change their attitudes and behaviours.

Working with perpetrators and their families

How do domestic violence perpetrator programmes keep partners safer?

Every domestic violence perpetrator programme should have an attached service for partners offering information and support. In fact, a domestic violence perpetrator programme without such a service for the woman who has suffered the abuse is likely to increase the risks towards her rather than promote her safety.

Are there any domestic violence perpetrator programmes for women or for men in same-sex relationships?

Most domestic violence perpetrator programmes have been designed for men in heterosexual relationships. Some of these programmes also work with women (in heterosexual or same-sex relationships) and with gay/bi men. For more information call the Respect Phoneline on 0808 802 4040.

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