Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes

Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes  are behaviour-change programmes for people who use violence and abuse towards their (ex) partners. They are usually  run in small groups; however, in recent years there has been development of intervention work with perpetrators in a 1-2-1 setting.

Safe, effective, accountable work with perpetrators of domestic violence

Respect has published the 3rd edition of the Respect Standard, which has been endorsed by the Home Office, Women’s Aid, Safe Lives, Welsh Women’s Aid, Imkaan, Rights of Women, AVA, Standing Together and many others:

  • The primary aim of work with perpetrators is to increase the safety and wellbeing of survivors and their children;
  • Perpetrator work must offer perpetrators a realistic opportunity to achieve sustainable change, by:
    • helping them to stop being violent and abusive;
    • helping them learn how to relate to their partners in a respectful and equal way;
    • helping them develop non-abusive ways of dealing with difficulties in their relationships and cope with their anger

Domestic violence perpetrator interventions are not the same as, or interchangeable with,  anger management classes.

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

What happens at a domestic violence perpetrator programme group meeting?

Groupwork perpetrator programmes are only available for men. 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.

How do domestic violence perpetrator programmes keep partners safer?

The intervention with domestic violence and abuse perpetrators is accompanied by a corresponding service, ISS (Integrated Support Service). The ISS has the same value base and is focused on the safety and freedom of those affected by this abuse. The purpose of the ISS is to ensure that the safety of those at risk is not compromised by the intervention and that they are offered support to establish lives free from abuse.

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, in a 1-2-1 setting. For more information call the Respect Phoneline on 0808 802 4040.

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