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Drive Project aims to challenge perpetrators of domestic violence

Charities will work with perpetrators on one-to-one basis

Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance are working together with Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities in Sussex, Essex and South Wales and the Lloyds Bank Foundation to launch the Drive project.

The project will develop and evaluate a new approach to hold perpetrators of domestic abuse to account in order to keep victims and children safe.
The charities say that the response to domestic abuse in the UK has always focused on expecting the victim to leave and start a new life in a new community, causing major disruption and taking them away from their support network of family and friends.

Often the perpetrator is left to continue their life as normal and frequently repeats the same behaviour with new partners, creating more victims. Providing an extensive system of support for victims and their children is essential, but on its own it will not stop domestic abuse. There need to be effective interventions for perpetrators that minimise repeat and serial patterns of abuse and complement support for victims and children.

Starting in April 2016 the Drive project will test an innovative approach to challenge the behaviour of perpetrators, and co-ordinate the response they receive across all agencies. For the first time in England and Wales, Drive case managers in these three areas will work with some of the most dangerous perpetrators, on a one-to-one basis, to reduce their abusive behaviour.

Drive is funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Tudor Trust, Comic Relief and the Police and Crime Commissioners in all three areas. The project has also benefited from local authority support.

Commenting on this important new initiative Diana Barran, Chief Executive of SafeLives, said: 

"SafeLives is committed to reducing the number of victims of domestic abuse - this is not possible without reducing the number of perpetrators. The victims we work with have asked us why they are always the ones expected to change – and why too often the perpetrator is left free to continue their abuse of them and others. We want to help victims today and reduce the number of victims of tomorrow. We are evidence-led and will therefore be testing this intervention in three areas, with the aim of proving it could work and be rolled out nationally."

Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said: 

"Domestic violence is a devastating crime that shatters the lives of victims and families and the Government is determined to put an end to it. Protecting victims will always be at the heart of our approach, and this includes future partners and children who may also be at risk.

"Our new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which we will publish shortly, will look at ways to better understand and address the causes of offending behaviour to stop these terrible crimes from happening in the first place.

"This innovative pilot will give us greater insights into the causes of offending behaviour and the role of rehabilitation."