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Domestic abuse perpetrator strategy would cut violent crime and protect victims

Organisations, police commissioners and academics call on Government to invest in perpetrator strategy

Domestic abuse perpetrator intervention, Drive, and over 70 signatories have called on the Government to invest in a perpetrator strategy, as new research shows the potential of perpetrator programmes to cut violent crime and keep victims and families safe.

Drive says that currently less than 1 per cent of perpetrators receive a specialist intervention to challenge or change their behaviour. As a consequence, opportunities are being missed to stop a perpetrator abusing their current victim and prevent them from moving on to their next.  According to Drive, this failure to prevent the cycle of abuse costs the lives of two women a week and around £66bn a year in social and economic costs. It must change.

Drive is a national project, with service providers delivering the intervention in local areas.

Speaking about the launch of the 'Call to Action for a Perpetrator Strategy', Drive Director, Kyla Kirkpatrick said: 

"We welcome the Prime Minister's ambition to cut violent crime by 20 per cent. Given more than a third of violent crime is domestic abuse, investing in proven ways to disrupt and change the behaviour of perpetrators is common sense. 

"Previous governments have been focussed on simply addressing the devastating impact of domestic abuse rather than stopping it. It's crucial we ensure the care and support of those affected by domestic abuse remains a priority, but if we are to end domestic abuse for good, we must tackle it at the source. 

"The re-introduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill will be an important first step, but a huge piece of the puzzle is still missing – a strategic approach to perpetrators – the people who cause harm."

Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner said:

"I support the call on Government to publish a Strategy on Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse. Current prevention work is patchy and too often perpetrators go unchallenged and are not offered opportunities to change their abusive behaviour. Everyone, from public servants to the private sector to the man or woman on the street needs to know that they can call out abusive behaviour when they see it and that there are systems in place hold abuser accountable and to offer support to change."

The Call to Action which is co-signed by organisations such as Barnardo's, Shelter and Women's Aid, along with Police and Crime Commissioners and a swathe of academics, calls on the Government to publish and invest in a strategy that holds perpetrators to account and protects victims.

It is backed up by new evidence from the Drive project, showing that good quality perpetrator interventions work. A three-year evaluation of the project, which works with perpetrators who have been assessed as at risk of murdering or seriously harming their victims, found that:

For the Call to Action, click here. For a full press release, click here. For signatories to the Call to Action, click here.