The Government stated its intention Wednesday to publish a strategy on domestic abuse perpetrators as part of a wider domestic abuse strategy due later in 2021. The commitment came as Lords debated an amendment which would have put a legal requirement for a perpetrator strategy into the Bill.
This progress represents a significant victory for the campaign for a domestic abuse perpetrator strategy launched a year ago in parliament and backed by MPs and peers from all political parties as well as over 125 organisations and experts outside parliament including survivors of domestic abuse, academics, charities, local authorities and police and crime commissioners.
The amendment, tabled by Baroness Gabby Bertin, and supported by both the Labour and Liberal Democrat frontbenches, called for a fully-funded domestic abuse perpetrator strategy and the further rollout of evidence-based interventions to prevent and end domestic abuse by responding to perpetrators. Many who support the amendment hope this marks a turning point in government’s ambitions to prevent domestic abuse in the first place, to hold those who are causing harm to account and support anyone who wants to change their behaviour with quality assured interventions.
An article published in the Courrier newspaper in Scotland highlights the importance of understanding domestic violence more fully. The author Jon Brady interviewed Professor Liz Gilchrist about her work on domestic violence over a number of years , she highlights there is no single cause behind why a young male perpetrator may abuse his partner. She also points out the importance of early years experiences in how some men respond to women in their adulthood, particularly that an individual’s ability to navigate situations can be very difficult if they are not raised in a nurturing environment. Children who are not nurtured to feel secure see the world as a negative place and are not able to manage as well their temperament, set goals and discover interests of their own. This can result in adults over monitoring and trying to control their partner’s behaviour (particularly when they feel vulnerable or when they believe their partner is leaving them).
Two interventions are described: the first being The Intervention Initiative, originally developed by the University of the West of England in 2014, which focuses on university students; to educated them how and when to intervene in situations that could indicate sexual harassment, coercion or an abusive relationship. The second intervention is the ADVANCE intervention set within the ADVANCE study. The intervention focuses on a male substance using population who are receiving ongoing treatment with a keyworker (within their local NHS or third sector agency). The study is researching the links between substance use and domestic abuse and how to support both victims and perpetrators. The ADVANCE intervention is now being repurposed with adaptations for the Covid-19 pandemic to be delivered across the UK online and supported remotely by facilitators. This adapted version of the intervention comes after successful trials in England.
You can access the article here.