Respect launch revised standards framework designed to ensure safe, effective, accountable work with perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse

 

Respect is the UK membership organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims of domestic violence and young people’s violence in close relationships. In 2015-16, it was estimated that 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 were victims of domestic violence in England and Wales alone, with 1.03 million domestic abuse related incidents recorded by the police during the year. Domestic abuse-related crimes now account for 1 in 10 of all criminal offences. Respect believes every local area should offer comprehensive specialist support services for survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

CEO of RESPECT Jo Todd explains:

“Survivors deserve more than support; they need to know that agencies are working together to deal with perpetrators effectively. That means providing opportunities for perpetrators to change, but it also means holding them to account and taking steps to disrupt and prevent future violence and abuse.”

Respect have published the third edition of The Respect Standard an evidence based framework which sets out criteria for working safely and effectively with perpetrators of DVA including integrated support services. First published in 2008 the Respect Standard is regularly revised to ensure it is reflective of current practice and emerging evidence. The third edition of The Standard encompasses all work carried out with perpetrators including: early interventions, behaviour change programmes, high intensity case management and disruption activities. It aims to covers the whole cohort of perpetrators: whether they be in straight or in same sex relationships, motivated to change or not. The third edition also allows services who offer interventions with people with different levels of risk and need to apply for accreditation.

Achieving Respect accreditation enables organisations to evidence their good practice and remain accountable to stakeholders via a robust and thorough full scrutiny audit which carried out by expert assessors. To ensure that all services meet or exceed quality standards in management, intervention delivery, diversity and equality and multiagency work this audit consists of a desk top review, site visits, dip sampling of client work videos and interviews with staff and stakeholders. It is underpinned by 10 core principles including ‘do no harm’, ‘gender matters’, ‘safety first’ and ‘sustainable change’.

The official launch event took place at the House of Commons and was hosted by Thangam Debonnaire MP and attended by 60 invited guests, including specialists in the field of domestic violence and abuse and parliamentarians with an interest in this vital area of work.

Sarah Newton MP writes in the introduction that the framework:

‘focuses on perpetrator interventions, and makes sure they are delivered professionally and competently and are effective in reducing harm. Most importantly, the Standard ensures that further harm is not inflicted on survivors or their children, something which is vital if we are to ensure support and safety for the survivor and help them move on with their lives.’

To download a copy of the framework and the accompanying outcome framework please visit the Respect Website here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Bill has been passed in the Scottish parliament against controlling behaviour

The Scottish Parliament passed a bill on the 1st February 2018 making it an offence to engage in behaviour that is:

  • abusive towards a partner or ex-partner
  • likely to cause the partner/ex-partner to suffer physical or psychological harm
  • intending the course of behaviour to cause harm or was reckless

The bill also provides for some changes to criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing in domestic abuse cases. Existing offences such as assault could still be cited where a case of abuse is not covered by the proposed offence (e.g. where a single incident rather than a course of behaviour is prosecuted). The bill includes a good range of definitions of abusive behaviours, for example, it explicitly includes sexual violence and provides a definition of psychological harm. The bill also addresses a gap as there is known difficulty in disclosing sexual violence within relationships.

There have been suggestions relating to strengthening the laws further:

  1. The documented use of manipulation and ‘gas lighting’ techniques used by an abuser to convince their partner that they are insane could be covered by further legislation.
  2. The defence of reasonableness needs greater definition, this section of the bill implied that the onus is on the prosecution to prove that the behaviour was not reasonable beyond reasonable doubt.
  3. Additional prosecutions for perpetrators if there are grounds for child abuse charges.
  4. Training will be needed to help those involved in investigation and prosecution of the offence understand the range of behaviours and controlling relationships.
  5. It is more likely the complainant feels s/he is no longer in a relationship whilst the accused is continuing to believe they are. Therefore if an ex-partner or a potential ‘victim’ of this offence wants to challenge the relationship status, it could mean they cannot access the protection of this law.

You can access an article discussing the implications for training the Scottish police here.

More information on the BBC news website is available here. 

Many thanks to Professor Liz Gilchrist and Professor Erica Bowan for their contributions to this post.