Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has praised the success of a domestic violence intervention programme working directly with offenders to change their behaviour.
Commissioner Henry secured £136,692 in 2021-22 and £136,692 in 2023-24 to deliver perpetrator-focused intervention for men or women using abusive behaviour in intimate relationships to help safeguard the lives of their partners, ex-partners and children.
The funding has been used to commission the Your Choice Project since 2021 – a partnership between domestic abuse support charity Equation, The Jenkins Centre in Leicester, Women’s Aid North and Juno Women’s Aid.
The programme aims to tackle the cause of domestic abuse by working with perpetrators and supporting partners or ex-partners who are suffering the consequences of the abuse through a Partner Support Service (PSS).
Since launching, 95 per cent of survivors reported a sustained reduction of abuse while 90 per cent of victims/survivors reported feeling safer since intervention.
On top of this, 100 per cent of clients who provided feedback to the scheme during the last quarter (January to April 2022) felt they had been offered the support they needed while on the programme. Furthermore, 100 per cent of the clients who completed feedback during the same period felt the programme had supported them to make changes in their lives and outlook.
Commenting on the success, Commissioner Henry said: “These results speak for themselves and demonstrate the huge value of working at the source of the abuse to bring lasting change in these offender’s behaviours.
“I am particularly encouraged by the positive feedback received from survivors themselves who have felt supported to make important changes to their lives and futures.
“I am grateful to all the partners involved in delivering this service and for their continued evaluation which has deepened our insight into the strengths of this programme.
“Supporting victims of domestic abuse will always remain a top priority but clearly, we must take a variety of approaches to prevent abuse happening in the first place and to protect future victims from harm. Working directly with perpetrators is an effective intervention strategy.”
Among those to benefit from the programme is Mike* who was referred in July last year by social care practitioners as a perpetrator of domestic violence towards his partner.
Mike disclosed in his assessment that he struggled with substance misuse and would drink alcohol and smoke cannabis which he felt was affecting his relationship and making his situation worse. He was offered one-to-one intervention while his partner was offered one-to-one support.
Mike has two daughters with his partner who are subject of a child protection plan due to concerns about the impact of domestic abuse on the family. At the beginning of the programme, he found it difficult to open up but as time went on, he shared historic and present abusive behaviours he was perpetrating towards his partner and children. He has now completed more than 13 sessions and reported his relationship had improved since being on the programme with no incidents of abuse. He believes the safety tools he has learnt on the programme have helped to de-escalate arguments before they get to a point where the abusive behaviour emerges.
Amy E Davies, service manager for the Your Choice Project & Quality Assurance and Treatment Manager for all The Jenkins Centre, Freeva Projects, said: “The Your Choice Project Partnership between The Jenkins Centre - Freeva, Equation, Women’s Aid North and Juno Women’s Aid are committed to supporting the safety and wellbeing of survivors whilst working with those using violence and abuse to make meaningful steps towards change.
"The Your Choice Project is pleased to see the roll out of this project is having such a positive impact within Nottinghamshire for those impacted by violence and abuse. It is really positive to see Nottinghamshire service being so commitment to a multiagency approach to working with perpetrators and supporting survivor of abuse."
The Your Choice Project delivers a 24-week Perpetrator Programme providing group and one-to-one interventions for men and women who want help to stop using abusive behaviours towards an intimate partner. The programme draws upon cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, psychoeducation, Duluth model and narrative therapies to support those using violence and/or abusive behaviours make steps towards change.
It also offers Integrated Partner Support for up to a year to ex-partners and partners of clients that have been assessed as suitable for an intervention programme and a 10-week Dads’ Programme focusing on the impact of abuse on children, parenting skills and building relationships within the context of being a father.
*The name in this case study has been changed to preserve anonymity.
Posted on Wednesday 1st June 2022