What do perpetrator programmes add to co-ordinated community reponses to domestic violence?

Lead Research Organisation: London Metropolitan University
Department Name: Applied Social Science


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Description Presented new, robust, nuanced findings on the extent to which men who attend domestic violence perpetrator programmes (DVPPs) change
One hundred female partners or ex-partners undertook five telephone surveys over a 15 month period. Far fewer women reported being physically injured after the man had attended a DVPP, and the extent to which children saw/overheard violence also dropped substantially. Over half of the women reported feeling 'very safe' after the DVPP, compared to less than one in ten before it. Harassment, abuse, coercion, and control also reduced, but to a lesser extent. The qualitative interviews showed similar patterns. We found little support for the frequently cited view that DVPPs teach men how to be 'better', 'more manipulative abusers'. It is the complexity of our findings that led us to title the final report 'Steps Towards Change', and to conclude that DVPPs make an important contribution to efforts to reduce domestic violence.
Provided a significant divergence and challenge to research design norms in this field
Previously, large scale outcome research on DVPPs has relied on quantitative surveys. Our research has demonstrated the importance of a mixed method design. The in depth interviews with men provided insights into how change happens for some men, suggesting a lengthy process of new understandings, reflection and translation into behaviour. Rather than the image of a 'light bulb moment' the process of change for men is rather a series of sparks, not all of which are activated for every man..
Documented the location, and shapeshifting nature, of UK programmes in the context of coordinated community responses - particularly in relation to child protection and child contact
We have documented the emergence a specific UK model (Philips et al, 2013) and the 'shape shifting' many have had to undertake in response to changing and insecure funding opportunities. Four in-depth cases studies across the UK revealed that whilst the DVPPs were held in extremely high regard by CCR partners - as doing good, safe work and being the experts in their area on domestic violence perpetrators - work with perpetrators remains controversial. Three of the areas had 'shape shifted' through various co-location models within Children's Services, whilst this gained sustainability for the DVPP, it was at the cost of an independent voice and visibility. Such partnerships also represent a challenge to programme integrity, specifically keeping women's safety at the centre.

Linking men's steps towards change to contemporary gender theory
Whilst women and men articulated a belief in gender equality and individual freedom, we found that unequal gender relations operated through taken-for-granted ways of being, unwritten relationship rules, within the routines of everyday life. It was women challenging and contesting these unwritten rules which sat at the heart of men's perceived need to control, which when manifested through violence and abuse destroyed the very safety and security, as protectors and providers, they were supposed to ensure. Change was connected to both men and women remaking gender in their relationship and in the man's parenting.
Exploitation Route For academics, we expect the findings to be taken forward into theorising around domestic violence, and particularly domestic violence perpetrators. We are already seeing evidence of our methodological contributions being taken up in other countries which are designing their own outcome research. We will continue to support and develop this work.
Respect (who coordinate DVPPs nationally), and individual DVPPs, are still working through the implications of our research for policy and practice, and are holding a number of workshops to help develop this understanding and then embed our findings into their policy and practice.
Criminal justice organisations and other organisations that work with domestic violence perpetrators will also find our research relevant to their policy and practice. We have presentations planned with Probation, Children's Services Directors, and CAFCASS (who represent children in the Family Courts).
International practitioner networks, including the Aquila network in the US and the WWM network in Europe, are also important networks that we are engaging in.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/criva/ProjectMirabalfinalreport.pdf
Description Our innovative methodology and findings have reframed thinking and approaches to domestic violence perpetrator programmes, beginning from the start of the project and our briefing document on what counts as success to the continuing requests from a range of publics for us to present the findings. The close relationship with the umbrella organisation Respect has ensured that the impact of the research will continue to inform policy and practice, which has been termed a 'new landscape'. Specifically the impacts have been: • Widened understandings of what counts as 'success' on an international scale (particularly in the US, Canada and Australia and within guidelines for the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention) - our methodological tools are available to any researcher or organisation. • The findings on change have convinced a number of politicians, policy makers and funders that perpetrator programmes have a contribution to make and are thus worth supporting. • Demonstrated the value to policy and practice of mixed methods research in a field that has previously been almost entirely quantitative based. • An opening up of a renewed focus on interventions with perpetrators, including the exploration of new models. • Evidence based political discussions and decision making, including presenting at two party conference fringe events, two parliamentary launches (Scottish and Westminster) and 25 other presentations attended mainly by practitioners and policy makers. • The findings and recommendations will be part of a review of accreditation standards and practice models by Respect in 2016. • The findings have informed media stories on perpetrator programmes and raised awareness of the limited reach of current service provision. In 2018, one of the investigators (Westmarland) was invited and funded to give a series of talks in Australia, including the presentation of her work to the minister responsible for overseeing perpetrator interventions as part of the Victorian Commission on Family Violence. Westmarland also gave a training session to Victorian Magistrates.
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description A new website which includes all publications, the research tools and a series of leaflets and short animations for practitioners 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact the project has been influential internationally in terms of innovative methodology, and here we make all of the research tools open access. We have created some resounces intended as resources for programmes and practitioners which draw on the research findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://projectmirabal.co.uk/