New Research Effectiveness of Perpetrator Programmes in stopping Domestic Violence and Abuse

Today sees the release of the Mirabal research project, a five year study led by Professors Liz Kelly and Nicole Westmoreland. The research, which is the most extensive investigation undertaken in the UK into the efficacy of domestic violence perpetrator programmes, shows:

Most men who complete a Respect accredited domestic violence perpetrator programme (DVPP) stop using violence and reduce most other forms of abuse against their partner.

  • All of the men who had been using sexual abuse ceased to do so;
  • All of the men who had been using weapons ceased to do so;
  • There was an 80% reduction in the numbers of men who slapped, pushed or threw something at their partners;
  • There was a 71% reduction in the numbers of men who punched or kicked walls or furniture, slammed doors, smashed things or stamped around.

Most of their partners and ex-partners feel and are safer.

  • At the beginning of the process only 29% of women described themselves as feeling safe, 12 months later, 81% felt safe.

Programmes have a positive impact on children’s well being.

  • There was a 72% reduction in children seeing or overhearing violence;
  • The number of women saying their children were worried about them dropped from 64% before the programme to 37% afterwards;
  • The number of women saying the children were scared of the perpetrator dropped from 54% before the programme to 35% afterwards.

The Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) was the largest programme participating in the research. DVIP is based in London and has been running a DVPP for over 20 years. Last year DVIP received over 700 referrals.

Ben Jamal, DVIP’s CEO, said:

DVIP’s internal evaluations have always told us that violence prevention programmes working alongside robust partner support services increase the safety of women and children. In the current climate, where resources are tight, external agencies, particularly those funding projects, require the highest standards of evidence.

This independent research, which is the most extensive undertaken in the field in the UK, should provide an important benchmark. We have good evidence that Respect accredited programmes work. The challenge now is to see how we can extend the spread of the work and further improve outcomes by embedding programmes within the wider coordinated response.

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