National funding awarded to challenge high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators

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An indicitive image of domestic abuse

Local councils and police have been awarded national funding to deliver the Drive Project, an initiative to challenge the behaviour of high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators.

The Home Office Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Intervention Fund awarded £1,230,500.00 to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) together with Avon and Somerset Police, South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council.

This effective intervention has successfully been delivered across South Gloucestershire since 2021. To date this service has effectively worked with over 220 domestic abuse perpetrators and over 670 associated survivors.

This funding will enable charity partner, Cranstoun, to work with high-risk and repeat perpetrators of domestic abuse across the three local authority areas. The programme challenges perpetrators to change and works with partner agencies – like the police and social services – to disrupt abuse and protect victims.

The Drive Project first launched in April 2016, addressing a systemic gap in the response to high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of abuse. It is currently being delivered in eight police force areas across England and Wales. These same areas have seen a significant reduction in the use of abuse amongst service users.

This national programme underwent a three-year (2016-2019) independent evaluation by the University of Bristol. Their evaluation was released in February 2020 and found that the intervention reduced:

  • the number of perpetrators using physical abuse by 82%
  • sexual abuse by 88%
  • harassment and stalking behaviours by 75%
  • jealous and controlling behaviours by 73%.

PCC Mark Shelford said: “I am delighted with the results from the South Gloucestershire Drive Project, which has seen an 74% reduction in domestic abuse reoffending rates from Drive participants, who fully engaged with this programme. This proves that by challenging high risk perpetrators and changing their attitudes, beliefs and behaviour reduces and prevents abusive reoffending.

“This funding will not only enable the Drive initiative to be available across three local authority areas but will also support an evaluation process to monitor the positive impact and value for money.”

Councillor Leigh Ingham, South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Local Place, said: “We are delighted with this successful bid which will enable us to build on the excellent results from the pilot in South Gloucestershire and continue to challenge perpetrators of domestic violence.

“We do not tolerate domestic violence and abuse here in South Gloucestershire. As a council, we work tirelessly to prevent and reduce domestic violence and abuse and part of that work means we need to try new strategies and programmes such as Drive to challenge perpetrators’ behaviour and ultimately stop them abusing their victim/s. This additional funding means we can continue challenging abusive behaviour and protecting victims for a further two years.”

Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities at Bristol City Council, said: “One person being a victim of domestic violence is too many, and in Bristol we want to be a city free from domestic abuse. The Drive Project’s success in other parts of the country in reducing abuse by service users is apparent. This funding for the Drive Project, to be carried out in Bristol, will underpin the work already taking place through our One City plan in helping us reach our 2050 goal of making the city free from domestic abuse and gender inequality.”

Councillor James Clayton, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Safety in the community, said: “Securing this funding to enable us to implement the Drive Project in North Somerset is fantastic news. It provides us with an opportunity to strengthen our work in this area and make a positive difference to the lives of those affected by domestic abuse.”

Wendy Taylor, Assistant Director of Services at Cranstoun, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver the Drive programme across Avon & Somerset, alongside our partners, to tackle domestic violence and work with perpetrators to address its root causes.

“We look forward to collaborating with our multi-agency partners to enable positive change and protect victims and children from experiencing abuse. We believe in empowering people and empowering change.”

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of The Drive Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, Cranstoun, and other local partner agencies to deliver our flagship Drive Project across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

“Our aim is to end domestic abuse and protect victims by disrupting, challenging, and changing the behaviour of those who are causing harm. Together we will do all we can to make victims and survivors of domestic abuse safer across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire by responding effectively to high risk, high harm perpetrators and reducing the danger they pose.”

Reporting Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is when a person’s behaviour towards another is controlling, forced or threatening. Domestic abuse is defined as between those aged 16 or over, and who are personally connected.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is, report it to Avon and Somerset Police:

Cranstoun Organisation

Cranstoun provides services for adults and young people facing difficulties with alcohol and other drugs, domestic abuse, housing and criminal justice. Please click here for more information.