We currently run a programme for male perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse in Sutton and Merton.
We have identified that domestic violence is a very common problem among our clients, with about 60% of our clients revealing a history of abuse as perpetrators. There is a recognised correlation between drug and alcohol misuse and domestic violence. However addressing one problem in isolation of the other does not prove successful. An integrated approach where substance misuse is treated as one of the triggers of violence and abuse can have very positive effects.
The aim of this challenge and change programme is to improve the male perpetrators’ relationship with their partner; ensure their abusive behaviour towards a partner is not repeated; develop safe and positive parenting; increase their awareness of the effect of the domestic violence on their (ex)- partner and children; and resolve conflicts in intimate relationships non-abusively.
The programme consists of one to one and group work. In the groups, our Facilitators use a range of interactive exercises to make the learning realistic, stimulating and relevant.
As part of this programme, the men receive individual support in regards to their specific circumstances, including treatment for substance misuse. In case of problems related to drug or alcohol, they are referred to our substance misuse services.
To deliver this programme, CDARS works in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies, including Probation, Social Services, the courts as well as many local community agencies.
In parallel to the work with male perpetrators, our Family Services Coordinator visits the victims of domestic violence and abuse to provide extra support, counselling and ensure they remain safe. Where useful, victims are signposted to other agencies for further support in regards to the abuse they have experienced.
We are grateful to Safer Sutton Partnership Services for commissioning this pilot in Sutton, and to the Rayne Foundation and Charles Hayward Foundation for giving us the opportunity to replicate this service in Merton since January 2017.