Perpetrators of Domestic Violence



At Community Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services, we have worked with perpetrators of domestic violence since 2013. We have run since then the Phoenix programme in the Boroughs of: Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Richmond and Kingston, we have acquired vast experience with a high degree of success. During the 5 years we have worked with 358 perpetrators of DV with a success rate in completion and significant improvement of 68%.


Principles of the Programme

The programme is based on the core element of DV perpetrator intervention of behavioural change,  on the following principles and research findings:

1. Perpetrators who receive treatment, whether in prison or in the community have a lower reconviction rate than those who do not receive treatment;

2. Mandatory treatment has similar levels of impact as voluntary treatment;

3. Programmes that offer a combination of group and individual work is more effective;

4. Perpetrators of DV must take responsibility for their violent behaviour, the behaviour was learned and can be unlearned;

5. Violence against women and children is unacceptable and perpetrators are accountable for their abusive behaviour;

6. Will assist perpetrators to change by recognising that use of violence is a choice and challenge any denial, justification or blaming of others (while treating them with respect);

7. Will seek to understand the complexity and different paths that may lead up to violence and how perpetration factors may be disrupted at the societal, institutional, community and individual levels;

8. Will be tailored towards different “types” of perpetrators (based on background, personality and attitudes);


What we aim to Achieve

1. Improved relationship between the perpetrator and partner/ex-partner, which is underpinned by respect and effective communication;

2. An enhanced awareness of self and others, including an understanding of the impact that DV has had on their partner and children;

3. An increase in the perpetrators’ perception of the severity of their violence, a large proportion of perpetrators do not see their violent behaviour as a crime, but as “normal behaviour”;

4. An increase in assumed responsibility by perpetrators for violence, often perpetrators blame the victim for provoking their violent or abusive behaviour and avoid so taking responsibility;

5. A reduction in the risk of recidivism by identifying individual psychosocial factors linked to the perpetration of DV.  The programme is expected to have a positive impact also on the families, including:

1. Safety and freedom from violence and abuse for women and children;

2. Safe, positive and shared parenting;

3. For children, safer and healthier childhoods in which they feel heard and cared about.


What we Offer

  1. Prior to starting the programme, each participant is assessed both terms of their suitability for the programme, to explain the programme, their individual needs and the risks posed in working with them. 
  2. We use structured tools and an holistic assessment looking at their wider needs. Each perpetrator signs a consent form which lays out expectations including full participation.
  3. We will adopt a safety first approach to assessment.
  4. We look at the perpetrators’ history, motivation, and the impact they might have on others.
  5. The DV perpetrator programme will follow a cognitive-behavioural combined with a psycho-educational approach, making use of recognised models of the Motivational Interviewing model, aimed at increasing motivation to change and adherence to treatment.
  6. We will monitor perpetrators’ motivation to complete treatment and different motivational factors, during the programme.
  7. We provide a weekly group of 2 hours each session of 12 facilitated themed group sessions for each group, composed of up to 12 perpetrators plus 2 qualified and experienced facilitators.
  8. In addition will provide weekly one-to-one counselling sessions aimed at helping participants to acknowledge the harm they have caused, change their behaviour, and develop respectful non-abusive relationships.
  9. For those who are parents, skills development on how to be better fathers.
  10. At programme completion an evaluation is performed and attendees can attend an aftercare/relapse group or one to one sessions if required.
  11. If the participant has other needs, like substance misuse or mental health for example, will be referred to other specialists in that field. 
  12. Sessions are structured and include topics as:
  • The harm, effects and consequences of domestic abuse on partners and children;
  • Attitudes and beliefs that underpin violence and abuse;
  • Coping with feelings and behaviour in difficult situations;
  • Learning how to react without being abusive;
  • Learning about respect and responsible parenting;
  • Understanding and wanting to change behaviour. 


The programme:

Takes measures to maximise programme retention and completion;
Takes into account the different sources of motivation at intake/initial assessment and monitor this throughout the programme.

Who can access the programme

The programme can be accessed by any residents of the 5 London Boroughs that we cover, Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond, aged 16 years old and over, with a history of perpetrator of domestic violence.


How can the programme be accessed

We maintain a very simple referrals process. While any professional can contact CDARS for a referral, anyone who feels at risk can call the service via:

Email at:

Telephone: 0203 8728217

Or to speak directly to the Programme Manager, or leave a message at:

07930 236623   


Funded by

Rayne Foundation

And Charles Hayward Foundation