Responding to perpetrators

To end domestic abuse, we must identify and stop harmful behaviours. Find out more about what we’re doing.

To end domestic abuse, we must stop it at the root. Those who use abuse must be held to account. We know that many move from one victim to the next, harming multiple families across different relationships.

The perpetrator is the problem. Why is it that the victim is the one who has to move and seek refuge, when the perpetrator carries on as normal? If we don’t deal with them – then they just move on to the next victim. We have to at least try and change their mindsets.

Our data suggests victims still living with the perpetrator will experience abuse for six years before they get effective help – that’s double the time that it takes for those who are not living with the perpetrator. Too often we ask, ‘why don’t you leave?’ when the reality is much more complicated and there may be reasons why someone remains in an abusive relationship. 

We challenge perpetrators to change, asking “why doesn’t he stop?” rather than “why doesn’t she leave?” This applies whatever the gender of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship.

Our strategy highlights the need to build our evidence and understanding to develop approaches that stop abuse before it happens. We also need to identify and stop harmful behaviours as soon as they do occur. And we need to use emerging evidence and practice to increase and improve the responses that challenge harmful behaviour.

It’s vital that domestic abuse professionals address the safety of victims, ensure children are appropriately supported and increase accountability and responsibility of perpetrators, so more families can become safer sooner. 

Challenging harmful behaviour and stopping domestic abuse

The Drive Partnership

In 2015, we came together with Respect and Social Finance to form The Drive Partnership. Our aim was to change the way statutory and voluntary agencies respond to high-harm, high-risk perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse. Today, we’re still working together to transform the national response to perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Visit the Drive website below.

Without the Drive Project there is no way he'd ever look at himself. I don't know whether he's going to go into the world, you know, a perfect person shall we say, which none of us are, but I do think he'll be a bit better, and even if he is a bit better, then, you know, it's helped massively, it really has.

Survivor, The Drive Project

The Drive Project

The Drive Project is our flagship intervention working with high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse to prevent their abusive behaviour and protect victims. It is currently being delivered in 7 police force areas across England and Wales.

Between 2016 and 2023, The Drive Project worked with:

  • 4,644 high-risk perpetrators to reduce the risk they pose, helping
  • 5,201 adult victim-survivors, and
  • 9,359 children victim-survivors

Reducing abuse and risk of harm

The Drive Project involves one-on-one interventions with perpetrators. Each local project links with a range of agencies, including Idva support for victims, ensuring a cohesive and secure approach. The University of Bristol carried out an independent, three-year, evaluation of The Drive Project during its first phase of delivery (2016-2019). It found:
  • 82%

    reduction in physical abuse

  • 88%

    reduction in sexual abuse

  • 75%

    reduction in harassment and stalking behaviours

Intervening earlier through Restart

Restart is a pioneering Drive partnership project that’s addressing domestic abuse in families at an earlier stage. The project is delivered in five London Borough. It enables earlier interventions that challenge perpetrator behaviour and provides robust safety planning and multi-agency support for families.

Engage: core engagement pack

Designed for practitioners working with perpetrators the Engage pack contains activities, strategies and exercises to help those who use abuse to manage their behaviour.

See resource

Supporting professionals working with perpetrators

A woman reading post it notes which are on the wall. Four people with laptops watching.

Engaging with those who harm training course

This course helps build confidence and skill in responding directly to the perpetrator, extending existing professional competencies in holding them to account, assessing their readiness to engage in in-depth specialist behaviour change work, and effectively use referral pathways to those interventions.