Our strategy

Find out how we plan to end domestic abuse, for everyone, for good.

The ‘Whole Picture’

The ‘Whole Picture’ is our strategy to stop domestic abuse, for everyone, for good.  Our strategy was refreshed in 2021 and we are now in the process of redeveloping this for the next 3 years.

To end domestic abuse we believe we must look at the whole picture – the whole of someone’s situation and context, the whole family, our communities and wider society. Only this will prevent abuse, stop people from using abuse, keep people safe from harm sooner, and support them to move on safely with their lives after abuse has happened.

Read our Whole Picture strategy

Our strategy was created with our vision and values in mind. It sets out four strategic priorities – our roadmap to tackling domestic abuse:

  1. Act before someone harms or is harmed.
  2. Identify and stop harmful behaviours.
  3. Increase safety for those at risk.
  4. Support people to live the lives they want after harm occurs.

Acting before someone harms or is harmed

To end domestic abuse, we must intervene sooner, and prevent harm being caused in the first place. We also need to bring men and boys into the conversation about prevention.

We are working to equip young people and adults to understand what abuse looks like and to have healthier relationships. Our Safe Young Lives programme is developing interventions which are informed by the voice and experiences of young people.

We are also bringing men and boys into the discussion, building the evidence base on how social stereotypes about masculinity can create negative attitudes, and producing resources to help start a conversation.

Identifying and stopping harmful behaviours

To end domestic abuse we must tackle perpetrator behaviour. Society still puts the responsibility on women – disproportionately the victims of domestic abuse – to leave abusive relationships. We need to shift responsibility for abuse and hold perpetrators to account for their behaviour rather than expecting the victim to leave.

This happens through Marac (Multi-agency risk assessment conferences) for victims at the highest risk of serious harm or murder. As part of the Drive Partnership with Respect and Social Finance, we also work with local systems to challenge and support high risk, high harm perpetrators of abuse to change their behaviour.

We also work with local systems to challenge the lower harm, lower risk behaviour of perpetrators of abuse through a range of other interventions, including supporting families who do not want to separate and/or to safely co-parent.

Increasing safety for those at risk

We believe taking a ‘risk-led’ approach is the bedrock of an effective response for those who are likely to be harmed, without intervention.

This approach includes identifying victims and perpetrators, assessing risk of harm, ensuring responses are tailored to meet individual’s needs, and involving all the relevant agencies in providing appropriate support.

Tools such as the Dash Risk Assessment Checklist (Dash ric) are important mechanisms to support professionals to assess risk in a consistent way.

The Marac framework brings agencies together to pool knowledge and provide a joined-up and effective response for those at highest risk of harm or murder. Data that we collect from Maracs across the UK provides evidence about the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse, and the characteristics and situations of those affected.

Domestic abuse professionals, including Idvas and Idaas in Scotland, play a critical role in ensuring the victim’s needs are at the heart of safety planning.

Our Whole Picture approach builds on these foundations to widen the response. We have piloted a new, integrated multi-agency approach to improve how local systems respond to victims and families affected by domestic abuse in a number sites. We are now working in a similar way with local teams across the country, using a public health approach.

Training all professionals who come into contact with families is essential to ensure an effective, appropriate and consistent response. Supporting specialist services  – who often provide support for those with protected characteristics or whose needs may not be met by mainstream services – is an important part of closing gaps in provision.

Communities too can play a part in supporting victims of domestic abuse. By reaching in, starting a conversation, and showing concern, victims know they are not alone and may feel more able to seek support.

Domestic abuse is everybody’s business, and this includes employers. We work with employers to create or strengthen their domestic abuse policy, consider their responses to both victims and those using abusive behaviours, and provide guidance for HR and managers.

Supporting people to live the life they want after harm occurs

Even when relationships end, many adult and child victims of domestic abuse continue to be harmed. This could occur through economic abuse and debt, child contact disputes, stalking and harassment, or the ongoing toll on people’s mental health.

And for those who have used abusive behaviour but have started to change their behaviour, there is currently little ‘step down’ support following intensive intervention to ensure sustainable change.

Survivors have told us that the family court system is retraumatising and can actively facilitate perpetration of further abuse. Training is essential for all family court professionals so that they better understand the dynamics of abuse and can respond to victims in a trauma-informed way.

Domestic abuse can cause lasting harm to a victim’s mental health, however there is very little mental health support. The development and universal provision of specialist mental health support for adult and child victims of domestic abuse is critical to enable people to recover.

More about SafeLives

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Who we are

Learn about who we are: our people, how we are run and how we are funded.
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Our impact

Find out about the progress of our work - year on year – on the path to achieve our vision of ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.   

Our history

Find out about the history of SafeLives and the work we have achieved over the years.

Work with us

The latest vacancies and information about working at SafeLives.
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Contact us

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