Responding to perpetrators

We believe domestic abuse is not acceptable or inevitable and we want to 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. 

81% of survivors we surveyed said they thought perpetrator programmes are a good idea. However, only 2.5% of survivors told us their abusive partner went on a perpetrator programme. - Every Story Matters, April 2018

In our latest strategy, we emphasised the need to build our evidence and understanding to develop approaches that stop abuse before it occurs. As well as this, we need to identify and stop harmful behaviours as soon as they do occur, and use emerging evidence and practice to increase and improve the responses that challenge harmful behaviour.

With this in mind, in 2015 we entered into a 3-year project with our partners Respect and Social Finance:

The Drive Project 

The Drive Project works with high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse to prevent their abusive behaviour and protect victims. High-risk, high-harm perpetrators are those who have been assessed as posing a risk of serious harm or murder to people they are in intimate or family relationships with. Drive challenges these perpetrators to change and works with partner agencies – like the police and social services - to disrupt any ongoing abuse. Drive advocates for changes to national systems so that perpetrators posing all levels of risk can no longer get away with abusive behaviour and can access the help they need to stop.

Drive was developed by Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance – the Drive Partnership – to address a gap in work with high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. This meant many perpetrators were repeatedly offending with either the same or new victims. 

To deliver long term sustainable change and reduce the number of victims – we must challenge perpetrators to stop.

Impact: The University of Bristol evaluation of Drive found a substantial reductions in abuse including the number of people perpetrating physical abuse reducing by 82%.

Drive Call to Action: a case for a national strategy to tackle perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Drive webchat: for advice on working with high-harm, high-risk perpetrators.

Drive professionals portal: access exclusive webinars and guidance for professionals working with perpetrators. Email info@drive.org.uk for the portal password.  

Responding to perpetrators: additional resources

Core engagement pack from the Engage intervention, providing strategies to support self-management of behaviour.

Read our CEO, Suzanne Jacobs' blog for the Guardian on why we need to look at men in the context of violence against women. 

See more resources on working with perpetrators during COVID-19 on our webpage.