Police car

Domestic Abuse Matters

SafeLives aim to end domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. Domestic Abuse (DA) Matters is a bespoke cultural change programme for police officers and staff in England and Wales, designed to transform the response to domestic abuse.

DA Matters is much more than a training course

DA Matters is a cultural change programme designed to create long term, sustainable improvements and consistency in the response to domestic abuse. 

It helps police understand what is meant by the term coercive control, challenges victim blaming, and prompts them to recognise the high levels of manipulation used by those perpetrating it, including in interactions with law enforcement. 

We are committed to ensuring that this programme delivers real sustainable change that makes a difference to police practice, and to the support that victims of domestic abuse receive. Evaluations to date have consistently found material change in first responder confidence and knowledge.

Professor Iain Brennan carried out independent research into the effects of force-wide training on arrests for coercive and controlling behaviour. This research shows the positive and sustained impact of the programme, leading to a 41% increase in arrests for coercive and controlling behaviour.

SafeLives' DA Matters training really does deliver. Its slick, to the point and very impactive. Officers suggest it's some of the best training they've received. It provided the skills uplift we required sending a hugely positive message across the constabulary. It's thought provoking and has certainly influenced officers to consider better questions around coercion and control.

DA Matters police lead, Suffolk

About the programme 

The work stemmed from the 2014 HMIC report, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, which highlighted the need for improvements in how police forces and officers understood and responded to coercive control.

Our DA Matters programme has several elements, designed to sustain the impact of the programme, including:

  • A force health check to assess and support the force, ensuring the cultural, attitudinal, and behavioural changes achieved by the training are maintained
  • A train the trainer course, creating a bank of local trainers to deliver the training both during the initial phase with SafeLives and in future sessions
  • Training for first responders using real-life footage, case studies and exercises so that first responders can learn how to identify and gather evidence of coercive and controlling behaviour, recognise perpetrator tactics and understand the dynamics of domestic abuse.

To create long-term, sustainable improvements DA Matters also includes: 

  • DA Matters Champions training, upskilling officers to check service delivery, sustain the change in skills, behaviours and attitudes, and to give feedback on great practice as well as challenge inappropriate language and behaviour.  DA Matters Champions become a ‘go to’ contact within their area of police work
  • A sustaining the change workshop for senior managers, ensuring change is maintained after delivery and developing leaders to safely use internal lived experience of domestic abuse to shape future responses to the public
  • A post programme report, covering findings and recommendations from the training delivery phase and health check
  • Immediate and six-month evaluation reports, assessing the changes in practice and attitudes

Our DA Matters aims and objectives guide has information about the overall aim of DA Matters, as well as the outcomes for each element of the cultural change programme.  


DA Matters delivery costs vary according to size of the police force, which elements of the programme are chosen and if a force uses its own staff and partners to assist in the delivery.  The sliding scale used is very similar across the three licenced providers, so a force can choose based on fit and quality delivery rather than cost. SafeLives are happy to provide a quote for delivery on request.

I can honestly say it was the most impactive one day input I have ever been on. The content was excellent and the delivery was absolutely on point. Both [the trainers] showed such a passion, which demonstrated how they truly feel about how DA is understood and dealt with.

Previous learner

You may also be interested in

Domestic Abuse Matters Scotland

SafeLives are pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with Police Scotland to deliver Domestic Abuse (DA) Matters Scotland, supporting the implementation of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018.

Training for police

SafeLives aim to end domestic abuse, for everyone and for good. Domestic Abuse (DA) Matters is a bespoke cultural change programme for police officers and staff across the UK.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletters about the latest training, events, research and fundraising initiatives at SafeLives. Together, we can end domestic abuse, for everyone, for good.

Sign up