Ending Domestic Violence: What’s being done?
Last week, Michelle Hill joined 100 participants from around the UK to discuss the
Last week, Michelle Hill joined 100 participants from around the UK to discuss the Domestic Abuse Act, what was currently happening to tackle this nationally, future plans and importantly, share how we were doing our bit.
What’s the current situation?
Jess Phillips MP, the Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, spoke about where the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act was up to and how it is not to be underestimated. The act has taken four years to get through and is the highest up the political agenda it has ever been.
She noted the potential for the act to make an incredible difference to the lives of those affected by domestic abuse and believes that ending domestic abuse should not just be a departmental priority, but a government one.
As we move forward and take the act from being a piece of paper to action, what can we focus on?
It was noted that the act is not perfect. It is heavily focused on the criminal justice system and could do much more to address migrant women’s access to support and the lack of statutory duties for community services. Sophie Francis-Cansfield, Campaigns and Policy Manager at Women’s Aid reiterated the failure to deliver equal protection and support for migrant women and stated that the upcoming Victims Bill consultation provides an opportunity to address this.
Other concerns and data were shared by speakers, addressing the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on victims of domestic abuse, how we better support and address male victims of domestic abuse and how we can address the rise of digital abuse.
Furthermore, interesting challenges on language were brought to the forefront, with Professor Nicole Westmarland asking about the term “perpetrator”, questioning if this limits people who may not identify as a perpetrator, but need to address their violent and abusive behaviour. Nicole referenced the Call to Action in which TLC is a signatory, which has campaigned for Government to publish a perpetrator strategy within the year. This provides an opportunity to build on what has been learned and offer fully integrated support that puts people’s safety first.
Where do we fit into this?
Having delivered domestic abuse prevention work for over 10 years, we now work across 9 sites in the North West.
We directly work with male and female perpetrators of abuse, and always offer integrated support to those affected including partners, ex-partners and children. We’ve also recently started delivering innovative programmes of work which address unhealthy and abusive behaviours in young people’s relationships.
We know that working with perpetrators is a controversial issue and Michelle spoke at the event, addressing this:
“It is important to state that for us, working with perpetrators is not an either or scenario, with areas choosing between services for victims/survivors and perpetrator, but very much an and scenario where it is key that work with perpetrators and victims/survivors should both be part of an area’s approach.
We know that most victims and survivors want perpetrators to be able to access effective interventions that will help them to change, but nationally, only a small minority of repeat offenders receive specialist interventions”
Michelle went on to say that work with perpetrators should never take place in a vacuum, it’s essential that the voices of those affected are heard throughout interventions and that this is done in a local and community context, an approach we take to heart at TLC:
“We believe in being generous collaborators in our approach to working with perpetrators and our partnerships with local victims and survivor organisations make us very proud”
We will continue to deliver our varied services to tackle domestic abuse, work in partnership to do so and always seek new opportunities to expand our services where they are needed.
We believe that there are a range of perpetrators and as such, there should be a range of programmes to choose from to get support to change. We know from experience that this approach is a long and complex process and there are no easy fixes.
Equally, as Michelle put it in her speech – we wholeheartedly believe, and have seen, that change can happen and be sustained.
If you, or somebody you know may be experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence helpline or visit their website for more information.
If you are concerned about your behaviour in your relationships and would like to take the first step to seeking support and changing things for you and those around you, you can visit the Respect website or call them directly.
If you’re interested in Michelle Hill presenting or speaking at your events or training sessions, please contact Marketing & Communications Manager, Paige Hughes directly to arrange.