In April 2021, the Drive Partnership published a Call to Action for the Government to publish a perpetrator strategy to effectively tackle endemic levels of domestic abuse. The Call to Action, which was supported by over 125 organisations and individuals, included key policy asks around improved multi-agency working; availability and awareness of perpetrator interventions; quality-assurance in interventions; national and local leadership on perpetrator responses, and sustainable investment and funding. Investment is vital to ensuring the sustainability and development of a range of quality-assured perpetrator interventions, which are critical to increasing the safety of victim-survivors and stopping domestic abuse for good, and we’re pleased to welcome the focus on investment within this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign under the theme: “UNITE! Invest to prevent gender-based violence against women and girls”. During this year’s campaign, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the successes of our Call to Action, consider the progress made to date, and outline our plans for sharing a renewed Call to Action as we look ahead to marking two years since the publication of the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan, including its Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar, and an upcoming General Election.
Achievements and progress
Through the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Government accepted our Call to Action for a perpetrator strategy; which it fulfilled with the publication of the Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar within the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan 2022. Alongside the Action on Perpetrators Network, which was convened under the Call to Action, we welcomed the publication of the Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar and the many positive commitments within it – most notably, a £75 million investment over three years for behaviour change interventions, research, and evaluation of perpetrator work, which was the first multi-year funding of its kind for perpetrator work and a welcome investment towards sustainability in the specialist perpetrator sector. While there were many positive commitments within the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan and its Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar, these were largely led by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice; with limited cross-departmental and cross-system policy initiatives. As identified in our National Systems Change work, there are systemic gaps in perpetrator responses across key national systems, such as housing and children’s social care, and it’s vital that all departments recognise the role that they can and should play in working together to address systemic gaps, identify and challenge perpetrators, and increase the safety of victim-survivors. In particular, we would have welcomed further commitments from the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the Department for Education.
Despite gaps within the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan and its Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar, its publication was a step-change in the Government’s response to domestic abuse perpetrators which recognised the importance of effective perpetrator responses to increasing the safety of adult and child victim-survivors and stopping domestic abuse for good. As we look ahead to marking two years since the publication of the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan and its Pursuing Perpetrators Pillar, we are revisiting and renewing our Call to Action to reflect the progress made to date and the key focuses that remain central to a strategy that responds effectively to all perpetrators of domestic abuse – across different harm levels, geographies, and communities.
Currently, the refreshed Call to Action will focus on recognising the significant progress made to date, but highlighting the huge distance to travel; on the need to develop sustainable specialist services responding to perpetrators; ensuring a truly cross-government and cross-system approach to perpetrators; a consistent and quality response to the most high-risk perpetrators; and meeting the needs of minoritized and marginalised communities. As with the original Call to Action, we are extremely keen for the refreshed product to reflect the key priorities of partners across the sector, and for it to be a piece that a broad coalition of organisations can rally behind. We are working with the Action on Perpetrators Network, which consists of many of the original Call to Action signatories alongside nearly 100 new members, to develop the refreshed Call to Action, and we welcome discussions and feedback with any interested colleagues or partners across and beyond the specialist domestic abuse sector. If you would like to find out more, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.