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Survey findings of victim-survivor views on perpetrator interventions released as part of 16 Days of Activism

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The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an annual global campaign dedicated to empowering survivors, reducing and preventing violence against women and girls, and protecting women’s rights. For the Drive Partnership’s 2022 activity in support of the 16 days, we are highlighting different strands of our work to challenge harmful behaviour and stop domestic abuse, and today focusing on the importance of victim-survivor voice.

The Drive Partnership believes a victim-focused approach is a crucial part of effective perpetrator work. To better understand their experiences, we asked survivors of domestic abuse for their views on how mainstream services and specialist interventions respond to perpetrators of domestic abuse. You can read the full survey briefing here (PDF) or here (Word).

This online survey gathered responses from 470 victim/survivors of domestic abuse within England and Wales. The survey asked survivors to reflect separately on wider public services – such as police and social care – and interventions specifically designed for those who use abuse in their relationships.

Responses in both areas varied: some survivors had negative experiences of services and/or spoke about programmes with apprehension, whereas others spoke about interventions with optimism and saw a need for an expansion in services that seek to reduce the harm perpetrators pose. However, responses suggested a need for improvements in a wide range of public services, some of which, although well-intentioned, may be further harming victim/survivors.

This demonstrates why it is vital that every public or specialist service that comes into regular contact with perpetrators of abuse should be monitoring its impact and taking steps to ensure that what it is doing is safe and effective. This should be underpinned by training and workforce development to better equip professionals to recognise and respond to perpetrators. Only through gathering feedback and centring the experiences of victim/survivors can we ensure that interventions are reducing the risk that perpetrators pose and increasing safety for victim/survivors.

We would like to thank the victims and survivors who responded to our survey for taking the time to share their experiences with us, and re-commit The Drive Partnership to centring the voices and experiences of survivors in all of our work to end domestic abuse.