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University of Suffolk publishes evaluation of systems change

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Drive Systems Change Evaluation Report

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The University of Suffolk’s Institute of Social Justice and Crime has today published an independent evaluation of The Drive Partnership’s systems change work and impact.

The evaluation – commissioned by the Drive Partnership with support from The National Lottery Community Fund – examines the extent to which The Drive Partnership and The Drive Project have fostered local and national systems change in relation to working with those who cause harm by perpetrating domestic abuse.

Research was undertaken using a range of methods, with data gathered through literature reviews, a survey, interviews and focus groups, observations of multi-agency and internal meetings, and stakeholder mapping.

The evaluation found evidence of change at the local and national levels, including:

  • Changes in perspective regarding the necessity, acceptability, and efficacy of provision for those who cause harm, as well as a shift in accountability to those using harmful behaviours;
  • Enhanced information sharing and practice within local Drive Project sites;
  • Increased access to workforce development training on responding to perpetration;
  • The identification of systemic gaps in provision and development of interventions to address these;
  • Policy changes aligned with key messages and recommendations communicated by the Drive Partnership, including the introduction of a national perpetrator strategy in the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan (Home Office, 2022).

Based on their findings, evaluators framed a series of detailed recommendations which The Drive Partnership intends to take forward – both through the interventions delivered by the partnership and in their ongoing work to improve systems, policy and practice.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of The Drive Partnership, commented:

“The Drive Partnership’s central mission is to make victims and survivors of domestic abuse safer by transforming the response to perpetrators – disrupting, challenging, and changing the behaviour of those who are causing harm.

We are hugely grateful to the University of Suffolk for undertaking this evaluation and pleased to see such strong evidence of our impact – both in equipping local systems to respond better to those causing harm, and through shaping changes in attitudes and policy at a national level”.

Dr Olumide Adisa, Senior Research Fellow at University of Suffolk, added:

“Achieving and evidencing systems change in such a complex area of work presents many challenges, so we were pleased to collaborate with The Drive Partnership and apply critical systems thinking to their system-shifting activity.

We identified a number of key levers of change in our research, alongside implementation challenges and systemic gaps. We hope that the recommendations we have made will support The Drive Partnership to have lasting impact, igniting new conversations on changing the behaviour of those who are causing harm as well as inform broader systems change”.