Splitz works with male perpetrators of domestic abuse - in fact in Wiltshire, we deliver a highly regarded and successful (Respect Accredited) 25 week programme to tackle male perpetrating and abusive behaviour.
The Turnaround programme is lengthy, complex, but successful. However it can only offer a limited number of places. In the current debate around means of preventing violence to women and girls, we fully sign up to the need for early intervention and coordinated community response to make better use of the critical opportunities for identification and support. It is a travesty that, as a recent Department of Communities and Local Government review found (cited in the VAWG Strategy 2016 - 2020 page 37) that 85% of victims of domestic abuse sought help from professionals at least five times before getting the support they need.
However, as domestic abuse has one of the highest percentages of repeat victimisation, we ask the question, 'what about the perp?' All the fantastic support from community services, Police, courts, refuges basically often leaves an unreformed, often angrier, controller to victimise all over again. What follows is an useful guide - in our experience - of what perpetrators do.
What do perpetrators do?
Perpetrators seek to down play the impact of their abuse and fail to admit or acknowledge the extent of the harm that they cause. This can take many forms:
• complete denial;
• inclusion (perpetrators include only abuse that has become public);
• forgetting, blanking out and ‘not knowing’;
• normalising (presenting behaviour as if it was not important):
• denying the impact on children (evidence suggests that in 90 percent of domestic assaults, children are in the same or next room); and
• denying that they have responsibility, instead blaming the victim or other problems, such as substance misuse, stress, or mental illness.
A recent Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report contained a quote from a women victim:
“When the police turned up – he had been loud, violent, aggressive, smashing things and hitting me. By the time the police arrived – what they would have met is me – very frightened, very panicky, very emotional, very trembley – house smashed, not making much sense and him a very gathered gentleman, fantastically well educated, calm, saying he’d never laid a hand on me.”
It should go without saying that all women and girls must be kept safe - no woman should live in fear, and every girl should grow up knowing she is safe, so that she can have the best start in life.
So, we ask the question again - 'what do we do about the perps?'