Interserve’s work to reduce domestic violence

An intervention that addresses behaviours linked to domestic abuse is being rolled out across Interserve’s Community Rehabilitation Companies.

Help was developed by Merseyside CRC’s Roy Cook, together with support from colleagues. It is part of the new strategy being implemented as part of Interserve’s Domestic Abuse Guidance.

The programme began as a voluntary course, with people being referred by social and health care services, children and family services and housing associations. It is also suitable for people convicted of low level domestic abuse offences.

The project focuses on individual relationships, but in addition takes a broad and holistic view of people’s behaviour. Help augments more traditional interventions such as Building Better Relationships (BBR).

Roy said: “We are in the business of supporting change. Our aim is to help people to have healthy relationships.

“Help absolutely fits within the ethos that Interchange is promoting. We need to intervene according to the individual’s needs, so a two-tiered approach in which you have BBR and Help meets that requirement.

“Lots of people in our communities are struggling in their relationships. We can offer guidance and support to help them grow those relationships.”

Help is already being run successfully in Merseyside, Cheshire and HLNY CRC and works with non-statutory cases, as well as CRC and National Probation Service cases.

Roy said: “Evidence continually shows that getting the right level of intervention to the service user is of crucial importance. It stands to reason that mixing low-end and high-end domestic abuse perpetrators is counterproductive.

“Interchange emphasizes the importance of working with service users towards joint aims. Help supports individuals to say what they want to achieve – for example playing a positive role in their children’s lives – and sets goals and provides learning which will enable them to achieve that aim.

“I am really, really pleased that Help is now being rolled out to a larger group of people because I have seen firsthand the benefits that it brings and the way it can act as a catalyst to change attitudes and relationships for the better.

“But working with people to promote change doesn’t just come from a programme in isolation, it comes from team work and from the service user’s motivation. That is what makes the Domestic Abuse Guidance so special, because it is looking at the individual as a whole and providing a holistic approach to supporting that change.”

Roy added: “If you attach a stigma to what people have done it’s not going to help anyone make the positive change that’s necessary.”