Today the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a second programme aimed at tackling the root cause of domestic abuse – the perpetrators. Drive is an intensive intervention that works with high-harm and serial perpetrators to challenge behaviour and prevent abuse, while seeking to change the narrative around domestic abuse by focussing on perpetrators.

This programme, which has been jointly funded by the PCC and the Home Office for a total of £1.4m for 21 months, will see 175 perpetrators of domestic abuse in Birmingham and Sandwell over that period. Those areas were chosen due to the significant numbers of domestic abuse cases in the boroughs.

The intervention will be directly focussed on high-harm and serial perpetrators and is tailored to address primary needs to remove barriers to engagement and enable effective behaviour change work. This will include support for substance misuse, employment, and mental health issues, along with intensive one-to-one case management to tackle offending and hold perpetrators accountable for the abuse.

The Richmond Fellowship is delivering the programme in both areas, with an expert team of trained professionals, who work closely with statutory and voluntary agencies including the police, probation, mental health services, victim/survivor services, and children’s services, to prevent and end abuse. Victims/survivors will be provided with support throughout the Drive intervention.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands PCC said: “This pilot means that we are continuing to expand our work in the West Midlands to tackle domestic abuse. This programme will see £1.4m allocated over the next 21 months.

“I am very clear that while we need to focus on the victims of this type of abuse, we also need to address the attitudes and behaviour of perpetrators.

“Over the next 21 months I expect to see changes in the actions of perpetrators, through dealing with the underlying issues providers will better be able to tackle abusive behaviour.”

Deputy Chief Constable, Louisa Rolfe OBE who is the National Police Chief’s Council Lead for Domestic Abuse said: “The Drive Programme to date has been rigorously evaluated by leading academics and is proven to reduce offending.

“I am delighted that we can participate here in the West Midlands and continue to learn how we best support victims and reduce the horrific harm of domestic abuse.

“Over many years policing has improved its response to domestic abuse and we’ve got better at protecting victims and prosecuting offenders but we must also look at how we work with others to prevent it happening at all.  DRIVE offers us a great opportunity to do this.”
Drive was launched in 2016 and initially piloted in Essex, South Wales and West Sussex. Since then, the project has expanded to Croydon in London, West Mercia, another site in South Wales, and the West Midlands.

Drive has been highlighted in both the government’s VAWG strategy and the Domestic Abuse Bill for its innovative approach to working with perpetrators.

For more information on the Drive project  http://driveproject.org.uk/  or  @DriveProjectUK

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