Research carried out by Durham and London Metropolitan University has suggested that sexual and physical violence perpetrated by men can be prevented if the offender attends a targeted programme.
The research showed that the majority of men changed their behaviour after going on a course, Chronicle Live reports.
Consequently, Durham University’s Professor Nicole Westmarland is calling for more funding for domestic violence perpetrator programmes (DVPPs) to help to reduce widespread domestic violence that leaves a serious damage on families, women and their children.
The results of the study found that more women reported being physically injured prior to the programme (60%) in comparison to after it (2%). Also, over half of the women reported feeling safer after the programme (8%) in comparison to before the programme (51%).
It was also found that 30% of men forced women to perform sexual acts prior to the programme but none did so after they had attended a course. Furthermore, the cases of men using a weapon against their partner decreased enormously from 29% to zero.
Professor Westmarland, the author of the report at the university’s Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, stated that the courses enabled the abusers to change the ‘king in the castle’ approach to their relationships and taught them the effect that their behaviour had on their children.
She further stated, “This research sends out a clear message that although they don’t turn around everyone’s behaviour, in the end women and children felt safer and for most of the women and children their lives were improved.
“Our data shows that most men are able to take steps towards positive change with the help of a domestic violence perpetrator programme and although there is more work to be done, we are quite optimistic about the ability of these programmes to play a role in ending domestic violence.”
“The Government should be saying that this is a step in the right direction and funding more of these programmes.”
Whilst some DVVPs are criticised by some for having the potential to produce ‘better and more manipulative’ abusers, it was noted that this study did not support that claim and instead the programmes provide useful techniques to the offenders in how to control violence and abuse.
Women partners and ex-partners are offered ongoing support by a women’s support worker and are informed about their partner’s attendance and engagement with the programme.
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