How can parents who deny or minimise their behaviour receive a domestic abuse intervention?

Updated: Feb 3

Perpetrator programmes can only accept clients who accept their abusive behaviour, so where does this leave those who are willing to complete work but still deny or minimise their behaviour? This post will explain how DV-ACTION's motivational programme works with perpetrators in this position.



Most domestic abuse prevention programmes (DAPP's) do not allow perpetrators to attend if they do not admit to their abusive behaviour or heavily minimise incidents of abuse. This leaves social workers in child protection cases with no way to progress the case and keeps perpetrators in a state of entrenched denial with no opportunity to work on their behaviour. Pressure then rests solely on the victim to make changes and, in many cases, nothing further is done to engage the perpetrator in meaningful work to challenge their abusive behaviour.


To address this gap in provision DV-ACT experts have used their decades of experience in the field of domestic abuse to create a unique bespoke programme specifically for these perpetrators who have children in child protection measures and are willing to complete domestic abuse work. This programme of work aims to get perpetrators to the point at which they can attend a full perpetrator programme.


Who is this programme for?


The DV-ACTION motivational programme is designed to work with perpetrators in the UK where the family court or local authority have concerns regarding the risk of harm to children due to domestic abuse and they are currently unsuitable for a full DAPP due to denial and/or minimisation.


The programme is suitable for perpetrators who:

  • have been found unsuitable for a programme due to their denial/minimisation

  • deny or minimise abusive behaviour but are willing to participate in domestic abuse work

  • admit to low risk incidents but deny using high risk behaviour

The work is demanding and matched to the needs of the perpetrator and the child protection plan. We can work with; those that need a translator; female perpetrators; parents in court proceedings; those currently in a relationship and separated parents.


Please note that this is a motivational programme with the aim of getting perpetrators to the point at which they are suitable to attend a full domestic abuse programme (DAPP) and is not a replacement for a full DAPP.



What does the programme cover?


The programme sessions are tailored to the needs of the perpetrator and will cover the following:


  • identifying the source of resistance

  • motivational work

  • understanding the cycle of violence and abuse

  • gains and losses from changing behaviour

  • understanding the impact of domestic abuse on children

  • understanding the Local Authorities concerns

  • viewing DAPP material to prepare for a full programme

  • cultural challenges.


As this is a bespoke programme delivered on a one to one basis, there can be a particular focus on specific areas of concern and further sessions can be included to meet the requirements of the child protection plan.



How is the programme delivered?


The programme is delivered on a one-to-one basis by an experienced domestic abuse specialist perpetrator treatment worker. If the client has not first completed a full risk or joint assessment with DV-ACT an initial suitability assessment will need to be completed. Sessions will then take place either once or twice a week via video calling depending upon the needs of the client and the stage that the case is at. There will be an additional session towards the end of the programme where an expert assessor will meet with the client in order to complete the final assessment report.


Sessions can be completed using an interpreter, should this be required.


Will the programme include a final report?


For those that have not first completed a risk/joint assessment at DV-ACT a suitability report will be provided setting out the agreed treatment goals, what the programme will cover and how long it will take. Where clients are found unsuitable DV-ACT will provide a letter, setting out the reasons why they are unsuitable for this programme.


A detailed final report is provided following the conclusion of the work including the following:

  • sessions missed/attended;

  • what the sessions covered;

  • whether the perpetrator has met the targets outlined at the beginning of the work;

  • recommendations for further work;

  • recommendations for risk management strategies.


For the preservation of objectivity, all reports are completed by assessors independent from the practitioner completing the work. As this report is completed by an expert assessor it can be used with confidence in court proceedings – all DV-ACT assessors are experienced expert witnesses.



How long will it take?


The length of time that the programme will take is decided on a case by case basis and depends upon the needs of the child protection plan and whether a report is required urgently for court proceedings.


Sessions usually take place once a week although double or twice weekly sessions may be possible. At a minimum, the programme will take 7 weeks to complete or 10 weeks as a maximum, however, any filing dates given will depend upon attendance. A final report will be provided 2 weeks after completion.



What is the cost of the programme?


The cost of the programme will need to be met by the local authority as the Legal Aid Agency does not fund treatment (although it may be possible to get LAA funding for the assessment part of the work). The fees for a standard 6 session intervention is as follows:


Suitability assessment (where no previous DV-ACT assessment completed) - £440 (+VAT)


Programme and final report filed upon completion - £1670 (+VAT)


Further questions


If you have any further questions about the programme or wish to make a referral please contact the programmes team at programmes@dvact.org or call on 0203 9678368. If you would like to discuss a specific case a call back can be arranged with one of our clinical managers.



About us



DV-ACT Programmes are a division of DV-ACT Ltd. DV-ACT comprises a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, who provide assessments, consultancy training and treatment programmes to local authorities and the family courts.


DV-ACT was formed with the aim of using our expertise to help safeguard children from abuse, this is at the heart of everything that we do. You can find out more about us by visiting out blog post Who runs DV-ACTION Bespoke Programmes? or visit our main company website at dvact.org.

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