How Virtual Attendance is Removing Barriers to Treatment

Digital delivery has proved to remove some of the practical barriers to participation, with DV-ACT's vulnerability programme showing record completion rates.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 many organisations moved to digital delivery in order to keep services running, using video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Teams. This transition has worked well for all DV-ACT interventions and has been shown to bring several benefits including more flexibility with timings and increased parent participation. In particular, DV-ACT has found that remote working has been incredibly beneficial to victims of domestic abuse who are completing our vulnerability programme for mothers.


Pre-pandemic our programme was completed in a face to face setting with clients expected to arrange childcare and travel to social work offices to complete sessions. The session attendance rate at this time was 70% with only 2 thirds of clients completing the full programme of work. However, since programme sessions moved to digital delivery we have seen a massive improvement in our completion rate. Our programme now has a 100% completion rate for every client who starts the programme and attends sessions digitally.


How has DV-ACT achieved a 100% completion rate?


During the pandemic in 2020/2021 DV-ACT ran a 10 session vulnerability programme for mothers in child protection measures. The sessions were designed for mothers where; there is an enduring emotional attachment to the abuser; the abuse has impacted their ability to make safe decisions, or they have a history of difficulties in permanently escaping the relationship. To find out more about this work visit our post How do DV-ACT experts work with mothers to reduce their vulnerability?


The following factors have contributed to our improved completion and attendance rate:


1. Experienced domestic abuse treatment workers


Clients are allocated to a dedicated treatment worker who specialises in domestic abuse treatments with many years of experience in working with victims of domestic abuse and violence.


2. Collaborative working


The client's programme of work is created collaboratively between the treatment worker, client and an expert risk assessor this helps to give clients a sense of agency and control over their treatment plan.


3. Clear treatment plans


Treatment plans are clearly set out at the beginning of the work bringing focus and challenge to the sessions.


4. Digital delivery


Completing the work online means that many practical barriers to attendance have been removed or improved, childcare is more manageable, travel time and costs are no longer an issue and clients have stated that they feel more comfortable completing such emotionally challenging work in their home environment.


5. Providing technology for those who need it


For those that do not have access to suitable technology (ie laptop or tablet) DV-ACT provide an android tablet that the client can keep after the programme has finished. This helps the client to fully engage in the treatment sessions and both they and their children can continue to benefit from the technology into the future.


6. Final assessment report always included


A final assessment report is always provided, with clients attending a final session with an expert risk assessor upon completion of the programme. This means that clients can demonstrate their progress on issues of concern to the court/local authority.


Moving forward with the new DV-ACTION Programme


DV-ACT has now developed a brand new blended learning treatment programme for mothers with DV-ACTION programmes. Rather than the ad-hoc efforts delivered during the pandemic, our new programme is designed specifically designed as a blended learning online course. 1:1 sessions with an expert treatment worker continue to take place via video calling but clients are also given access to online materials on a purpose-built learning platform that aims to reinforce the learning at home between sessions and after completion.


Each client has topics relevant to their treatment plan released each week with learning, interactive activities and reflective material set that is matched to their needs and learning style. This groundbreaking new programme gives clients access to a wealth of learning and resources which they can continue to use for as long as they wish after their 10 session programme has ended. In this way, we can promote lasting change and continue to support mothers as they recover from the abuse they have experienced, repair their relationships with their children and plan for future relationships. Further questions

If you have any further questions about the programme, need a quote for the costs or estimated completion date please contact me, Claire Verney, at programmes@dvact.org or call on 0203 9678368. About us

DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, who provide assessments, consultancy and training to local authorities and the family courts. Our experts have decades of experience working directly with domestic abuse perpetrators and victims, as specialist assessors and as expert witnesses in 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 read more about us in our post Who are DV-ACT?