Updated: Jan 11, 2022
DV-ACT are an established team of experts that have worked together for many years helping to keep children safe from domestic abuse. Read more to find out about our aims, where we came from and who we are.
DV-ACTION Programmes were launched in January 2022 by DV-ACT Ltd. DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts who have worked together for many years with the primary aim of using our expertise to keep children safe from abuse.
Where did we come from?
DV-ACT was formed in 2018 by former members of the DVIP family court team Ruth Phillips, Tracey Boylan and Claire Verney. DVIP was a pioneering London charity known for its domestic abuse perpetrator programme but also providing other domestic abuse services. The family court team within DVIP was a small group of specialists that developed out of the need to advise the court on matters of risk posed by domestic abuse.
In 2018 DVIP’s journey took a different turn when they became absorbed into Richmond Fellowship, a mental health charity with a far-reaching remit. The majority of our team felt that the time was right to develop and provide expert services independently.
We place a high value on professionalism and our independence means that we now have the flexibility to deliver the most suitable interventions, to find creative and realistic means of managing risk and to devise bespoke treatment packages. We take a principled stance with the welfare of children at the centre of our concerns.
DVACT have gone from strength to strength and our experts have provided training, treatment work and expert assessments for courts and local authorities nationwide.
Who are we?
DV-ACT comprises experts with many years of experience in delivering domestic abuse interventions. Our clinical work is overseen by 2 clinical managers with a director/ practice manager ensuring the day to day running of the business.
Tracey Boylan - DV-ACT Clinical Manager
Tracey, has more than 30 years’ experience of working with victims and perpetrators whilst holding responsibility for strategic development, project development and staff training for various organisations. Accredited by Respect, Tracey was the manager of the DVIP family court team and an expert assessor for 13 years. In the Probation Service, she was part of the development team that first introduced domestic violence programmes such as IDAP. She has created and implemented intervention programmes for domestic violence perpetrators and victims nationwide.
Tracey also has expertise in Anger Management, where she led a successful clinic at Newbury General Hospital, and in working with adolescents and family violence. She has extensive experience of providing training to professionals and working as an expert assessor in care proceedings. She holds postgraduate qualifications in Criminology and Social Work.
Dr Ruth Phillips - DV-ACT Clinical Manager
DV-ACT Clinical Manager, Ruth, has 15 years’ experience of working with vulnerable adults and young people, and has specialized in work with domestic violence victims and perpetrators since 2010. Most recently she has worked in treatment and assessment roles, including both as a facilitator of intervention work with domestic violence perpetrators, as an expert assessor in care proceedings and as a research associate at Manchester University.
She has authored a number of domestic violence-related reports and evaluations as well as a briefing paper and a book chapter in conjunction with her doctoral research on domestic violence perpetrator programmes. Ruth holds a postgraduate degree in Social Sciences and a Doctorate in Social Policy, where she specialised in evaluating perpetrator treatment.
Claire Verney DV-ACT Director and Practice Manager
I come from a background in administration and mental health support, with experience in both corporate organisations and the charity sector. I have been working alongside this team since 2011 and, throughout this time, have handled enquiries in complex child care proceedings and managed court ordered activity cases in private law.
With a thorough knowledge of the nature of the work I have worked directly with victims of domestic and sexual abuse. I have a diploma in domestic violence and abuse and am currently working towards a BSc honours degree in Psychology.
Our team of assessors and treatment workers
Many of our independent assessors moved with us directly from DVIP and our team has expanded throughout the pandemic to include a number of highly experienced treatment workers. Our team of experts have many years of experience as experts in the field of domestic abuse with a proven track record of direct work with victims and perpetrators.
So where did DV-ACTION programmes come from?
During the pandemic DV-ACT expanded the bespoke treatment model to reach clients using remote video calling apps. We found that attendance greatly improved when using this technology, in particular, mothers benefitted from not having to arrange travel and childcare to attend appointments. Working in this way meant that we were then able to introduce a blended learning format to our programmes increasing the likelihood of effective and sustained change.
What makes DV-ACTION different?
DV-ACTION Bespoke Programmes are unique because:
We put children at the heart of domestic abuse interventions - the safety and wellbeing of the child/ren is at the centre of every intervention we deliver
We are an agency for change - All of our programmes are designed with the goal of promoting effective and lasting change in parents behaviour
We provide interventions that are accessible - Our virtual programmes solve the issue of parents being unable to attend programmes due to travel, ill health or child care. Sessions are designed to connect with parents, taking into account the needs of the child protection plan and their learning style.
All of our interventions are tailored to the individual case - As our programmes are delivered on a one to one basis, we can meet the needs of those unable to attend mainstream programmes, such as the need for an interpreter or if there are specific issues such as female violence.
We only use domestic abuse experts to deliver interventions - Domestic abuse work requires particular expertise. It cannot be assumed that those with experience in psychology, training, education or other areas of child protection work, have the specialist knowledge and experience to work with parents who pose a risk to children due to domestic violence and abuse.
We always provide a full final assessment report - Confidentiality rules often preclude the reporting of progress to family courts, leaving professionals with a gap in their evidence, or even an assumption that engagement in such programmes equates to real change or reduction in risk. Therefore, all of our programmes include a full final report that can be used in court with assessors attending as expert witnesses if required.
What treatment programmes can DV-ACTION provide?
DV-ACTION provides a ground breaking blended learning programme for mothers where the family court or local authority has concerns regarding ongoing vulnerability to domestic abuse. We also offer bespoke programmes for perpetrators including a full 18 sessions DAPP and a motivational programme for perpetrators who do not fully accept their abusive behaviour.
DV-ACT also provides the following services to local authorities and the family courts:
Domestic abuse risk and vulnerability assessments of parents and third parties involved in child protection measures.
Sex offender risk assessments
Training on all areas relating to domestic abuse.
Consultancy on domestic abuse cases for organisations and teams.
Management and consultancy to set up or evaluate domestic abuse projects.