Drive to reduce domestic violence falls short
19 February 2016
Two senior lecturers at the International Policing & Justice Institute endorse the principles of the new Drive Project, which is aimed at: ‘dangerous offenders’ and ‘those thought to be at risk of causing serious harm or committing murder‘, but suggest that its scope is too narrow.
Angie Neville and Tony Blockley, both former serving officers, argue that this high-risk group excludes the vast majority of offenders who are perpetrating tens of thousands of crimes a year - many of which go unreported.
Tony Blockley explains: “Whilst the project is a real step forward it is important to recognise that there needs to be a universal programme to address the behaviours of the many thousands of offenders who are not categorised as ‘high risk’ but cause the vast majority of harm in terms of domestic violence offences and homicide.”
From the research that Neville and Blockley are conducting with victims of domestic abuse they have found that the victims of domestic abuse support this restorative approach and want their perpetrators to address their behaviour.
According to Angie Neville, who supports the overall aims of the Drive Project: “This project is unique in that it will deliver intensive one-to-one sessions for perpetrators, which will help them to understand and address their behaviours. From the victims perspective this is generally seen as a far more satisfactory outcome rather than pursuing the criminal justice path.”
Neville and Blockley’s conclusion is that developing such programmes provides a real opportunity to change behaviours at the source of the problem and not at the point of crisis - something that has been missing for some time - but the Drive Project is in danger missing the many and focusing on the few.