- Date: 23/02/2023
167 high-risk and high-harm domestic abuse perpetrators supported by Glow.
Honeycomb Group domestic abuse charity Glow is on a mission to address, overcome and end domestic abuse. This includes working with perpetrators to change their behaviour and prevent future abuse.
Since May 2021, Glow's specialist perpetrator service has worked with 167 high-risk and high-harm perpetrators. Out of those, 173 partners and 372 children were impacted by their behaviour.
Also in that time, the service delivered 273 support sessions, both face-to-face and via prison video link. The team also worked with over 20 external agencies including children’s social care, the police and the IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) service.
Service Manager Clare has shared the story of customer Tony*, a high-risk perpetrator of domestic abuse who was referred to her team from MARAC (multi-agency risk assessment conference). Tony has worked with his Glow Case Manager for over a year, after his ex-partner came forward to report domestic abuse.
“When we met Tony he had several needs,” explained Clare. “He was a serial perpetrator of abuse and had been violent and emotionally abusive towards his ex-partner. He physically assaulted her and threatened to seriously harm and kill her.
“He threatened to kidnap their child, who had regularly witnessed the violence and emotional abuse that he carried out. He was also dependent on alcohol, a regular cannabis user, unemployed and living in temporary accommodation.”
The first step for the team was to find out as much information as possible about Tony and his current situation. They worked with professionals and other agencies to achieve this.
“We learned that he had a new partner,” said Clare. “Housing services reported that he was very attentive, caring and supportive towards her. He’d even answer the phone for her. For us, these were the first red flags as it indicated love bombing and coercive, controlling behaviour. We also found out that his new partner was pregnant, so this was disclosed to children’s social care. To make sure his new partner was as informed as possible, we got in touch and supported her to apply for Clare’s Law.”
Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), gives people the right to know if their current or ex-partner has any previous history of violence or abuse. The law is named after Clare Wood, who was killed by her abusive ex-partner in 2009.
“This gave Tony’s new partner information about his past behaviour,” explained Clare. “We wanted her to have all the information available to her so she could make an informed choice about the relationship. She was supported by different services who helped her to recognise coercive and controlling behaviour. She had a full package of support in place, which first showed Tony that there were consequences for his previous behaviour.”
Following these first steps, Tony began working with his Glow Case Manager on behaviour change work. This was due to start after his trial for offences against his ex-partner. He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to a community order with license conditions, a fine and had to attend the Building Better Relationships programme. He also went through family court but failed to provide drug and alcohol tests, which resulted in more consequences.
Clare continued: “Tony’s Case Manager talked through everything with him. They looked at his behaviour, his actions and their consequences. He slowly moved away from constantly blaming the system to thinking about his own behaviour and being accountable for his actions. He started to realise the importance of meeting expectations placed onto him and the boundaries he needed to keep to if he was to have contact with his new baby. His Case Manager provided a compassionate but challenging ear to listen and explore his feelings in new, positive ways.”
When Tony started working with our perpetrator service, he had several goals. He wanted to build a positive relationship with his child, move into his own accommodation and find a job. After a year of support, he now has a job, his own accommodation and is maintaining his relationship with his new partner. He isn’t abusive towards her and is able to have supervised contact with his new baby. Children’s social care services are involved and will continue to be until he has complied with drug and alcohol testing for family court.
“These are all small steps, but we hope he now has an understanding of what a healthy relationship is, both with his partner and children,” said Clare. "We work with perpetrators to reduce the risk to the partners and children impacted by them. When we support a perpetrator to change their behaviour, this doesn’t just impact them. It also changes the lives of partners – past, present and future.”