Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes

What is a Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme?

Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes (DVPPs) are delivered in Private Law cases in the Family Courts, under sections 11A-G Children Act 1989 (as amended by the Children and Adoption Act 2006) as ’Contact Activities’.

DVPPs are designed for use in some types of cases where Domestic Violence has been identified as a concern related to a Family Proceedings case. DVPP is a group programme for men to develop their skills and understanding, enabling them to:

• Improve their relationship with their ex-partner and where relevant, their current partner 
• Ensure, as far as is possible, their use of violence and abusive behaviour towards a partner is not repeated 
• Develop safe, positive parenting 
• Increase their awareness of themselves and the effect of the domestic violence on their ex- partner and children 
• Resolve conflicts in intimate relationships non-abusively 

DVPP groups are of between 8-12 men, take place outside working time and weekly sessions last for between 2 and 2.5 hours over about 6 months.  Every DVPP has a parallel service that supports partners and ex-partners at risk from domestic violence and this service is offered to the partner and ex-partner of any man assessed for the DVPP.

In all cases referred by the courts DVPP providers will assess an individual’s suitability for the programme.  Cafcass is available to provide advice to the court about suitability and appropriateness of requiring participation in DVPP, and the management of contact during and after DVPP, depending on progress.

The DVPP reports back to Cafcass on attendance, participation and significant changes in risk during attendance and at the end of the programme, thus enabling this information to be reported to the court.

Child contact must be safe and appropriate before, during, and following any DVPP, in line with the child's welfare, also taking account of the safety needs of the other parent.  Relevant guidance about these types of cases is set out in ‘Contact and Domestic Violence’ (Sturge and Glaser; Fam Law Sept 2000) and the Practice Direction: Residence and Contact Orders: Domestic Violence and Harm (14 January 2009)

The DVPP course is free to any participants ordered to attend by court in Private Law cases.

In cases where Domestic Violence is  alleged and the perpetrator accepts either in whole or in part the allegations then attendance at a DVPP may be an appropriate course of action.

The court should be satisfied that attendance at such a course would help in promoting safe contact or residence with an alleged perpetrator and would help the court in the final outcome for the child.

The Court should be mindful that such courses are not anger management courses but aim to assist the participants to address behaviours identified above. 

In the Court feels this is an appropriate course of action then the order should reflect a Contact Activity Order has been made and that Cafcass should make the necessary referral to one of the providers. Referrals can be made country wide if this is required.

Providers are limited but new providers are being approved. It is helpful where possible, if there has not been any prior discussion with Cafcass it the Court does dot name the provider. This will allow for some flexibility.

Probation

If you are currently receiving support from a Probation Officer, it is possible that he or she may be able to provide a domestic violence perpetrators' course. Generally, should a Court be informed that a person is accessing one of the services provided by Probation it will request a report from that organisation. It is helpful for the Court to allow the organisation to see a copy of the order, which should set what the Court wants to know. It is likely the Court will ask for information as to the users attendance, engagement and likely further involvement with the organisation.

Anger Management Courses

Further information on Anger Management and Domestic Violence Courses can be found on the Counselling Page in the “Links and Contacts” section.

Domestic Violence Support Services

A list of and links to domestic violence support services can be found by going to the Women’s Aid website here. The telephone number for the freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is 0808 2000 247.

If you are a man who is the victim of domestic violence the Men’s Advice Line also provides support and advice. Their Telephone number is 0808 801 0327

Net mums has excellent resources details for helping victims of domestic violence here.

You can also contact you local authority who may be able to signpost you to a local service. Local Authority contact details can be found here.

COVER YOUR TRACKS - If you are a victim of domestic violence don’t forget that someone with access to your computer can see where you have been on the internet. For advice of covering your tracks, click here.
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