Islington’s plague of domestic violence could be solved by rehabilitation, experts claim
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Study shows massive drop in forced sexual acts and use of weapons after programme
The domestic violence that plagues Islington could be a step closer to being solved thanks to groundbreaking research by a Holloway college.
According to experts at London Metropolitan University, in Holloway Road, the vast majority of men who abuse their partners stop their physical and sexual violence if they attend a domestic violence perpetrator programme (DVPP).
During the study, the first of its kind in the UK, the team found before attending the programme a third of men in the sample made women do something sexual against their will, but none did after.
Cases of the men using a weapon against their partner reduced from 29 per cent to zero and far fewer women reported being physically injured after the programme; 61 per cent before compared to 2 per cent after.
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Professor Nicole Westmarland, one of the report’s authors, said: “Our data shows that most men are able to take steps towards positive change with the help of a domestic violence perpetrator programme and although there is more work to be done, we are quite optimistic about the ability of these programmes to play a role in ending domestic violence.”
Fellow author Professor Liz Kelly added: “One of our contributions is to explore change in a more rounded way, including for children.
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“On virtually all of our measures and indicators movement was in a positive direction, and we found no evidence that men shift to more subtle forms of abuse.”
DVPPs are re-education programmes for men - in this study they were community based and not ordered by a court.
This approach to domestic violence controversial, with critics claiming they lead to better and more manipulative abusers by bringing them together.
Although the researchers recognise there is more work to be done, they found little support for the idea that the programmes could have this kind of harmful effect.
There are about 4,000 reported cases of domestic violence each year in Islington, with the number on the rise, costing the borough an estimated £26million.