The None in Three team in the UK were pleased to welcome Alicia and Rob from Doncaster Family Services Team on Wednesday 11th September.
Alicia Lee, Team Manager of the Domestic Abuse Navigator Service, and Rob Keane, Perpetrator Engagement Worker, work closely together to deliver a range of interventions for the whole family where domestic abuse is present. The Navigator Service is one of the first of its kind in the country offering a holistic approach to domestic abuse. Interventions for the victim (survivor), the children, the perpetrator and the family as a whole (if risk levels allow) are available. Current formal evaluations are positive and the service offers potential for certain families to stay together. The Caring Dads programme run by Rob and a colleague is one of those interventions that we were eager to hear and learn more about on their recent visit.
Caring Dads is a group intervention programme for men who have perpetrated violence and/or abuse to their partner, leaving children witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse. The programme aims to challenge and support men to change their behaviour, understand the potential trauma they could cause to their children and partner and use different strategies. Understanding the developmental needs of children to encourage fathers to be better role models for their children is a key aim.
In Doncaster, the programme is being used to support fathers who wish to maintain positive relationships with their children. In some cases, it forms part of the package of intensive support that allows families to remain together.
While here, Alicia and Rob met with our research team and spoke with them about the shared challenges we face in working directly with both survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence. This included a discussion on the importance of overcoming harmful ideas about male entitlement, particularly around the role that power and control plays in men’s aggressive and violent behaviours.
We also talked about the effects of the language we use as researchers and social care professionals who work directly with both survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence. Specifically, how the words ‘survivor’ and ‘perpetrator’ can be perceived as labels, which can create barriers that prevent us from opening a dialogue that is more inclusive and perhaps less defining.
We were delighted to let Alicia and Rob gets ‘hands on’ with the current version of our UK computer game aimed at 14 – 18 year olds. This is developing well and we are able to show how effective a fully interactive and immersive experience can be in helping to deepen the player’s understanding of adolescent dating violence.
Both None in Three and Caring Dads are united in our conviction that intervention is a vital strategy in addressing the issue of gender-based violence. Through our computer games, we seek to engage our audience in a discussion about recognising (and ultimately challenging) unhealthy behaviours within relationships which unfortunately are all too readily normalised.
Alicia and Rob were hugely impressed by the work that we are doing here, and are already keen to come back to spend more time with the team and to see how our UK based educational intervention is progressing.