In the press this week is news of the launch of the Government's consultation on violence against women. The consultation document is a pretty easy read and contains some interesting information and ideas about the prevention of violence against women and ways to protect them from it (some of it likely to be controversial such as the idea of a domestic violence perpetrators register which has been the subject of public criticism already). I have had a brief read of it and notably absent is the mention of programmes to assist perpetrators of domestic violence to change their behaviour and lives.
The government recently brought into force the provisions of the Children & Adoption Act 2006 which includes the power to make contact activity directions including by sending violent fathers (or mothers) on perpetrators programmes. The provision is geographically patchy - supporting this new legislation and initiative would be one way of working towards reducing violence against women. If men can be helped to eliminate their violent or abusive behaviour they would not pose a risk to the mother of their children or subsequent partners, and the chances of their children repeating their patterns of behaviour would be reduced. Support for women is better but often clients I meed need psychological services not available on the NHS (or not available in a reasonable timeframe). If women can be helped through counselling or psychological services to become less vulnerable to abusive relationships, to make better partner choices they will be less likely to lurch from frying pan to refuge to fire. Not everyone is a candidate for change, but where it works it would be far more effecitve than putting a name on a register.
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