HELP on hand to address domestic abuse

HELP on hand to address domestic abuse image

Interserve has launched a pioneering intervention aimed at preventing young adult males from committing domestic abuse.

The company owns five Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) that provide rehabilitative services to 25 per cent of low and medium risk offenders across the country.

Interserve has a team of experts who are developing new interventions to address offending behaviour. Roy Cook, interventions lead, and Cindy Green, interventions developer, have decades of experience working with people convicted of domestic abuse and domestic violence related offences and they have also worked extensively with victims. In addition, they have worked with families identified as being at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system to stop problems from developing.

Interserve rolled out HELP, a programme for male domestic abuse offenders developed by Roy and Cindy, across its CRCs in 2018. They have now expanded the suite of interventions by making a version of HELP specifically for 18 to 24-year-old males.

Pilot programmes are running at the Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire CRC and its effectiveness is being analysed by Dr Rebecca Woolford, Interserve’s research officer.

Roy said: “Often the young men I work with will talk about seeing domestic abuse when growing up in their own home. They describe how upsetting this was, but they themselves have gone on to act in similar ways.

“This shows there’s an inter-generational problem and a lot more needs to be done to help people break free from this cycle.”

HELP for 18 to 24-year-olds works with individuals early, before serious offending has taken place and family situations worsen. The approach recognises that the young men sentenced to complete the intervention typically have a number of factors which contribute to harming their ability to form healthy relationship.

Roy said: “Traditionally domestic abuse courses treat young offenders as if they are generally functioning well but have a specific problem with relationships.

“There are a range of factors that impact the young men and their ability to form relationships. The reality is that they may lack maturity, a positive circle of friends, a supportive family and employment – to name a few key issues.

“Purely focusing on a young adult’s ability to form healthy relationships won’t stop problems developing because the offence is only part of a much wider problem. Success can only be achieved by taking a holistic approach.”

The intervention includes support on how participants create and maintain positive relationships but reinforces this with other elements, such as help with employment, training and education as well as health and well-being.

Interserve Learning & Employment, an education and training provider, delivers part of the service. ILE provides staff and mentors who offer services to every participant to help them make lifestyle changes and to improve their employment opportunities.

Roy said: “Often the men we work with are young people in adult situations, like looking after their own and their partner’s children. But they haven’t necessarily got the parenting skills, nor the experience of a stable family background, to give them the ability to do this well.

“To flourish as a parent, you need to have had positive emotional experiences and to be able to provide stability. Maintaining healthy relationships is clearly of fundamental importance, but it is only one part of the jigsaw.

“I strongly believe that the wrap-around approach we have developed provides the right support needed to help people make lasting positive changes to their lives.”