Stanley, Nicky, Graham-kevan, Nicola and Borthwick, Rachel
Fathers and Domestic Violence - building motivation for change through perpetrator programmes.
Child Abuse Review, 21
Men's intersecting identities as fathers and as perpetrators of domestic violence are increasingly acknowledged in research and practice and children's social services are referring such men to perpetrator programmes. This paper draws on the evaluation of a newly established voluntary programme for male perpetrators of domestic violence in north-east England to consider how men's involvement with children's social services and fathering roles shaped motivation to engage with a process of change.
The evaluation drew on project throughput data and background information on programme participants as well as interviews undertaken with men and their partners. Men who were currently involved with children's social services were found to be more likely than other programme participants to engage with the programme for more than five sessions. The desire to secure or regain access to their children or to avoid care proceedings was an extrinsic form of motivation that appeared effective in securing men's initial engagement with the programme. However, children could also function as a form of intrinsic motivation with men developing their awareness of the impact of abusive behaviour on children and viewing their participation in the programme as a means of becoming a ‘better father’.