Never waste a crisis: Initiatives responding to men who use violence during COVID-19

Humphreys, Cathy, Richardson Foster, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1871-1578, Robinson, Michele, Sijnja, Jennifer, McKibbin, Gemma and Stanley, Nicky orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7644-1625 (2023) Never waste a crisis: Initiatives responding to men who use violence during COVID-19. Journal of Gender-Based Violence . ISSN 2398-6808

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A crisis creates a time when normal problem-solving mechanisms are thrown into disarray. The COVID-19 pandemic plunged individuals and service systems into crisis. While recognising the destructive impact on health and well-being for those involved, the aim of this study was to explore opportunities for change created during a crisis, addressing the question: What has been learnt under COVID-19 about delivering domestic abuse services to perpetrators in the UK and Australia? Documentary analysis (31 documents reviewed in Australia, and 180 searched and analysed in the UK) and interviews (24 interviews with practitioners and policy and practice leads in the UK, and 11 interviews, and one focus group in Australia) were used to explore innovations in responses to perpetrators. Two key shifts in the delivery of services to men who use violence were identified: the pivot to remote delivery; and the emergence of interventions to provide accommodation and support for perpetrators. The study demonstrated that the policy window could open at a time of crisis to support innovative developments. Early evaluations highlighted positive developments. However, further research is needed to understand more fully the implications for safety and accountability.

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