On Monday we posted a piece with a link to the BBC Panorama documentary, Can Violent Men Change?, available on iPlayer for BBC licence holders for the coming 11 months.
David Eggins and Denise Knowles are doing sterling work with perpetrators of domestic violence, they run TEMPER! Domestic Violence. David has sent me his thoughts on the programme, reproduced below with his permission. They take up the remainder of this blog piece.
“Firstly I’d like to express our admiration and gratitude to Katie Hindley and her team at Rogan Productions for the enormous effort and patience involved in filming probably about 170 hours of our work, and of attending 3 or 4 courses, one to take part so that she could experience the impact of the work on individuals and also gain insights into how it might be filmed and what some of the enormous issues are, another to practice filming it and two other courses which were largely filmed. Her patience and dedication and sheer good humour and determination in the production of what we see as a well-balanced programme, albeit depicting the plight of a very small range of the many men she has seen who have been involved with us in this kind of work. That was our experience of the film production. There was then, of course, additionally her involvement with all of the other contributors.
I should also like to pay tribute to Sibi for his enormous bravery in agreeing to expose himself to some very uncomfortable scenes and experiences and, of course, some enormous subsequent anxieties before the filming, which he has handled manfully.
Our thanks also to the many guys whose willing contributions didn’t make it into the final cut.
In very correctly seeking to produce a balanced programme for the digestion of the general public there were of course very many issues which got left out, and one or two minor mistakes.
We do offer a very limited service to victims of domestic violence but try hard to attach them to “main-stream” victim supporters.
The programme wobbled a little between two abuser programmes. The other organisation’s statistics were quoted as 50% completion – excellent compared with DVIP / Duluth completion outcomes. Our completion statistics were not quoted: more than 90% of men that start it complete our programme and more than 95% of very many fewer women.
We have to remember that the over-riding government strategy is The Prevention of Violence to Women and Girls. In the domestic violence arena why this would exclude boys is something of a mystery or oversight – it could so easily have read “children”. But maybe that would have meant that boys had to be acceptable in refuges!
I’ll write a brief paragraph about some of the other issues, inevitably they go into the realms of politics, finances, Duluth, completion statistics, Social Services, Cafcass, the range of domestic abusers, the total absence of female domestic abusers.
Finances. The tattooed woman bemoaned the lack of finance for her female victim supporting organisation. That was her take. The blogger William Collins has very carefully gathered together information about the funding of Women’s Aid and the refuge movement. You can check out his findings yourself but from my old man’s memory, the female victim supporting industry employs something like 7,700 women, enjoys income of £298 million, and one charity can afford to pay one CEO in excess of £180,000 per annum (plus pension contributions) and still complain that bed spaces are as scarce as gold dust!
Last year our minnow organisation had income of, in round figures, £15,000 and completed work with 44 men and one woman. Two men failed to complete the work. By the time our minuscule overheads are covered, supervision by a psychiatrist, room hire in which to deliver the work, insurance, telephone, travel et cetera there is not enough money to pay one person, let alone two. Our estimated cost of running a project for a year is about £65,000. That demonstrates just how far below the breadline we are.
Another outcome is that we have recently written 29 reports. Of 29 reports written 18 have been successful thus far, 8 are pending, 3 have been not granted – 2 of those involved Social Services taking children into care. 1 of the successful cases involved the father being awarded custody of a child as opposed to his being taken into care. There have been many “granteds” with no report, just the production of a certificate.
Many of the men we work with are prevented from living with their families which implies additional housing costs. Many will still be supporting their families in their flats and houses, and in very many cases, honouring their responsibilities and paying child support. Those in private law cases may well be paying solicitors between £200 and £260 per hour. Those that are granted supervised contact, typically in a contact centre, may well face having to pay £120 per meeting. Those in private law cases will find themselves easily paying £1,000 per hearing, and one of the men we have worked with has had 36 such hearings. I have heard of others whose bills are between £60,000 and £100,000.
I would be surprised if all of the organisations delivering work with domestic abusers had a total income of £5 million between them. Compare that with the £298 million received by the refuges and Women’s Aid affiliated organisations!
Duluth – a model for working with domestic abusers.
The Duluth abuser programme forms the basis of virtually all of the “accredited” work. It is not surprising that the employees of the “accreditor” , Respect, favour that programme since they were employed by the DVI P prior to accrediting effectively their own programme, in which they will doubtless have vested interests. Our former client wrote this about them, DVIP that is. His description of his experiences with both the DVIP and Social Services match what we hear time and time again. On a BBC radio Northampton programme Neil Blacklock of DVIP/ Respect stated: “Sometimes as many as a quarter of the men, make it through the programme”. You can hear the “obstacle course” in the language of that.
Before a select committee of the Home Office the then CEO of the DVIP quoted these costs to “turn a man around” which you can read in the transcript linked here. 33 men completed the DVIP programme that year at an expenditure of £219,000. The CEO claimed a success rate of 70%. That would mean just 22 men of the 230 that contacted the organisation. An effective completion? Virtually £10,000, by his claim. The figure he quoted, based on referrals versus cost, essentially turned 198 men round and walked them back out of the door at just over £1,000 each!
In private law cases what are the costs to the abuser for these Duluth–style “power and control“ programmes to” hold the men accountable”? 32 weekly sessions of about 2 ½ hours each cost between £60 and £80 per session. £270 – £300 per month, for nine months, plus travel.
In 2011 Dr Louise Dixon took the accreditor, Respect, to task, drawing attention to the underlying feminist ideology and the lack of an evidence base for the work they were insisting on. She called for the accreditation to be scrapped. Elsewhere she also wrote that there was no criminological need for female abusers to have separate courses.
In 2012 the Centre for Social Justice produced a paper calling for the current programmes to be scrapped and the fresh start to be made. This was essentially what happened with the IDAP programme, accredited and run by the Probation Service – it was also a Duluth model!
In 2014 the Ministry of Justice highlighted the ineffectiveness of the Duluth model, pointing to much better outcomes from other models, but models which were not numerous enough to provide an alternative. (In Britain those other models have been very carefully screened out by RESPECT, and everything accredited is essentially forced to deliver what Respect considers to be okay!) Obviously from the MOJ point of view and Cafcass it is better to persist with something which you know doesn’t work as opposed to trying to find out something that might work. Cafcass continues to spend your tax money and my tax money supporting programmes which are demonstrably ineffective. Four years later, one wonders why?
Figures surrounding domestic violence:
There is no doubt that women’s experience of domestic violence is, on average, worse than men’s. But when we take the child’s perspective Dad’s domestic violence is no more dangerous than mum’s. The fact that dad’s might be more serious is in part confounded by the fact that mum’s will be much more chronic, and, faced with the children more often it is much more likely to involve the children than Dad’s. Why would this be? Because mums spend much more time looking after children than dad’s in very many cases.
But what of the overall statistics?
Much more than 20% of domestic violence is by women! As far as I know we are now the only organisation delivering work with female abusers. Our figures for female abusers have dropped from between 10 and 15% of our clients to about 2%, this despite the fact that since our inception female violence to men has reportedly increased by over 400%. So what’s going on?
We don’t have the money to advertise directly for female abusers. When female abusers come into contact with the authorities they are sent on the Freedom Programme, for victims of domestic violence. How insidious is that!
If you want a good, accurate breakdown of the percentages of domestic violence abusers this Canadian professor , Dr Tonia Nicholls will give it to you straight.
All the talk is about “intimate terrorists,” “coercive controllers”. Johnson’s statistics illustrate seven men per thousand being intimate terrorists prior to separation and five women per thousand being intimate terrorists prior to separation. Post separation the figure for men escalates enormously to 22% and the figure for women escalates greatly to 4.7%. It is recognised that often the most serious behaviours occur post separation. The above figures would illustrate that. The most likely cause for the catastrophic changes in those figures are the separation and resultant loss, grief, disgust and anger with all of the various resultant situations.
The vast majority of domestic abuse concerns “situational couple violence”. Research by Prof John Archer, Louise Dixon and many, many others highlights that the main problem for the vast majority of people is going to be about coping with some of the many situations in which people and couples find themselves. In the vast majority of cases the research says it is women that start those “situations” with their discontent , justified and unjustified, about everything . That would imply a great deal of couple counselling. But not as far as the women’s movement would have it! Women’s Aid and Refuge will claim that couple counselling is dangerous for women – and effectively they nullified Relate’s contribution in 2004 – and they also “cost” Relate about 50,000 clients per year! (Not that Relate’s service would have been available to most of the general population that need it because of cost implications. Very many couples would simply not have been able to afford it.)
Opportunities for learning together, as was so clearly stated by the woman of the couple in the film, is very likely to be the best way forward for the vast majority of people. Intervention – coming between and separating – is likely to raise much worse behaviours than already existed. Early effective intervention is what is needed.
Just why are there no courses for female abusers?
The answers are simple. The “nuanced” agenda, as opposed to the bigger picture, says all women are victims of the male patriarchy. If all women are victims then all men are perpetrators. Notice the choice of words:
Victim/perpetrator. Guilty of a crime, upon accusation!
If women were to be recognised as abusers, as some very clearly are, that would turn the simplicity of that narrative on its head!
Prior to separation 7 men per 1,000. Prior to separation 5 women per 1,000! 7/12ths versus 5/12ths!
Can violent men change? Given the opportunity a high percentage can. They cannot do it with the Duluth Programme – They cannot do it with the Duluth programme and that is exactly what Respect seeks to market, to accredit and it seeks to impose.
When you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket doesn’t hold you are left with raw scrambled eggs – those are those failed men and the children of the families – or, you have a basket case!
And violent women? In the feminist narrative they do not even exist!
And the implications of that for child protection? Cafcass? Social Services?”
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