Authors: Orlanda Harvey, Bournemouth University, UK; Terri Cole, Bournemouth University, UK; Jade Levell, Bristol University, UK and Jane Healy, Bournemouth University, UK.



This paper reports on findings from international empirical research that explored victim-survivors and perpetrators’ attitudes towards perpetrator support programmes. Ninety-three questionnaires with female victim-survivors of domestic partner violence and abuse, and 18 interviews with male perpetrators were conducted in five European countries. Results showed that of the 93 victim-survivors of domestic violence and abuse, half stated they would have stayed in their relationship with perpetrators if the abuse had stopped, and a similar number reported that they believed their relationships would have been different had there been help for the perpetrator. Analysis of perpetrator interviews showed that they faced barriers to obtaining support, such as being labelled a ‘perpetrator’ which, had they been addressed, may have enhanced their engagement with services. Whilst acknowledging the need for safeguarding and justice, this paper demonstrates the importance of reflecting both victim-survivor and perpetrator needs in order for perpetrators to fully engage with support services. Moreover, it highlighted the need to address the underlying societal issues related to hegemonic masculinity, which can lead to the abuse of women being normalised and the vulnerability of men being stigmatised, through education for young people around healthy relationships.

Keywords: Domestic violence and abuse, perpetrators, victim-survivors, support, domestic violence perpetrator programmes, intimate partner violence.


Vol 5, Issue 1, April 2024