Monday, 20 September, 2021

If you would like to know more about the intensive trauma-based therapy approach referenced in this article, contact [email protected].


I received this an email recently inviting me to attend a conference on domestic abuse. It read:

"The Home Office has awarded £11.3 million to 25 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales to go towards domestic abuse intervention programmes. The programmes focus on interventions encouraging behaviour change to help stop perpetrators from committing domestic abuse, with the ultimate aim of preventing further crimes from being committed."

It's only a relatively small amount, but still good news (I wonder how much the recent passage of the landmark Domestic Abuse Act contributed towards this programme's creation?)

Domestic abuse/violence is a complex issue within which historical traumas, harsh parenting (in the perpetrator's history), negative role modelling, misogyny, alcohol/drugs and, in some places, a wider culture normalising it can all contribute towards creating a horrific environment for victims (both those who are direct and the children who often experience - a better word than "witness" - these circumstances). No single solution is going to resolve such a multi-faceted issue.

However, one set of options that does offer the opportunity to achieve substantial progress are intensive trauma-based therapies. Whatever the root cause behind someone's propensity for violence (for it rarely occurs without them), some form of historical adversity, and it's long-term mental/ behavioural impacts, usually lies behind it.


Digging a little deeper

Being able to dig down to these root issues and supporting the perpetrator to resolve them offers a path forwards for genuine, sustainable rehabilitation. Given how many of them re-offend, how many victims (for right or wrong) choose to stay with them and how many children are left with long-term scars as a result of experiencing this, the potential benefits here could be substantial.

This is not merely theoretical - my CEO George Hosking OBE used a 'flooding' approach in his trauma-based therapies with violent offenders (not necessarily DV) in prison and the community. This intensive approach, coupled with group sessions and other methods, led to many leading non-violent lives from thereon, complete with revitalised perspectives of themselves and their relationships with others.

This approach was neither simple, cheap, quick or easy for someone without specialist training to achieve. But it was possible and it should be explored on a much wider level across the country now with a view towards creating a replicable methodology that can be offered to willing perpetrators (for they still have to comply for it to work) nationwide.

This wouldn't resolve the issue of domestic abuse/violence entirely and it would still continue to blight far too many families and relationships. But it would create a massive dent in the figures and result in far fewer victims in the future than we see now. I hope this UK Home Office programme chooses to support initiatives such as this. Otherwise, I wish it the best of luck and hope that it finds many other effective approaches.

If you would like to know more about the intensive trauma-based therapy approach referenced in this article, contact [email protected].



Aidan Phillips is Trauma-informed Communities Project Manager at WAVE Trust. This article was originally published on LinkedIn on 30th August 2021.