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Independent Research Supports Our Work

The Hampton Trust ADAPT programme and Respect, the UK’s national organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators, are delighted to welcome the publication of the results of the Mirabal research, a five year project led by Professors Liz Kelly and Nicole Westmarland, which shows:

  • The vast majority of men who abuse their partners stop their physical and sexual violence if they attend a Respect accredited domestic violence perpetrator programme
  • Before attending a programme a third of men made women do something sexual they did not want to do but none did so after taking part in the programme (30% to zero).
  • Cases of the men using a weapon against their partner reduced from 29%to zero.
  • Far fewer women reported being physically injured after the programme, with 61% before compared to 2% after.
  • Over half of the women reported feeling ‘very safe’ after the programme, compared to less than one in ten before the programme (51% compared to 8%), with those feeling ‘not safe at all’ reducing from 32% to 6%.

Findings are being presented at special conferences at the London Metropolitan University on 13 January and at the University of Durham on 15 January. The researchers found that the process of group work interventions which the men participated in was a vital part of them making sustained changes in their behaviour:

“It was clear that this [change] was not a process that involves a ‘lightbulb’ moment but rather a series of sparks – different for each man – that eventually combine”.

One of the men in the study, speaking after the programme, said:

“I don’t think there was a moment… during the programme they all say like the penny drops, as it were, all of a sudden this light-bulb moment and there never is… it’s like a little fairground machine where you put a coin in and it bounces off various little pegs and it’s only working its way to the bottom and the programme is like that… I know that I will be remembering it when I’m in my 70s and my 80s … But it’s never like this light-bulb moment. I always say it’s like this little coin that you drop in and it bounces around for ages and it sort of argues with yourself and all of a sudden dink it’s in the bottom before you know it.” [Kieran, Time 2]

The research supports the value of Respect accreditation, which ensures that partners and ex-partners receive integrated support and that risk management takes place; vital for all women but particularly to ensure safety for those whose partners do not stop their violence and abuse.

Chantal Hughes, The Hampton Trust CEO said: “we are delighted that The Hampton Trust was able to contribute to this valuable piece of research via our ADAPT programme.  It is encouraging to see that the hard work our dedicated staff do to try to ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence and their children and to offer perpetrators a realistic opportunity to change and stop using abuse has been independently shown to be effective. What we offer is unique – a chance for the violence to stop but also for risk management to include information about the perpetrator and for work with perpetrators and victims to be coordinated. We were glad to take part in this research and are happy that the findings support what we have been seeing directly in most of the men we work with. This confirms the need for secure funding for our service as part of a coordinated community response, working alongside support services for victims and children”.

Jo Todd, Respect CEO, said: “We’ve always been confident that our members’ services and our accreditation standard are effective in increasing the safety of women and children. It’s fantastic news that large scale independent research confirms this. Everyone can have confidence that Respect accredited Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes give the best possible chance for safety and lasting change and that these services should be part of a coordinated community response to domestic violence”.

Monica Tuohy, chair of Respect said: as chair of Respect I am really pleased to welcome the findings of this research. It’s vital that the criminal and civil justice systems continue to do their jobs and improve what they do to protect victims and children but it’s also vital that perpetrators are held to account and offered a chance to change where possible. Perpetrators go on from one victim to the next – we need to stop this, and the Mirabal research shows that a well-run Respect accredited programme has a unique contribution to make to ending domestic violence.

Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid, said: “We welcome the evidence that for some men, Respect accredited domestic violence perpetrator programmes can help reduce their coercive and violent behaviour as part of a package of specialist support for women and children experiencing abuse. This research shows that one of the reasons perpetrators are abusive is because they have unhealthy ideas of masculinity and gender roles, and these take time and significant work to challenge. We urge commissioners to consider this evidence carefully and ensure high-quality specialist services for perpetrators as well as for women and children are properly funded.”

Vera Baird QC, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria and former Solicitor General, said:  “As Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, we have worked hard to tackle domestic violence and have introduced a number of innovative ideas, such as domestic violence workplace policy and domestic violence champions.  Domestic violence affects women, men and children – we will continue to take a pro-active stance in tackling domestic violence in Northumbria.  It is vital that we always have a coordinated community response.  The Mirabal research gives commissioners and policy-makers confidence that perpetrators programmes work and the Respect accreditation system forms an effective quality assurance system”

Ben Jamal, CEO of DVIP, one of the programmes involved in the research, said: “DVIP‘s internal evaluations have always told us that violence prevention programmes working alongside robust partner support services increase the safety of women and children. In the current climate, where resources are tight, external agencies, particularly those funding projects require the highest standards of evidence. This independent research, which is the most extensive undertaken in the field in the UK, should provide an important benchmark. We have good evidence that Respect accredited programmes work. The challenge now is to see how we can extend the spread of the work and further improve outcomes by embedding programmes within the wider coordinated response.”


Respect’s accreditation standard and system of inspection draws on evidence from research and practice experience and is regularly updated to incorporate developments in evidence and policy.

The Mirabal research was carried out independently led by Professor Liz Kelly of London Metropolitan University, Professor Nicole Westmarland of the University of Durham and Professor Charlotte Watts, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. For more information from the researchers contact Durham University Media Relations on 0191 334 6075,


Click here to see the executive summary of the findings.

Click here to see another briefing on the study.