Digital delivery has proved to remove some of the logistical barriers to participation with DV-ACT's vulnerability programme showing record completion rates.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 many organisations moved to digital delivery in order to keep services running, using video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Teams. This transition has worked well for all DV-ACT interventions and has been shown to bring several benefits including more flexibility with timings and increased parent participation. In particular, DV-ACT has found that remote working has been incredibly beneficial to victims of domestic abuse who are completing our vulnerability programme for mothers.
Pre-pandemic our programme was completed in a face to face setting with clients expected to arrange childcare and travel to social work offices to complete sessions. The session attendance rate at this time was 70% with only 2 thirds of clients completing the full programme of work. However, since programme sessions moved to digital delivery we have seen a massive improvement in our completion rate. Our programme now has a 100% completion rate for every client who starts the programme and attends sessions digitally.
How has DV-ACT achieved a 100% completion rate?
DV-ACT runs a 10 session vulnerability programme for mothers in child protection measures. The sessions are designed for mothers where; there is an enduring emotional attachment to the abuser; the abuse has impacted their ability to make safe decisions, or they have a history of difficulties in permanently escaping the relationship. To find out more about this work visit our post How do DV-ACT experts work with mothers to reduce their vulnerability?
The following factors have contributed to our improved completion and attendance rate:
1. Experienced domestic abuse treatment workers
Clients are allocated to a dedicated treatment worker who specialises in domestic abuse treatments with many years of experience in working with victims of domestic abuse and violence.
2. Collaborative working
The client's programme of work is created collaboratively between the treatment worker, client and an expert risk assessor this helps to give clients a sense of agency and control over their treatment plan.
3. Clear treatment plans
Treatment plans are clearly set out at the beginning of the work bringing focus and challenge to the sessions.
4. Digital delivery
Completing the work online means that many practical barriers to attendance have been removed or improved, childcare is more manageable, travel time and costs are no longer an issue and clients have stated that they feel more comfortable completing such emotionally challenging work in their home environment.
5. Providing technology for those who need it
For those that do not have access to suitable technology (ie laptop or tablet) DV-ACT provide an android tablet that the client can keep after the programme has finished. This helps the client to fully engage in the treatment sessions and both they and their children can continue to benefit from the technology into the future.
6. Final assessment report is included
A final assessment report is always provided, with clients attending a final session with an expert risk assessor upon completion of the programme. This means that clients can demonstrate their progress on issues of concern to the court/local authority.
What does this mean for the future?
DV-ACT has developed a brand new blended learning treatment programme for mothers with a new division of DV-ACT Ltd, DV-ACTION programmes, launching in the new year. Rather than the ad-hoc efforts delivered during the pandemic, our new programme will be specifically designed as an online course. 1:1 sessions with an expert treatment worker will continue to take place via video calling as they do now but clients will also be given access to online materials on a purpose-built learning platform that will reinforce the learning at home between sessions and after completion.
Each client will have topics relevant to their treatment plan released each week with learning, interactive activities and reflective material set that will be matched to their needs and learning style. This groundbreaking new programme will give clients access to a wealth of learning and resources which they can continue to use for as long as they wish after their 10 session programme has ended. In this way, we can promote lasting change and continue to support mothers as they recover from the abuse they have experienced, repair their relationships with their children and plan for future relationships.
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DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, who provide assessments, programmes, consultancy and training to local authorities and the family courts. Our experts have decades of experience working directly with domestic abuse perpetrators and victims, as specialist assessors and as expert witnesses in the family courts.
DV-ACT was formed with the aim of using our expertise to help safeguard children from abuse, this is at the heart of everything that we do. To read more about us please visit our post - Who are DV-ACT?