• Claire Verney

1:1 Treatment Programme for Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse

Find out more about the remote one to one treatment programme DV-ACT experts deliver for perpetrators who are unable to attend a group work programme.


Mum working remotely
Completing a perpetrator programme remotely

Domestic abuse perpetrator programmes (DAPP's) are structured programmes of work that give perpetrators the opportunity to change their behaviours towards their past/present intimate partner. In the past DAPPs in the UK generally took place in a groupwork face to face setting, however, the pandemic has made remote sessions more viable giving an opportunity to those who are unable to access group work programmes the option of completing work on a one to one basis from home.


DV-ACT offers a structured perpetrator programme with trained, experienced domestic abuse treatment practitioners. This work is taking place remotely using video call technology (with zoom or similar) meaning that it can be offered to anyone across the UK. All DV-ACT programme work includes partner support and a full final report by an expert risk assessor, ensuring that parties are fully informed of the progress made.


This post will explain who the programme is suitable for, how it is delivered and what it includes.


What does the programme include?


The DV-ACT one to one DAPP includes:

  • A suitability assessment (if a full risk assessment has not been completed by DV-ACT),

  • 18 one to one sessions with a trained and experienced treatment worker,

  • An offer of free confidential support to current/previous partners,

  • Sessions delivered remotely using zoom or similar,

  • The option to tailor the programme sessions to the needs of the perpetrator,

  • A full final report that can be used in court proceedings.

Who is the treatment programme for?


The programme is designed to work with perpetrators in the UK where the family court or local authority has concerns regarding the risk of harm to children due to domestic abuse and they are unable to attend a group programme (this could be due to a lack of provision in the perpetrator's area, language difficulties, female perpetrator, same-sex relationship or waiting lists putting the intervention outside of the children's timescales).


The programme is suitable for perpetrators who:

  • accept that at least some of their behaviour is/has been abusive,

  • have some motivation to change their behaviour,

  • are willing to attend and complete the full programme,

  • do not have any pending criminal proceedings for domestic abuse,

  • are not already attending a programme with probation.

We can work with; those that need a translator; female perpetrators; parents in court proceedings; those currently in a relationship and separated parents.


What are the aims of the programme?


The programme aims to reduce the perpetrator's violence and abuse towards their intimate partners and improve the safety of children by:

  • encouraging perpetrators to move to a point where they can take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and make positive steps to change their behaviour,

  • increasing perpetrators awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and assisting them in applying this to their own behaviour,

  • Increasing perpetrators understanding of the effects that their abusive behaviour can have on their intimate partners and their children,

  • teaching perpetrators to use non-controlling behaviour strategies in their relationships,

  • providing support and information to known previous and current partners in order to manage expectations, inform safety planning and signpost to suitable resources.

What topics are covered in the programme?


As it is a programme delivered on a one to one basis, there can be a particular focus on specific areas of concern raised by the courts or to meet the requirements of the child protection plan.


The programme will cover all the topics usually delivered within a DAPP including:

  • Strategies for reducing violence,

  • Analysing feelings and behaviour,

  • Motivation to change,

  • Power and control,

  • Parenting,

  • Emotional abuse,

  • Developing empathy,

  • Sexual respect and intimacy,

  • Respectful relationships,

  • Positive self talk,

  • Attitudes towards women.

How is the programme delivered?


The programme consists of 18 sessions delivered on a one-to-one basis by an experienced DV-ACT treatment worker. Further sessions can be added if required at the discretion of the treatment worker. Sessions will then take place weekly with an additional session towards the end of the programme where the expert assessor will meet with the client in order to complete the final assessment report.


How long will it take?


The length of time that the programme will take is decided on a case by case basis and depends upon the needs of the perpetrator and whether a report is required urgently for court proceedings. The programme would usually take 20 weeks to complete, however, any filing dates given will depend upon attendance. A final report will be provided 2 weeks after completion.


What is required for a referral to DV-ACT?


If the client has not first completed a full risk or joint assessment with DV-ACT an initial suitability assessment will need to be completed with an expert assessor.


For fathers who have children in child protection measures we will require:

  • A referral form completed by the children's social worker, including the contact details of both parents,

  • Documents relating to the case which details the local authorities concerns,

  • Copies of any assessments completed,

  • For cases in care proceedings we would need a copy of a full robust risk assessment completed by an expert domestic abuse risk assessor that recommends the programme and confirms the Fathers suitability. For details on the domestic abuse assessments that DV-ACT provide please visit our assessments page.

For those in private (contact or residency) proceedings, we will require:

  • A court order, ordering DV-ACT to deliver the programme,

  • The contact details of the respondent (supplied directly from them, the court or their solicitor),

  • The full court bundle of documents which must include any Cafcass reports completed, statements from both parties and any findings made,

  • That the case remains open with the court and Cafcass (or equivalent such as social services or NYAS) with arrangements made for the filing of the final report,

  • If the case includes high risk potentially lethal behaviours by the perpetrator we require a copy of a full robust risk assessment completed by an expert domestic abuse risk assessor that recommends the programme and confirms the Fathers suitability. For further details of private law risk assessments please contact us.

The cost of the programme depends upon the number of sessions required, whether an interpreter is needed and the stage that the case is at. Please note that the LAA does not fund treatment, although it may be possible to gain funding for the final report portion of the work. For cases with local authority involvement the cost is usually borne by the local authority, for cases in private law, the costs are often met by the perpetrator.


What reports are available?


For those that have not first completed a risk/joint assessment with DV-ACT a brief suitability report will be provided setting out the agreed treatment goals, what the programme will cover and how long it will take. Clients who are found unsuitable will receive a letter, setting out the reasons why they are unsuitable for this programme.



A detailed final report is provided following the conclusion of the work including the following:

  • sessions missed/attended;

  • what the sessions covered;

  • whether the perpetrator has met the targets outlined at the beginning of the work;

  • recommendations for further work;

  • recommendations for risk management strategies.

For the preservation of objectivity, all final reports are completed by assessors independent from the practitioner completing the work. As this report is completed by an expert assessor it can be used with confidence in court proceedings – all DV-ACT assessors are experienced, expert witnesses.


A final note on risk


Completion of a programme on its own does not necessarily reduce the risk that is posed to the victim and child/ren it can, in fact, have the potential to increase the risks in the case, particularly if professionals and the courts consider that the risks are being managed by a programme and so de-escalate the case without reviewing the effectiveness of the intervention via a final report.


It is for this reason that reputable programmes have stringent rules around perpetrators eligibility to attend a programme and will insist that the risk is still held by professionals involved in the case (such as Cafcass Officers or Social Workers). We strongly advise that no decisions regarding child contact are made until after receipt of a positive final report. For further information on the efficacy of DAPPs please visit our post Can Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes Really Change Behaviour?


Further questions


If you have any further questions about the programme, need a quote for the costs or estimated completion date please contact me, Claire Verney, at info@dvact.org or call on 0203 9678368. If you would like to discuss a specific case a call back can be arranged with one of our clinical managers.


About us


DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, who provide assessments, 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. You can read more about us in our post Who are DV-ACT?