The safety of survivors and their children are the purpose of perpetrator programmes.
Welsh Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for services for perpetrators of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence has been produced to enable that. Placing an emphasis on safeguarding, this guidance exists to support practitioners to continue delivering vital services throughout these unprecedented times. Please see below some key points for practitioners to accompany the Welsh Government COVID-19 Guidance for Perpetrator Services.
- VAWDASV is perpetrated in variety of ways. This includes sexual violence, FGM, so called honour based violence and sexual exploitation as well as cases of domestic abuse
- Support for survivors whose safety is the purpose of perpetrator programmes. At a time when survivors are having reduced face to face contact with services and safety planning is compromised due to self-isolation and social distancing it is vital that this is the focus of perpetrator programmes. Welsh Women’s Aid has developed a Safety and Self-Care Advice for Survivors in Isolation resource, which can be accessed here: https://welshwomensaid.org.uk/2020/03/safety-and-self-care-advice-for-survivors-in-isolation/
- Respect guidance for domestic abuse perpetrator programme practitioners , outlines safe practice guidance and should be adhered to by Respect Accredited services: http://respect.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Respect-Covid19-Guidance-for-Practitioners-March-2020.pdf
- Perpetrator programmes are encouraged to build links with survivor safety work, where there is opportunity to identify safeguarding concerns around children at risk. This could be a particular concern for girls affected by FGM or so-called honour based violence. Welsh Women’s Aid has developed a Supporting children and young people through the coronavirus pandemic resource which can be accessed here: https://welshwomensaid.org.uk/2020/03/supporting-children-and-young-people-through-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
- Expertise from specialist support services suggests that perpetrators may utilise COVID-19 measures to further their coercive and controlling behaviour. Respect are carrying out a campaign targeting perpetrators at this time and providing helpline support. Details can be found here: https://twitter.com/RespectUK/status/1245622205435629571
- Reports to specialist support services from survivors indicate perpetrators using COVID-19 measures to further abuse during child contact arrangements and/or breaching the arrangements. Practitioners should make themselves aware of this as it poses safeguarding and safety risks to children and survivors.