Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, an annual international campaign calling for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. 

This year’s theme is ‘UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls’, which resonates with Respect’s collaborative approach to ending domestic abuse.

We know it’s a huge task that can’t be achieved by one organisation working alone, so throughout the 16 Days, we’ll be focusing on the ways we unite with our partners, members and friends in the sector and beyond to advance this aim together. 

Working together to ensure safe provision: Respect-accredited services

We learn so much from our accredited services, and in turn we support them to deliver safe and effective work with perpetrators & male victims. We spoke to Sarah from WomenCentre, which runs accredited service, The Bradford Maze, about the ways we work together to achieve our common goals.

"Bradford Maze at WomenCentre have been working closely with Respect since 2018, attending the Members Forum to gain valuable insight into best practice and network with national providers. We’ve also contributed to several research projects, training events and Practice Development Days all of which have provided us with resources and guidance. The ability to tap into expert advice enables us to ensure that we are managing our service with the Respect Standard at the core of the services we offer"

Our work with accredited services also enables us to break new ground and explore new areas of work. This year, we’ve worked closely with Calan DVS, the first ever Respect-accredited male victims’ service. Gareth, Calan's project manager, said.

"Our accreditation reflects on the work that we do for male survivors accessing our services. I feel that this, with thanks to Respect, has put us on the map, and I hope that it gives reassurance to any men accessing our services that they will receive safe and effective support. In addition to the men, it also evidences the good work we do to our funders and can give reassurance to all, that we will do our utmost to provide a safe environment."

Repairing family ties: RYPP with Respect and IDAS

One of our key areas of focus at Respect is helping young people who are using harm to stop. Our Respect Young People’s Programme is delivered out in the community by  services like IDAS, which has delivered the RYPP across North Yorkshire for over 10 years, supporting hundreds of families to repair their family relationships. We asked Sam, who delivers the programme at IDAS, why it’s such an important part of what they do,

We recognise the importance of trying to help rebuild families where abusive behaviours have become the norm. We want to prevent the cycle of abuse continuing. The Respect programme offers an opportunity to influence behaviour change in the young person but also to bring the family together. As an organisation we want everyone to live a life free from abuse and we believe that we need to start this change at the earliest possible opportunity

Teaming up on early intervention: Make a Change

Make a Change is a partnership project combining the expertise of Respect & Women’s Aid Federation of England to deliver a community-wide, early response to people concerned about their behaviour. We spoke to Rebecca Vagi, National Lead for Make a Change, about how the partnership brings together the expertise of two sector leaders to create fertile ground for innovation,

Partnership work is the cornerstone of the Make a Change model. The model itself was created in partnership with Women’s Aid Federation of England and offers a whole community approach to addressing perpetration and keeps survivors’ safety at the forefront of this work. The expert support strand provides direct support to perpetrators and survivors and brings together Respect accredited perpetrator services and Women’s Aid member services to deliver the perpetrator and survivor support respectively.

This joined up approach recognises each service's specific area of expertise, while strengthening information exchanges, multi-agency working and referral pathways. We’ve seen that this way of working increases survivors’ access to specialist domestic abuse support. In the long term, we hope to promote a collaborative rather than competitive funding environment with local authority commissioners. 

Disrupting abuse and changing systems: the Drive Partnership

The Drive Partnership is a collaboration between Respect, SafeLives and Social Finance. By combining our expertise, we have created a unique partnership that has disrupted abuse, supported survivors, and effected systemic change. Kyla, Director of the Drive Partnership, reflected on the partnership’s enduring success.

The Drive Partnership brings together the unique yet complementary expertise of three very different organisations - SafeLives, Respect and Social Finance.  We share a joint mission to stop domestic abuse by challenging and changing the behaviour of high-risk, high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. We also share a wider ambition to change national systems and make effective responses to all perpetrators of domestic abuse everyone's business. 
Through Respect’s expertise in the perpetrator sector, SafeLives’ legacy in victim-survivor support and Social Finance’s innovative approach to tackling societal issues, we are making an impact. We have been able to reduce the risk posed by high-risk, high-harm perpetrators engaged in the Drive Project, increase the safety of both adult and child victim-survivors, and shift the guiding narrative in both policy and practice to one that replaces “Why doesn’t she leave?” with “Why doesn’t he stop?”. This would not be possible without each organisation’s commitment to open and authentic partnership both together and across sectors. 

A truly multi-agency approach: Restart

The Restart project brings together expertise from the Drive Partnership in collaboration with Respect, Cranstoun, the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), and the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC). It provides early intervention for perpetrators causing harm in families working with children’s social care. We spoke to Project Lead, Hannah Candee, about why partnership is so important to Restart.

Partnership, collaboration and communication are not only at the core of Restart’s approach but are also key to its early successes including increased information sharing and relationship building across agencies, with over 100 families in London supported and 20 families utilising Restart’s innovative housing pathway. 

This pathway would not be possible without the support and commitment from the strategic and operational leads across five sites, their openness to test different approaches, and dedication to finding new solutions to end domestic abuse.

Thinking bigger: the London VAWG Consortium

We’re part of Ascent, a partnership project undertaken by the London VAWG consortium & funded by London Councils. The partnership ensures professionals across London have access to a range of vital training sessions free of charge. We chatted with Katy Lawrence, our Training and Development Manager, about the partnership:

The Ascent partnership allows us to provide a funded package of specialist training to frontline professionals in London, along with other training provided by our delivery partners in the partnership. This supports and embeds good practice in holding perpetrators to account and empowering survivors, and has a capacity building affect as professionals gain new skills to take forward in their practice. Last year we trained 104 professionals across London. 
A great thing about the Ascent partnership is the warm relationship between the delivery partners. We meet quarterly and support each other, and we share what works well and solve challenges as a group.
Respect is a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1141636, in Scotland, number SC051284 and a company, number 7582438. Registered address: VAI Second Floor, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP
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