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EIF report

Early intervention in domestic violence and abuse


13 Mar 2014

What is the evidence that domestic violence and abuse is an important cause of long-term problems for children and families, and what is the role of early intervention in pre-empting this?

Full report



The report preliminarily assesses a suite of preventative programmes for children and young people, early intervention initiatives for families at risk and perpetrator programmes. It provides practical advice for local commissioners and others, and details specific actions and tangible recommendations for policymakers.

Our research has found that there is a strong case to show that domestic violence and abuse is highly prevalent, is an important cause of long-term problems to children, families and communities, and is associated with significant economic costs. Although some of the best-evidenced programmes to reduce recidivism by perpetrators appear to be ineffective there are many examples of good practice on the ground to address domestic violence and abuse and promising evidence of more effective newer and emerging models of practice. Improvements in early intervention and prevention could have a significant impact on reducing these long-term negative consequences.

Comments on Early intervention in domestic violence and abuse:

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker MP, said: 

“I welcome the Early Intervention Foundation’s review of the evidence of the devastating impact domestic violence and abuse can have on children. The coalition government continues to work hard to prevent domestic violence and abuse and to protect victims. We will work with the Early Intervention Foundation on how we can strengthen the Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan going forward, and continue building the evidence base of what works in this field.”

Former Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, said:

“Two women are killed by a partner or an ex each week. One in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. This report by the Early Intervention Foundation shows the hugely devastating impact this hidden crime has, not only on the victims, but also on children who witness it.

“We need to get better at understanding the most effective way of identifying and stopping domestic violence, but also of preventing it in the first place. This means acting now to ensure zero tolerance to violence in relationships is instilled in children and young people from the outset through compulsory sex & relationship education in school. It means appointing a commissioner for domestic violence and abuse that sits at the heart of government.”

Diana Barran, Founder and Chief Executive of Safer Lives, said:

“The Early Intervention Foundation published its Domestic Violence and Abuse Review today with a number of interesting recommendations and some pretty strongly worded views – all based on really thorough research. Early Intervention is such a crucial topic in our field and so we welcome their work very warmly. It also referenced our Children’s Insights service which is gathering terrific data on the experience of domestic abuse for children (including a lot of direct feedback from children themselves) and the impact of the Children’s IDVA on their safety and wellbeing.”

Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid, said:

“Women’s Aid welcomes this report. Too often children are left in situations which are tantamount to abuse for far too long, with nothing done to support mothers to escape the violence. It is high time professionals who work with children and families are given the training and support they need to recognize the signs of domestic violence and provide help to women experiencing it. Action must also be taken to ensure children’s professionals have somewhere safe to refer families experiencing domestic violence, by resolving the crisis of funding in specialist domestic violence services … We strongly support the calls in the report that prevention must also be a key part in the strategy to protect children from the harmful effects of domestic violence.”