How does the MOVE Programme work? – MOVE Partner contact
The primary aim of MOVE is to protect women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. Partner contact is the term used when female partners and/or ex-partners of perpetrator programme participants are offered pro-active external support on a one to one basis. Partner contact services are provided by female staff and are available before, during and three months after their partner attends a programme. Full confidentiality is given to women who use this service and any information shared with the facilitation team is with her permission and within protocols with a view to maximise safety and manage risk.
MOVE Partner Contact enables women to understand something about the material covered in the group, provides information about domestic violence to promote understanding and help women see they are not alone, provides safety planning, holds men accountable for their behaviour, and ensures the effects of the programme are measured in terms of the woman partners freedom, safety and equality. Women choose the type of contact they want to use depending on their needs and concerns, therefore the service includes telephone support and face to face work.
MOVE’s aims of work with women as per the RESPECT guidelines is to:
Increase the physical safety and emotional and psychological well-being of women whose partners (/ex) have been referred to a perpetrator programme
To increase the safety of any children involved
To promote realistic expectations with women regarding their partner’s attendance on a programme and ensure that the service offered to men does not put women and children at further risk
To increase women’s empowerment
To give women opportunities to develop insight and understanding about domestic violence and not just focus on men’s progress on the perpetrator programme.
Partner Contact can and does reach women who have not previously contacted specialist women’s support services due to many reasons and barriers, including fear, isolation, guilt, rural location with no access to transportation etc..
Perpetrators often aim to isolate women. Using a pro-active approach to contact and support women means that services can reach women and children isolated in their experience of domestic violence, some of whom will not have accessed any other form of support. Research has shown that most women positively welcome such contact. (Burton et al, 1998)
Barriers associated with abuse
Some barriers identified by women are directly related to the experience of abuse. Fear and vulnerability deters women from using services. Experience of domestic or sexual violence has a serious negative impact on women’s confidence and self-esteem. Women experience fear in relation to contacting services, including fear of increased violence, fear of change, and fear of using services in terms of loss of control and unknown outcomes. (Changing Direction – NERPC 2004, in Debbonaire 2005)