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The Drive Project is a new response to domestic abuse that aims to reduce the number of child and adult victims of domestic abuse by deterring perpetrator behaviour.

Drive provides a case manager who acts as a single point of contact for perpetrators on a 1-2-1 basis.

Drive logo

Liaising closely with local police and support agencies, case workers deploy a two-pronged attack of disruption through the criminal justice system and or/ support for unresolved personal issues to stop domestic abuse.

The case manager works closely with all statutory agencies including the Police, Probation and Children’s Services to maximise the impact of the criminal justice system, developing and agreeing strategies to limit the opportunities for the perpetrator to continue abusing. The service has been developed to knit together existing services, complementing and enhancing existing interventions. The Drive Project pilot focuses on priority (high-risk or serial) perpetrators, as this group carries the greatest risk of serious harm and engage poorly in available services.

Background of Drive in Worcestershire

The Drive Project launched in April 2016 and was piloted in three areas across England and Wales (Essex, South Wales and West Sussex) from 2016-2019. From the pilot, the Drive team saw positive indications that the pilot was increasing victim safety, reducing abuse and moving perpetrators along cycles of change.

They therefore decided to roll Drive out into 4 further areas, one of which was West Mercia (Worcestershire specifically) in order to; 1) grow their evidence base to support the intervention and test its results in areas with different demographics and; 2) test and learn from their replication processes so that they can plan for a potential larger scale roll out of Drive. The pilot sites were being independently evaluated by Bristol University over the 3 year period. The Year 2 evaluation can be found here.

A joint bid between the Drive Partnership and 4 PCC areas was made to the Police Transformation fund back in March 2017 for additional funding required to delivered Drive and confirmation that the funding has been awarded was received in November 2017. John Campion allocated £180,000 for the project to be piloted in West Mercia and a suitable test site was been chosen which was Worcestershire. In addition to this, Worcestershire County Council’s Public Health team allocated £150,000 match funding for the service. The initial timeframe for Drive to be delivered in Worcestershire was September 2018 to June 2020.

December 2019 update

Between October 2018 to September 2019 there have been 24 DAPP meetings, at which 248 high harm perpetrators have been discussed, of which 125 have been referred onto the Drive programme. Of these 125 referred to Drive 62% have had direct contact, of which 66% of these cases are either fully engaged or partially engaged.

Part of the Drive model also allows for increased IDVA provision to support victims whose perpetrators may be going through the Drive programme. Between October 2018 and 144 known victims/survivors have been referred to IDVA. 82% of these have engaged. 100% of these victims/survivors have reported outcomes of increased safety/reduction in risk at case closure.

Strong links and relationships have been developed between the Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA’s), the domestic Abuse Risk Officers (DARO’s) and the Drive Case Managers to ensure that throughout the process, the victim/survivor is fully supported and that risk is managed accordingly.

In addition funding was provided for a Children and Young Peoples service’ to support the CYPs whose family members/carers are going through the Drive programme. This service went live on the 1st of July 2019. Since that date, 20 CYP have been referred onto the programme and are receiving 1-2-1 or group based support.

The Drive project has recently been extended up to the end of March 2021 in Worcestershire. Worcestershire Public Health and the PCC are providing funding to enable the service to continue past the current end date of June 2020.

With the extension the PCC and Worcestershire County Council’s Public Health have funded £136,101 each for an additional 9 months up to March 2021.

With the extension, Drive are now trialling working with 125 perpetrators per year. The Drive team are above their target for the number of accepted referrals at this stage of the project at 107%. Compared to the other sites delivering Drive, Worcestershire are higher than average for the target number of referrals and the number of cases with direct contact being completed.

Key Success Factors

Key success factors for the project are;

  • Priority from police and other key stakeholders
  • Strong IDVA provision which understands and believes in Drive
  • Effective multi-agency information sharing and coordinated action
  • Strong delivery partner coordinating all actors
  • Effective disrupt mechanisms in place
  • Effective behaviour change process(es) in place

December 2020 update

In 2019 the Home Office announced its perpetrator fund and in 2020 that fund became available with a dedicated funding allocation to implement new Drive sites or to expand existing sites into another are. A decision was made to submit a bid to roll out Drive in Herefordshire.

A funding proposal was submitted in partnership with Herefordshire Council to implement Drive in Herefordshire. The funding from the Home Office will cover the period of November 2020 to 31st March 2021. With The West Mercia PCC having agreed to fund for a further year until March 2022.

Set-up process

Site preparation will be led by the Project Manager (recruited for a year to lead on the project implementation), the West Mercia Police Lead, with the support of Drive “Fellow” from the Central Vulnerability Team in West Mercia Police. This will involve:

  • Drive specific training programme,
  • Lead local service scoping,
  • Provide connections to relevant local services and advocate for the service locally.
  • Develop the perpetrator panel provision with the local MARAC

However, in light of the short set up timelines, they will be supported by a central Drive team who will provide on the ground management and practical support with site preparation including: scoping services, implementation and business planning, establishing multi-agency working (e.g. MATACs) and information sharing protocols and embedding the service within MARAC and MASH.

The set up process will focus on ensuring that the right multi-agency forums and working practices are developed, and that Drive is given a high level of focus and buy in from key stakeholders.

It is recognised widely the importance of ensuring that Drive fits in with the current provision in the local area. With Herefordshire having an efficient MARAC process and the capacity to have a perpetrator element included in the fortnightly meetings, it has been concluded that the perpetrator panel will be included within the MARAC process. More information about this and the referral process will be detailed at a later date and shared with partners.

Although the perpetrator panel will happen at the MARAC the focus will not be taken away from the victim at these meetings, the discussions around the perpetrator will happen as an addition, ensuring a whole family approach to reducing risk and increasing safety to the victim. 

Chosen Location

Herefordshire has been chosen as the location for the following reasons;

  • A needs analysis of Herefordshire showed that they had the most prolific, high harm, domestic abuse perpetrators out of the 5 LPA’s. 
  • Herefordshire Council are supporting the implementation and continued service.
  • Herefordshire has a strong working MARAC which is one of the key areas required for the project to be a success.
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire county council have a good working relationship and with the tight timescales of the bid to be able to extend the current contract into Herefordshire provided a more feasible option than procurement of a full service

For more information about the project or if you have any questions, please contact Becca Youings, Commissioning Officer, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office –[email protected]