Pathways to Change: Men’s Experiences of a Domestic Violence Perpetrators’ Programme

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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In this thesis, I have documented the experiences of men who have engaged in a perpetrator’s programme in a London Borough and explored how they engaged in the change process around intimate partner violence.

The available literature shows that the subject of domestic violence among male perpetrators remains under-researched and unexplored. The men’s experiences of the perpetrators’ programmes need acknowledgement for the design of effective interventions that are responsive to the needs of the victims and the men themselves. The study offered a prospect to learn directly from the perpetrators.

The aim of the study was therefore to (a) explore the experiences of 11 men (using an interview guide) for both completers and non-completers of the community perpetrators programme between 2004 and 2008 in a North London Borough and (a) map the experiences and pathways towards change onto the Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation of model of Behaviour (COM-B model). This was a qualitative (interpretive) study with a constructivist grounded theory approach. Participants were recruited through an insider’s knowledge of agencies working with the programme in the Borough. One programme coordinator was also interviewed.

The study findings highlight the new skills learnt (capability) from engaging in group work (opportunity) and negative consequences (before, during and after) of behaviours (motivation) as some of the key triggers for change to help the men reframe their understanding of domestic violence and abuse. It is notable that the behaviour change programme was characterised by high attrition levels highlighting the need for motivational interviewing.

While it cannot be stated which component represents the most salient influence on behaviour change around IPV interventions and the limitations of a small sample size of 11 participants drawn from one perpetrator programme delivered within one London Borough, which suggests caution around the generalisability of recommendations, the thesis presents a substantive theory; in order for change to be meaningful and salient, and due to the complex multi-faceted nature of domestic abuse, the study recommends an adapted version of COM-B to include the external features and attributes, by focusing on other motivations such as compassion and kindness, herein referred to as active positive expressions of empathy. It is further recommended that training curricula and evaluation metrices for compassion and kindness training are developed as part of the expanding body of literature on IPV interventions.

Key words: Intimate Partner Violence, Active Positive Expressions of empathy, Compassion, Kindness, change trajectory.
Original languageEnglish
  • Keating, Frank, Supervisor
  • Gupta, Anna, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024

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