Scheme goes Solo to stop domestic violence

A NEW programme aims to stop domestic abuse after a successful pilot.

The Solo scheme has been launched by Northumbria Probation Trust to target men who have been convicted of domestic violence or other forms of abuse and reduce the likelihood of further attacks.

Specially trained probation staff work with offenders to deliver the 12-session course as part of a community order, suspended sentence order or licence conditions on release from prison.

The first step is for the offender to recognise their behaviour as abusive and to accept responsibility, rather than blaming it on other factors such as alcohol or difficult circumstances.

The programme then looks at factors which have contributed to the breakdown in behaviour, and solutions to respond to these problems in a different way. It also examines how to build and maintain healthy relationships.

Eighteen offenders were involved in the pilot scheme this summer and evaluation data showed that it had helped them to change their attitude and behaviour.

During the pilot, there were no police call-outs for domestic violence or other disturbances involving the participants and only one incident after the course finished.

Interventions Manager Anne Francis said: “Solo has been developed based on our knowledge of what works in domestic violence group work programmes, but provides an alternative format delivered on a one-to-one basis. This means we are now able to work with more domestic abuse perpetrators, including those who are not suitable for or able to attend group work programmes.

“The results of the pilot showed Solo to be an effective tool in tackling domestic violence and we are pleased we are now able to offer it on an on-going basis as a sentencing option to courts across Northumbria.”

Under the programme, the partners or ex-partners of the participating offenders receive support from a Barnardo’s women’s safety worker.