Case Studies

Motivational action approach to domestic abuse in Sunderland

In January 2004 ignition was contacted by Steve Eales, in South Tyneside. On behalf of a multi-agency steering group headed by South Tyneside NHS Trust. Steve had been given the task of identifying potential providers of staff training in, and an intervention model for, community domestic abuse work with non-convicted men.

But how to decide? What would actually represent effective practice?

Steve said “After researching various providers, one thing that was impressive about Ignition was the willingness and ability to provide testimonials, evaluations and referees – other providers approached could not do this at all. This was very confidence-inspiring and once we got into the training it was obvious we’d made a good choice for STDAPP.”

ignition had developed the Effective Action system: this was a menu of integrated training, materials and intervention programmes which enabled a client to choose which elements they needed: if there was a pre-existing group programme, the client could choose the Pre Group one to one motivational programme, to enhance efficacy of the group; if a client needed a risk assessment instrument the Risk Assessment of Domestic Assault Record (RADAR) was available, and so on, through the components of an integrated system, based on research and evidence-based practice.

STDAPP, hosted by Barnardos, chose an A - Z solution, with ignition training a cohort of staff from different local agencies in:

  • The core behaviour change approach of Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • The RADAR motivational risk assessment
  • The Pre Group one to one 4 session engagement programme
  • The core six month Action for Change group programme

Action for Change, as its name suggests, integrated extremely effective experiential or ‘action’ techniques throughout the programme, ensuring that the programme is extremely engaging, lively and practical.

Steve commented ”I remember one group member, a really hard local gangster type, doing some of the drama based frozen picture work, and saying how surprised he was, he never thought he’d be doing this, letting himself look daft in front of people, but really getting involved. The treating men with respect and a belief they can change, and the active work really works. It’s so different to a lot of the attitudes about ‘what these men are like’”.