Case Studies

Bracknell Forest Council: Reducing harm from domestic abuse

Bracknell Forest Council: Reducing harm from domestic abuse

in 2011 Children’s Services saw that too many Child Protection Plans (CPP) where domestic violence and abuse was a major concern resulted in children being taken into local authority accommodation. Removing the child did nothing to improve the situation at home, reducing the likelihood of the child returning, and possibly increasing risk for the parents.

UPDATE JULY 2014: 'Ignition programme saves £2.8 million in 3 years'

Nick Young, delivering the programme designed by Ignition, said: “Since September 2011 there have been 30 children whose CIN plans were successfully prevented from escalating to CP plans after this intervention with the perpetrator helped increase safety. Coupled with the CP de-registrations, this has contributed to savings of 2.8 million pounds for our Children’s Social Care department. When you consider that the service costs only £43,000 per year to run, the benefits are clear".

How this saving was achieved

Local Authority Accommodation is extremely expensive and should represent a last resort, used when it really is needed for safety. Costs of accommodating a child in a therapeutic children’s home have been estimated by Community Care at £2500 per week. IIn Bracknell these costs were a major drain on budgets that could be used more effectively. 

As a priority, the Council wished to:

  • Reduce the number of children with child protection plans where domestic abuse was a main issue
  • Reduce the number of repeat victims of domestic abuse
  • Improve detection rates of domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Service (DAPS)

Ignition designed an integrated two-stage programme, Strength to Change,  focussing first on Engagement, building the working relationship and developing a man’s intrinsic motivation for change. Research shows that this approach builds much better chances of sustainable change, increases disclosure and reduces ‘false compliance’.

In the second stage, Treatment, the worker constructs a semi-tailored treatment programme from pre-designed session plans, but which address research-based needs for this client group, informed by the work done in the first phase. So an individual man’s treatment plan focusses on his specific difficulties.

Finally, Ignition’s unique expertise in experiential methods meant that the Treatment sessions are very active, ‘on their feet’, engaging and practical, analysing behaviour and teaching concrete, relevant skills that can be taken back into the family context.

Success: Safe, effective change

An independent evaluation (1) of the programme found a big impact on perpetrator behaviour:

  • “All of the perpetrators & partners interviewed stated that the programme had helped them to prevent further abusive behaviour… to learn practical coping strategies”
  •  “…partners reported that the programme had helped perpetrators to cut down or even stop drinking & using drugs”
  •  “…listening skills had improved and [the men] were now more willing to to try to understand other’s perspectives”

Change in the family too

  •  “…partners reported that they no longer feared perpetrators and felt happier, safer, more secure and more equal in their relationships”
  •  “Most perpetrators and partners felt that their relationships with their children had improved as a result of the positive change in perpetrators attitudes and behaviour, encouraged by the programme”
  •  “Partners felt that the reduction or cessation of abuse encouraged by the programme had helped children to feel less afraid and anxious, and had promoted more positive family relationships”



(1) Phillips, L. (2013). Evaluation of the Bracknell Forest Council Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Service (DAPS). Dartington: reason.