Graphic for The Probation Board for Northern Ireland Corporate Plan 2020 to 2023

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse

Probation is proud to support the 16 Days of Action against domestic abuse campaign highlighting some of the interventions and work it does in partnership to tackle domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse has a devastating effect on individuals and families.

In Northern Ireland, domestic abuse incidents and crimes have increased since the PSNI began to collate statistics in 2004 (PSNI, 2019).  Despite the increase, domestic abuse in Northern Ireland is still a significantly under-reported crime.

PBNI facilitates a number of programmes to promote change in the actions and attitudes of the people who are likely to cause an offence or have committed domestic abuse. This includes:

  1. Early intervention with individuals who are not in the criminal justice system.
  1. Working intensively with individuals who have offended to address the root causes of their behaviour and the crimes committed, and to rehabilitate them in the community providing court mandated programmes for domestic abuse perpetrators.
  1. Working with police, prisons and others to supervise the highest risk offenders, Probation is involved in a range of effective interagency partnerships aimed at preventing and tackling domestic abuse including the Public Protection Arrangements Northern Ireland and MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference).

“While Probation works with the individuals who have offended through the domestic abuse programmes, there is a strong partnership with Women’s Aid, the Health Trusts, Victim Support and social services, to provide assistance to the women and children affected,”  said Dr Geraldine O’Hare, Director of Rehabilitation.

All our programmes are evaluated and everything we do is based on research and international best practice. Our programmes are accredited which involves rigorous assessment by a panel of independent international experts (academics and practitioners) in their relevant specialist field.

In addition to delivering behavioural intervention programmes for males who commit crimes of domestic abuse, Probation is centrally involved with a multi-agency Domestic Violence and Abuse project to deliver Problem Solving Justice and provide early intervention.  This Unadjudicated Domestic Abuse Programme, Promoting Positive Relationship Programme (PPRP) is funded by the Department of Justice and links to Indicator 1 (reduce crime) under the Programme for Government, which recognises the need to reduce crime by addressing its causative factors through prevention and detection.

 Promoting Positive Relationship Programme

In July 2014 PBNI were awarded funding by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health to develop an intervention programme to address Domestic Abuse for alleged perpetrators.

“Promoting Positive Relationships Programme” (PPRP) is an innovative programme designed for adult males, who have demonstrated the potential to be abusive in intimate partner relationship and whose children are assessed at risk by Social Services.

The main aims of PPRP are to ensure the safety of women and children and to prevent further abusive behaviour. It promotes and requires interagency working and central to this are practitioner review meetings, where all agencies involved with the family meet to discuss risk issues and progress on PPRP. The programme is delivered over 24 sessions, with each session 2 hours in duration and including the essential component of the Partner Safety Worker.

The Partner Support Worker role is to support the current partner of the participant, assist with safety planning, provide information about the content of the programme, provide information regarding a participant’s progress on the programme (within agreed parameters) and signpost the partner to other agencies (e.g. Women’s Aid). PPRP is presently being delivered in all trust areas in NI.

We have developed the ‘Promoting Positive Relationship’ Programme (PPRP) which is based on an early intervention dealing with men who are not in the criminal justice system but who have been referred by the Trust to Probation,” explained Nigel Hill. “This is incredibly important because we know women often experience domestic abuse multiple times before they actually report an offence to police. So it is critical that we get upstream as early as possible.”

Probation is working in partnership with Women’s Aid to be able to offer a range of services to all victims of domestic abuse.