Domestic abuse rehabilitation scheme gains national accreditation

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A scheme to tackle domestic abusers in Suffolk has received national accreditation - Credit: Archant

An innovative behavioural scheme aimed at rehabilitating domestic abusers in Suffolk has received national accreditation. 

Iceni, a small independent charity based in Ipswich, is one of only 27 organisations across the UK to be awarded the prestigious 'Respect" accreditation for its Venta programme. 

The 16-week Venta course is aimed at men who behave, or have behaved, in a violent, abusive, coercive or controlling way towards their female partner. 

The programme, which plays a crucial role in preventing and stopping domestic abuse, is supported by a Home Office £238k grant awarded to police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore on behalf of partners Suffolk Constabulary, Iceni and Suffolk County Council. 

Suffolk County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner jointly funded the accreditation process - and being able to prove the scheme is of a recognised standard will now help Iceni influence potential future funders and commissioners.

Brian Tobin of Iceni, which developed the Venta programme in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Brian Tobin of Iceni, which developed the Venta programme in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Brian Tobin, chief executive of Iceni, said he believes a more "nuanced approach" is required to tackle the issue. 

“We are delighted to receive this accreditation, it comes at a time when the rates of domestic abuse in Suffolk have reached intolerable levels with untold incidences of domestic abuse going unrecorded," he said. 

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“We believe a more nuanced approach is now called for if this pervasive social problem is to be effectively tackled.

"The Venta programme offers a fresh approach to understanding domestic abuse, exploring and challenging behaviours that cause harm to intimate partners, and subsequently, to children and families.

"We offer an opportunity and a challenge to any men who want to change their own behaviour. This, within a tolerant environment, run by qualified professionals that understand the complexities of domestic abuse.

"The programme offers a unique insight for men to reflect and change."

He added that domestic violence isn't going away and cannot be ignored. 

“Venta will take the responsibility for a reduction in abuse by those who cause harm, rather than 'picking up the pieces of broken lives' after the event," Mr Tobin said. 

"We cannot simply ignore the increase and devastation domestic abuse causes, it isn't going to go away and the number of victims will continue to rise.

"We believe that real safety for women and children needs to include placing the man at the centre of the solution. We want men to 'step up to the plate' and invite anyone concerned about their behaviour to contact us.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner,is frustrated at the failure of the Maple Park b

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner,is frustrated at the failure of the Maple Park bid. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Tim Passmore, Suffolk police and crime commissioner, praised the success of the scheme. 

“I am absolutely delighted to see Iceni has been awarded this prestigious accreditation," he said. 

“This accreditation proves the Venta programme meets a nationally recognised standard for safe and effective provision and I hope this will enable Iceni to make the case to other funders, progressing plans for long term sustainability of this valuable work.  

“I have been very fortunate to have visited Iceni in Ipswich to meet one of the men on a previous programme and seen how successfully it has worked and has a very clear goal which is to reduce reoffending and repeat victimisation, while protecting victims and their families.

“By addressing the needs of perpetrators and creating a ‘culture of responsibility’ among perpetrators we will improve outcomes for all those affected by domestic abuse. Which is exactly what we need.”

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities at Suffolk County Council

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities at Suffolk County Council - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities, added: “I am delighted Suffolk County Council has been able to support Iceni in achieving accreditation in such an important area of work.

"This formal recognition is a testament to their efforts and will no doubt enable them to attract and influence future funding to support this type of approach with perpetrators going forward”.