Domestic Abuse Matters: course content

Training for Domestic Abuse Matters: 'first responders'

Learning outcomes

An understanding of:

  • The term ‘domestic abuse’.
  • The role of the first responder and Domestic Abuse Matters champion in the Domestic Abuse Matters change programme.
  • What is meant by the term “coercive control” and how to discover evidence of coercive control using appropriate questions and communication techniques.
  • The effect of multiple controlling behaviours on victims, other vulnerable persons and children impacted by the perpetrator’s behaviour.
  • Why victims can find it difficult to leave an abusive relationship and how hard perpetrators work to resist their victim leaving an abusive relationship.
  • The stages of change a victim experiences when in and preparing to leave an abusive relationship and how this impacts on them as responders.
  • What intervention responders can provide to a victim in each stage to motivate them towards escaping an abusive relationship.
  • The link between coercive control and stalking and harassment.
  • Best practice in recording and reporting in responses to domestic abuse incidents to maximise evidential value and minimise victim blaming.
  • The tactics perpetrators may use to manipulate first responders.
  • The importance of securing evidence at the scene of a domestic abuse incident.
  • The need and potential options to safeguard victims and children.


  • Exercise allowing reflection on current practice and difficulties in dealing with domestic abuse.
  • Explanation by the trainer of the stages of change a victim experiences when in or preparing to leave an abusive relationship and how their response to police responders differ accordingly.
  • Exercise using the power and control wheel linked to a video entitled “leaving”.
  • Gains and losses to leaving exercise.
  • Facilitation of discussion around coercive controlling behaviours (CCB) and the impact on victims, children, responders and bystanders.
  • Rules and norms in relationships exercise - “what’s the difference, when is it CCB?”.
  • Real victim statements used to provide the victims voice in the room in an exercise which sees each learner reading out a victims statement taken from around the country.
  • Exercise to help learners to leave the training room with a opening question to discover CCB during attendance at a DA incident or when speaking to a potential victim.
  • Video used to look at perpetrator tactics, the myth of the “out of control abuser”, the effect on children, evidence gathering and what a “just another non crime domestic” can really look like.
  • An exercise looking at writing up domestic abuse incidents to maximise evidence availability and minimise victim blaming.
  • An exercise looking at tracking via IPhone and evidential value of IPhone technology in CCB and stalking.
  • Use of body worn video evidence to demonstrate and help leaners explore perpetrator tactics in manipulating responders, victim stages of change, victim fear and risk and how to connect with a victim to motivate support for a prosecution.

"This is the best DA training we have ever had"

Additional 1 day for Domestic Abuse Matters: Champions


This training provides attendees with an understanding of: 

  • The role of Domestic Abuse Matters Champion within their force area.
  • The tasks carried out by DA Matters Champion within their force area.
  • What areas of practice and what attitudes a DA Matters Champion will support their colleagues in.
  • The signs and effects of vicarious trauma, occupational burnout and compassion fatigue and tactics to combat these conditions.
  • The GROW model of hot debrief/observation/feedback.
  • How to perform hot debriefs using the GROW model of coaching.
  • Risk definition as it relates to DA.
  • The need for risk assessment and safety planning.
  • The preferred DA Matters Champion response to disclosure of domestic abuse by a colleague.


  • Outline of DA Matters Champion role as it relates to the force area by the trainer.
  • Use of  a video made of an interview with the daughter of a DA murder victim outlining the need for supervision and peer challenge within the police service to ensure good practice and attitudes.
  • Use of body worn footage to explore the role of the DA Matters Champion within a hot debrief.
  • Trainer explanation of responder reactive coping mechanisms, vicarious trauma, secondary trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout.
  • Exercise looking at how to spot these conditions in their colleagues and what to do to support their colleagues.
  • Trainer explanation of the GROW model of hot debriefing and coaching.
  • GROW model skills practice in groups of three.
  • Risk exercises looking at supervising and advising on risk and safety planning.