For police: Domestic Abuse Matters

Each year in the UK, around 2.1m people suffer some form of domestic abuse.1

SafeLives research from 2013/14 shows that eighty-five percent of victims sought help from professionals five times (on average) in the year before they got effective help to stop the abuse.2

Some of these victims will be living in your area. With the right training your force can help make a difference to their lives and to the lives of their families.

My police officer didn’t just believe me, he understood me and what my ex partner was doing to me. He made promises and kept them, he updated me without fail and I felt supported throughout every stage of the process.

The fact I could trust him enabled me to trust the system and follow through with the prosecution. Because of him I am free and freedom is such a gift when many are struggling every day just to survive

Charlotte*, domestic abuse survivor

Domestic Abuse Matters

At SafeLives we are passionate about ending domestic abuse and have over ten years’ experience providing training to frontline professionals who come into contact with victims.

In 2014 a report by the HMIC, Everyone's business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, called for a review of the training offered nationally to police forces on the subject of domestic abuse. To address the issues raised, SafeLives has worked with the College of Policing to develop a new domestic abuse change programme: Domestic Abuse Matters. 

The programme was developed following consultation with various police forces and domestic abuse organisations and a review of the existing products offered by the College of Policing. It includes a College of Policing licence to ensure future proofing and sustainable change.


About the training

"If we had had this training a few years earlier we undoubtedly would have saved lives and prevented DA homicides"
Copyright: ronfromyork / 123RF Stock Photo

Domestic Abuse Matters focuses on the issue of domestic abuse and coercive controlling behaviour and is structured with a view to implementing long-term attitudinal and behavioural change in your force. 

The audience for the programme are those likely to be first to respond to incidents of domestic abuse. This could include response officers, neighbourhood policing officers, PCSOs, specials, call handlers, prisoner interview teams and front counter staff

The key features of the programme are:

  • Training for 'first responders'
    This one-day interactive package uses real-life footage, case studies and exercises so that first responders can learn how to identify and gather evidence of coercive controlling behaviour, recognise perpetrator tactics and understand the dynamics of domestic abuse. Attendees will learn how to demonstrate empathy with victims and work with them to increase their safety and that of their children. The training also covers responding to vulnerable people, honour based violence, child protection and adult abuse as well as how to deal robustly with perpetrators whilst holding them to account.
  • Training for Domestic Abuse Matters champions
    Champions will be responsible for: checking service delivery, sustaining the change in skills, behaviour and attitudes, giving feedback and congratulating great practice as well as challenging inappropriate language and behaviour. Champions will also identify and act on compassion fatigue, burnout and vicarious trauma and respond to abuse within colleagues personal lives.
  • Force health check
    The health check is a critical friend review approach that aims to ensure a force can support and maintain the cultural, attitudinal and behavioural change achieved by the training and implementation of champions. It is comprised of a 21 point review along with a “fresh eyes” examination of three areas pertinent to domestic abuse chosen locally by the force area. Reality testing can be included where required.
  • Sustaining the change workshop for senior managers
    This workshop looks to plan for how the force will sustain the change that the programme has created in attitude, culture and practice. 
  • A post programme report
    This report will be sent to the DA Matters sponsor for the force. It covers finding and recommendations from the training delivery phase and the critical friend health check. 
  • An evaluation product
    The DA Matters training has a built in evaluation process along with a six month follow up evaluation to evaluate both how the training has impacted on the learners immediately after the training, but also importantly six months after the training to look at changes in practice and attitudes. A four force combined evaluation is available should you wish to see the impact the programme has had on other forces. 

"I feel that the art of listening is key to prevention. Victims can be very wary of approaching the police, which means the officers must have the education, awareness and empathy to transcend that. Reaching out to the police can be a courageous act and often the final straw"

Find out more



Melani Morgan

If you'd like to find out more about Domestic Abuse Matters, please get in touch. We recommend you have to hand the total number of individuals who would likely be the first to respond to an incident of domestic abuse, be it victims (external or internal), perpetrators or children. This should include:

  • all response officers,
  • PCSOs or equivalent,
  • all specials,
  • front counter staff,
  • all detectives or staff that interview and process perpetrators,
  • all front counter staff,
  • all call handlers and control room staff.



1 ONS (2015), Crime Survey England and Wales 2013-14. London: Office for National Statistics.
2 SafeLives (2015), Insights Idva National Dataset 2013-14. Bristol: SafeLives.