Domestic Abuse Matters: course content

Training for Domestic Abuse Matters 'first responders'

Learning outcomes

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


  • Exercise allowing reflection on current practice and difficulties in dealing with domestic abuse.
  • An introduction to abusers and to the different ‘types’ of relationship abuse.
  • Explanation by the trainer of the stages of a coercive and controlling relationship which a victim can experience. An explanation of how a victim may respond to police intervention during these different stages and what police responders could do in order to positively deal with this response.
  • An introduction to explore ‘why victims don’t just leave’ using a video entitled ‘leaving’, and re aligning the responsibility for the abuse to the perpetrator via discussion.
  • Facilitation of discussion using the ‘power and control wheel’ of the perpetrators coercive controlling behaviour (CCB) displayed in the video and the effect this has on the victim, child, potential responders and other members of the public.
  • An exercise looking at the ‘gains and losses’ of leaving.
  • A step by step explanation and clear guidance around the CCB legislation using recent cases and highlighting what police responders need to focus on when gathering evidence in order to prove this offence.
  • A table briefly describing ‘safe relationship agreements’ and ‘unsafe relationship rules’ – what the difference is and when it becomes CCB.
  • A review of the tactics used by perpetrators.
  • Exploration of how perpetrators can present as victims and what signs police responders can look out for to help them deal with this.
  • An exercise looking at tracking via iPhone and evidential value of iPhone technology in CCB and stalking.
  • Real victim statements used to provide the victim’s voice in the room in an exercise which sees each learner reading out a victim’s statement taken from around the country.
  • Exercise to help learners to leave the training room with an 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.
  • Use of body worn video evidence to demonstrate and help learners 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.
  • An exercise looking at writing up domestic abuse incidents to maximise evidence availability and minimise victim blaming.
  • A final thought from a previous victim of abuse and what she wants to say to police responders about making a difference to a victim’s life.

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

Additional 1 day for Domestic Abuse Matters Champions


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


  • An introduction exercise to re-centre the Champions and bring the victims voice into the room.
  • Self-reflection on how the police responders practice may have changed after the First Responders training and then linking this to the new role of a Champion.
  • Outline of either the DA Matters Champion ‘generic’ role profile or an outline of the relevant force area role profile if this has been clearly defined by the respective force.
  • An introduction of a checklist to help learners identify areas for development when working with responders in their Champions role.
  • Trainer explanation of a feedback model known as the GROW model which can used within their new Champions role.
  • Use of a video 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 and how positive practice and positive response by police responders can be highlighted and congratulated.
  • A trainer demonstration of the GROW model and how it can be used to provide feedback by a Champion to a police responder.
  • 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 they can do in their Champions role to support their colleagues.
  • GROW model skills practice in groups of three.
  • Risk exercises looking at supervising and advising on risk and safety planning.
  • A ‘how to challenge’ poor practice or attitudes exercise facilitated by the trainers and involving the Champions.
  • A look at 4 case studies to allow the learners to assess a set of circumstances from the perspective of their new role as Champions and to decide which areas they would focus on during a responder feedback debrief.