A series of academic articles recently written by Dr Louise Dixon and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire has attracted much attention from national organisations that run services and treatment programmes for men and women who are violent to their intimate partners. Public funding for such violence treatment programmes is typically based on the assumption that the majority of partner violence is enacted by men towards women, which stems from patriarchal societal beliefs which emphasise the dominance of men over women.
Dixon and colleagues highlighted this issue in an examination of rigorously conducted research pertaining to the causes of partner violence and the implications this holds for practice. They concluded that while patriarchy may play a role for some men, it is unlikely to be the main or only cause of men's and women's aggression toward their intimate partner. Rather, multiple factors interact to explain this complex behaviour, and these multifaceted processes should be taken into account into the design of services and treatment programmes for both sexes. Indeed, many organisations who have found funding difficult to secure in the UK due to this patriarchal bias have welcomed this unique insight with open arms.
One such organisation is the Everyman Project - which runs a therapeutic counselling programme for men who have issues with angry, violent and abusive behaviours and want to change them. It is designed to meet the specific needs of individual clients and facilitate change, rather than assuming patriarchal attitudes should be the main focus. The project works with all forms of male violence, including same sex partners and also provides support services for partners/victims of men undertaking the programme. The Everyman Project have used the articles written by Dixon and colleagues to put forward a case for funding, and have included summaries of the work in the organisation’s literature. To raise awareness of the Everyman Project, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe - the Patron of Everyman Project - requested Dr Dixon to attend The House of Lords in July, where insights into effective prevention of violence and abuse in society were discussed. It was an exciting networking event, and one that will raise awareness of an organisation delivering evidence-based treatment to violent men who aggress against their intimate partner.
Relevant Academic Articles
Dixon, L. & Graham-Kevan, N. (2011). Understanding the nature and aetiology of intimate partner violence and implications for practice: A review of the evidence base. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1145-1155.
Dixon, L., Archer, J.A., & Graham-Kevan, N. (2012). Perpetrator programmes for partner violence: Are they based on ideology or evidence? Legal and Criminological Psychology, 17, 196-215.
Archer, J.A., Dixon, L., & Graham-Kevan, N. (in press). Perpetrator programmes for partner violence: A rejoinder to Respect. Legal and Criminological Psychology.