Perpetrating DVA is generally a chronic problem, hence working with perpetrators is only effective where a perpetrator is absolutely willing to change, shows a good level of motivation, and is wholeheartedly committed to undergo transformative work. Crucially, he needs to take full responsibility for all his actions.
Perpetrators are the key agents of Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA), and are entirely accountable for all their behaviours. No excuse is valid, as perpetrators have the ability to choose not to abuse. There is no specific profile that can describe them, as they come from every calibre, level and group of society. But they exhibit patterns of behaviour characterised by the exercise of control & the misuse of power over others – usually women and children.
Understanding the role of power and control is crucial to recognising the potential danger of expecting victims to avoid receiving abusive behaviour by being more “obedient”, “tolerant”, and “accommodating”. It is worth noting that perpetrators do not only groom and exercise control over their victims, but the people around their victims as well. Hence it may take time for a group of people to recognise that DVA is occurring.
Perpetrators need radical intervention geared at providing support, taking them on a journey of positive change that breaks intentions and patterns of violence and abuse. Accountability relies on challenging the abuser’s sense of entitlement and getting him to redefine the meaning of love and respect. Perpetrators in any leadership position must step down.
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