Tell me a little bit about your organisation and why you started using the IMPACT Toolkit.
Letizia: Centro di Ascolto Uomini Maltrattanti (CAM), the organisation for which I work, is a perpetrator programme based in Florence. We are actually the very first perpetrator programme in all of Italy. Before using IMPACT, we weren’t doing any evaluations of our programme and we felt that we really wanted to understand the influence of our work and what we were doing well or needed to improve. In 2017, we decided to start using the toolkit for our evaluation.
Elena: I work for the organisation “Una Casa per L’Uomo” in Montebelluna, which offers the perpetrator programme “Cambiamento Maschile” (Male Change). We actually learned about the toolkit through our colleagues at CAM and initially used it internally without sharing data outside of our organisation. In 2018, we then started work on the EU project A.S.A.P., in which WWP EN is also a member. The toolkit is a fundamental part of the protocol for collaboration between perpetrator programmes and victim support services. But initially, we started using IMPACT because were looking for an instrument to assess the outcome of our programme. The toolkit also gives us the opportunity to measure the change in the perpetrator’s behaviour with input from the partner, which is great.
Were you evaluating the outcome of your programme before using the toolkit?
Elena: Before using the toolkit, we used to evaluate the outcome of the programme by analysing the data relating to dropout rates and through the self-evaluation given by the programme facilitators, the perpetrators and the victims. This method was not based on objective data collection, and was often problematic because it was based on personal perceptions.
How did you embed the toolkit in your everyday practice?
Letizia: During the integration of the toolkit, we faced some challenges with the administrative aspects. A big benefit of the toolkit has been that the men gain additional awareness of their behaviours when they fill out the questionnaires. The toolkit helped us evaluate the effectiveness of our programme, but it also helps us understand better at which point in the process of change the men are on an individual level.
Elena: The integration of the toolkit into our everyday practice has been smooth so far. Our programme is quite long (around 20 months), so we had to synchronise the steps of the programme (individual interviews, group activities, follow-ups) with the times of the toolkit. The men usually fill in the questionnaire at the beginning or at the end of a regular meeting. As for the survivors, we originally only did three interviews, but since we introduced IMPACT, we increased the number of contacts with current and ex-partners. This gives us the opportunity to better monitor the situation.
What results have you gotten from using the toolkit?
Elena: The questionnaire covers many different aspects and it gives us a better insight on the situation, as well as a measurement of the change in the perpetrator’s behaviour. A fundamental aspect of the toolkit is that the same questions are asked both to the survivor and the perpetrator, allowing us a comparison of the evolution of the (ex) couple’s situation. One thing that we noticed is that when perpetrators are given the task of filling out the questionnaire, they tend to be more honest, they get more aware of their behaviour, maybe it’s because looking at the questionnaire is like looking at oneself in the mirror, which is similar to what Letizia just mentioned about the men in the CAM programme.
Letizia: We also already received some interesting insights into the effects of our programme. For example, we now know that the physical violence stops during the programme and we have seen a significant decrease in psychological violence too.
What advice would you give to those programmes that are hesitating to use the IMPACT Toolkit?
Elena: Adopting the Impact toolkit is an investment, both in time and money, but it delivers important information on the results and outcomes of the whole programme. Additionally, it is an objective and reliable tool to measure the results of the programme for each client and their family.