Evaluation of DART
We evaluated Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together (DART™) to see if it helps reduce the impact of domestic abuse on the relationship between mothers and children.
What we learnt
After receiving the DART programme:
- mothers’ self-esteem and confidence in parenting increased, and they reported more affection towards their children
- children had fewer emotional and behavioural difficulties; reductions were greater among children who received DART than those involved in an alternative service
- practitioners, mothers and children said that the joint sessions helped them to work together; the sessions helped children share their experiences of the abuse, and their mothers to understand them.
Barriers to improvements included:
- challenging behaviour in some of the children’s groups
- contact with the father
- some mothers resuming relationships with the perpetrator after the intervention.
> Read our evaluation report
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How we evaluated this service
The evaluation of DART used a mixed-method approach, with quantitative and qualitative data collected from children, mothers, referrers and DART practitioners. The evaluation measured the impact of the service and also included a process evaluation.
Standardised measures were completed by mothers and children at three time points:
- time 1: before starting the programme
- time 2: straight after the programme
- time 3: six months after the family finished the programme.
We used questionnaires that measured factors such as:
- confidence in parenting
- maternal warmth
- children’s emotional and behavioural difficulties.
A small comparison group was included in the study. The comparison group participants were children and young people from a women’s refuge who had attended play therapy to support their recovery from domestic abuse.
The impact of the evaluation was measured by comparing the outcomes of the DART group and comparison group. The longer-term effects of the evaluation were measured by comparing the results of the measures collected at time 3 with the time 1 and time 2 data, to see if any improvements had been maintained over time.
We interviewed a sample of DART practitioners, and mothers and children who attended the service. This helped us identify which aspects of the programme worked well and led to positive outcomes, and which barriers may prevent families from benefitting from DART. Professionals who referred families to DART (such as social workers, health professionals and school staff) also took part in a survey to share their views and experiences of the programme.
The evaluation used the following tools:
- Parental acceptance and rejection questionnaire (Mother and Child versions)
- Parental Locus of Control scale (two factors from this scale: parental efficacy and parental control)
- Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
- An adapted version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem questionnaire (adapted for children)
- Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.