THE unique partnership between the probation service and Barry-based domestic charity Atal y Fro has received a prestigious national award from the Princess Royal.

The award was presented by the Howard League for Penal Reform, which campaigns or more community sentencing, to Gus Vowles, Accredited Programme Treatment Manager with Wales CRC and Julie Grady of Atal y Fro in London.

Atal y Fro is dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence and with the help of Wales Community Rehabilitation Company provides specialist programmes to help men tackle violent behaviour in a safe and supportive environment.

Atal y Fro supports the whole family when it comes to this issue, helping couples who wish to stay together safely or part amicably. For the first time Atal y Fro, formerly Vale of Glamorgan Women’s Aid, agreed to work with men so a holistic approach could be introduced.

Staff help women seeking to get away from the cycle of domestic violence, provide counselling for children and also deal with the fact that women can sometimes be the violent partner within the relationship.

The charity provides training for teachers and other frontline staff and visit schools to speak to pupils about respect in relationships.

The partnership’s motto is Education, Prevention, Intervention in the Community and early intervention approach designed to help the whole family has proved very effective.

Men convicted of domestic violence can reduce the risk of reoffending by taking part in an Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme which consists of nine months of weekly group sessions. In the sessions they are encouraged to take responsibility for their behaviour.

The charity also provides a men’s group which is less structured but still provides a safe environment to discuss issues.

The programme is one of the few Women’s Aid projects which works with perpetrators and is a great example of how multi-agency working and intervention can achieve positive results.