Photo of attendees including London’s Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden

London’s Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden visited Barnet Council’s offices for an update on the council’s pioneering pilot scheme to tackle domestic abuse in the borough, along with its partners at the neighbouring councils of Brent and Enfield.

Called the ‘Culturally Integrated Family Approach’ (CIFA), the wide-reaching scheme provides tailored services that recognise differences in cultures and ethnicities to improve the support available to those experiencing domestic abuse.

Funded by the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, the CIFA scheme is part of the council’s three-year strategy for tackling violence against women and girls, which was launched in March of this year on International Women’s Day. Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden said:

“I’m really pleased that we are able to provide funding for this programme. In order to keep women and girls safe we have to change the behaviour of men and this service is about providing culturally appropriate services that recognise and understand the differences in cultures and ethnicities.” 

This innovative tri-borough service led by Barnet Council provides a targeted, multi-faceted domestic abuse service for racial minority communities through a focused, coordinated family and community approach. The individual needs will be identified through a specialised suitability assessment, and interventions adapted to include extended family members.

Tina McElligott, Chair of VAWG Delivery Group and Director of Early Help & Children’s Social Care Services, said: “This is such an important programme as it is engaging and supporting perpetrators to reduce harmful behaviours by working with them in their cultural context. We are learning so much about what works and we look forward to sharing that learning in the programme evaluation next year.

“There was a perceived need among the three boroughs for a whole family response, including working with the male perpetrator and other members facilitating abuse. We know one size does not fit all approaches and therefore this tri-borough partnership was keen to pilot the culturally integrated family approach response and evaluate its effectiveness of this service delivery.”

RISE Mutual CIC will deliver various services as part of an intersectional approach, which takes into account the different elements of the victim and perpetrators’ identities, rather than focusing on just one identity marker such as gender or race, when working with the family. It will also help to break down some of the barriers to victims accessing support and help challenge and disrupt the abuse.

Kuljit Sandhu, Managing Director, RISE Mutual CIC, said: “As the CIFA project provider, we are pleased to deliver a tri-borough much-needed culturally informed service for perpetrators and families from racialised and marginalised communities. It is essential to raise awareness for a broader cultural approach to reaching under-serviced communities and tackling perpetrators to eradicate violence against women and girls.”


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