“Time Out”: A Strategy for Reducing Men’s Violence Against Women in Relationships?


Richard Wistow, Liz Kelly, and Nicole Westmarland

Publication date: 

27th May 2016

This article critically explores accounts of how men attending domestic violence perpetrator programs (DVPP) used the “time out” strategy. Findings are drawn from 71 semi-structured interviews with 44 men attending DVPPs and 27 female partners or ex-partners of men in DVPPs. The authors describe three ways in which the technique was used: first, as intended, to interrupt potential physical violence; second, through the effective adaption of the time-out rules by victim-survivors; and finally, misappropriation by some men to continue and extend their controlling behaviors. Policy and practice lessons are drawn from the findings through connecting broader and deeper measurements of what success means when working with domestic violence perpetrators to the ways in which the time-out technique was used.