Up2U: creating healthy relationships

Up2U is a programme for people who use domestically abusive and unhealthy behaviours in their relationships. It seeks to reduce the incidents of domestic violence, prevent the cycle of abuse, and reduce the numbers of children in child protection services, edge of care or children in care.

The Up2U service has several strands:

Strand 1
The Up2U core service is jointly funded through public health, the office of the police commissioner (OPCC) and children’s social care via the Troubled Families programme, under the priority area for the reduction and prevention of domestic violence.

Strand 2
The SDAS (Southern Domestic Abuse Service) is funded by Big Lottery through Reaching Communities England and was developed to extend the capacity and delivery area of the core programme.  It was also designed to address an identified need through the core programme that the partners of core programme beneficiaries were in need of a very similar service and tailored programme of support.

Strand 3
The Up2U Family Intervention Service is funded through the Home Office’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) service transformation fund and is focused on  abusive relationships, for parents known to children’s social care. It addresses the issues of unhealthy and co-abusive relationships.

Strand 4
Up2U has a developing trading arm which provides consultancy, training and clinical supervision.  

All of the above strands of the service are interlinked and as a ‘whole service approach’ the development and performance of the service is shared amongst all commissioners and their associated strategic groups and forums (as appropriate for the purposes of sharing best practice and connecting to emerging local priorities and service improvements).

The core service reports KPIs and outcomes to the aforementioned commissioners and is part of a larger evaluation and randomised controlled trial  undertaken by the Universities of Portsmouth and York. Big Lottery has an established reporting structure for Reaching Communities and this is overseen by our delivery partner lead SDAS. The outcomes and KPIs for this programme are closely aligned to those of the core programme ensuring synergy.

The Family Intervention (VAWG) Service reports to the Home Office and bids are currently being developed for funding to externally evaluate this programme in more detail beyond the project reporting to create a robust evidence base to take forward. 

Service objectives
All strands of the service and its current developments share the same stated objectives:

  • to reduce the incidents of domestic violence and violence against women and men
  • to prevent the cycle of abuse
  • to reduce the numbers of children in child protection services, edge of care or children in care.


The core service is accountable to the Domestic Abuse Review Group and managed by the Up2U Business and Development Director who reports into the children’s social care governance structure overseen by the Deputy Director of Children’s Social Care.

The SDAS service, funded by Big Lottery, is line managed by Southern Domestic Abuse Services and accountable to their board of trustees and Big Lottery for services outcomes, safeguards delivery and quality.

The Family Intervention (VAWG) Service is also line managed by Up2U Business and Development Director and the Up2U Business and Development Deputy under the aforementioned governance structure in children’s social care and is delivered closely with the Troubled Family teams. There is the obvious accountability through the line management structure of a service delivering as part of the Trouble Family agenda but with the added accountability to the Home Office.

The Up2U Business and Development Director and Deputy are responsible and accountable for clinical supervision and training for all service delivery.

The core Up2U service and the Family Intervention (VAWG) Service are part of the Children and Families Directorate under the Harm and Exploitation Service and the extended service and partner services programme is part of the voluntary and community sector with the Big Lottery funding Southern Domestic Abuse Services to run the services.  

The Director of Children’s Services attends the Safer Portsmouth Partnership. The Deputy Director of Children and Families chairs the Domestic Abuse Review Group that in turn reports to the Safer Portsmouth Partnership. 

Strategic alignment
The service meets several priorities which cut across several strategic plans and thematic areas for prevention, early intervention, tacking poverty and improving outcomes for the most at risk and vulnerable. These also include community engagement and developing a joint approach through partnership to produce efficiencies, service improvements and cost savings. 

Read the full case study
Up2U: creating healthy relationships