The Home Office has announced a £39 million package of new measures aiming to “weed out” domestic abuse and stalking across England and Wales.
50 projects will be rolled out over the next two years with the intention of stopping abusers from repeatedly targeting victims and terrorising vulnerable people.
For example, one West Midlands project is ensuring that domestic abusers and people who display stalking behaviours are closely monitored and given early psychological intervention to change their behaviour before it gets worse.
Several forces are also rolling out the Drive Project, focusing on the most serious offenders to prevent them from abusing again and working with partner agencies such as social services to challenge perpetrators to change their abusive behaviour. This works by putting barriers in place to prevent abuse and ensuring perpetrators experience the full consequences if they continue to be violent and abusive.
The project, which has been running for seven years, has reportedly shown an 82% reduction in physical abuse and 75% reduction in harassment and stalking. Indeed, Safeguarding Minister Sarah Dines said intervention schemes are a “crucial means of protecting victims”.
“The prevention of crime is always better than having to deal with the consequences of crime,” said West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster:
“By intervening early, to challenge and change stalking behaviour and hold perpetrators to account, we can prevent further harm for the victim or future victims and break the cycle of abuse, as well as ensuring help and support for victims and survivors who have experienced this dreadful crime.”
Other projects to receive funding include:
- Behaviour change interventions in Kent, including healthy relationships and compulsive obsessive behaviour interventions
- The “stalking intervention” project in Essex which seeks to change behaviour and reduce risk for victims and survivors of stalking
- Cheshire Police are providing interventions for adult perpetrators and young people displaying harmful behaviours to facilitate behaviour change within a whole family setting
Jo Todd, Chief Executive of Respect, said:
“We welcome the announcement of Home Office perpetrator funding as the roll out of the perpetrator pillar of the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan gets under way.
We believe every perpetrator should be held to account and stopped from causing further harm and are keen to see provision for high quality perpetrator responses in every local area.
This funding is just the start of what’s needed. Respect and our members are keen to see a longer-term cross-departmental strategy from government, that locates perpetrator interventions as part of a whole system approach to ending domestic abuse for good – with funding proportionate to the size of the problem.”