1,000 domestic abuse offenders referred to scheme to change behaviour

31st January 2023




Written by

Bryony Rogers

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More than 1,000 people in the West Midlands, who have committed domestic abuse offences, have been referred for help to stop them from offending in future.

The early intervention scheme CARA, which is paid for by the Police and Crime Commissioner, began in 2017. It’s run by the Hampton Trust and is designed to intervene early to challenge and change abusive behaviours. Cara ensures the offender knows exactly what constitutes abuse and what harm they are causing to the victim.

The scheme is designed for low level offenders and specifically targets people who have received a police caution or a community resolution order. It provides opportunities for offenders to reflect on their behaviour, the impact it has caused and the need for change.

The initiative is delivered in close partnership with West Midlands Police and highlights how partners, children and other relationships suffer as a consequence of domestic abuse.

The intervention, which is delivered by professionals in the form of workshops, also signposts the offender to long term offender programmes, drug and alcohol services and mental health schemes.

An evaluation, carried out by the University of Birmingham, found that reoffending was reduced by 81% within the first six months and by 56% within the first twelve months, after participating in the programme.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “I am pleased to see so many people changing their abusive behaviours after being challenged by a team of professionals.

“I will always be on the side of the victim. If it is agreed that an intervention like this could challenge and change an abuser’s behaviour and prevent them from inflicting abuse on other people in the future then it’s always going to have my backing.

“Abusers must also understand though, that they will be dealt with swiftly and robustly by the police, if they don’t cease their own abusive behaviour.”

The scheme can now be delivered in twelve languages and there is also a tailored course for female offenders.

Chantal Hughes is the CEO of Hampton Trust, she said: “If we are to stand any chance of reducing the risk to adult victims and children and break the cycle of domestic abuse and violence, we must engage with the offenders early and tackle the root cause of their actions.

“By holding them to account and helping them to change their behaviour we can prevent it from being passed down to future generations.

“CARA has shown to be an effective early tool for police in preventing abusive behaviours from becoming more entrenched and escalating.”

Last year CARA was delivered for the first time to a deaf offender via a three-way Skype link with a sign language interpreter.

Nicola Lloyd is the Neighbourhood Justice Manager at West Midlands Police and she said: “Not all victims want to press charges; all they want is for the behaviour to stop. CARA has proved incredibly valuable in allowing West Midlands Police to provide an effective positive outcome for these victims.

“Prior to CARA there was little we could do for them, but now we can offer them options that not only reduce conflict in relationships, but also significantly reduce the risk of reoffending. Offenders are held to account for their actions and the structure of the course ensures it is not an easy option.”