Innovation on abuse

Policing domestic abuse has been put under the spotlight at a major research forum looking at how early intervention can have a significant impact on one of the biggest issues facing society.

Nov 22, 2017

Around 100 representatives from academia, policing and the third sector explored trigger behaviours in domestic abuse and the learning that could be applied from other policing and public authority preventative areas at the N8 Policing Research Partnership’s third annual Policing Innovation Forum (PIF). The forum considered new ways of early intervention through a series of discussions and workshops. It heard that research has consistently shown that early intervention and effective prevention are inextricably aligned across a range of social issues, including child delinquency, youth homelessness, women’s homelessness and rough sleeping – including the impact of domestic abuse as a contributory factor, self-harm, major affective disorders and anxiety disorders. Trigger behaviours were equally diverse, including long-term effects of intimate partner violence on adolescent mothers and their children. Many of these antecedent behaviours will be hidden to most but known to some agencies, and so supporting the need for multi-agency engagement was evident at the forum. Keynote speaker, Professor Amanda Robinson of Cardiff University, presented a pilot scheme called the Priority Perpetrator Identification Tool (PPIT), which emerged from research in Wales and involved different agencies and stakeholders using their own knowledge of domestic homicide reviews and the research evidence on serious offending. The PPIT is an evidence-based method for identifying the most dangerous domestic abuse perpetrators with the aim of more effectively focusing multi-agency resources to reduce their offending. It was developed through a programme of research projects led by Professor Robinson with funding from the Welsh government, Wales Probation Trust and the National Offender Management Service. She explained: “Three pilot sites in three different police force areas – Hampshire, Dyfed-Powys and Greater Manchester – are doing something different and innovative to try to bring together more robust and comprehensive information from different multi-agency partners and to use that information to formulate more comprehensive and proactive plans to help those offenders reduce their offending. “Practitioners at the pilot sites themselves recognised that more can be done. It’s more proactive, more systematic in terms of identifying those perpetrators who are producing the most harmful consequences and to do something to change the status quo.” The forum also heard from Chantal Hughes, chief executive officer of the Hampton Foundation, which was established in 1996 in Hampshire to work with court-mandated domestic violence perpetrators and has considerable experience and expertise in domestic abuse. She discussed the Trust’s award-winning Project CARA (Cautions And Relationship Abuse), which offers nominated individuals the opportunity to have an insight into the impact of domestic abuse and to identify their own needs for the future. Project CARA is the first domestic abuse police strategy in UK history to be trialled under experimental conditions. Researchers at Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology worked with Hampshire Constabulary and the Hampton Trust to conduct the study using the CARA programme – small group discussion workshops for men who received conditional cautions for first arrests for low-harm abuse. Focused on increasing awareness of domestic abuse and potential impact on themselves, partners and children, Project CARA offers participants an opportunity to take action and seek further support appropriate to their personal circumstances. Ms Hughes told delegates that results from the experiment so far show both positive feedback from participants and a statistically significant impact on offending. “We aim to move participants away from a place of denial and minimisation for their actions to a position of acceptance and responsibility for the harm they have caused,” she said. Of the 293 who fitted the strict criteria between August 2012 and November 2015, around half were ra

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