IT’S the first of its kind in the world and could be the key to tackling domestic violence.
A pioneering project led by Hampshire Constabulary has proved a huge success at slashing the number of men who reoffend in domestic abuse cases.
Results have revealed that nearly half of men who took part in workshops after receiving a caution for domestic violence were less likely to reoffend, while 82 per cent said the workshops had changed their attitude towards their partner.
Project CARA – Conditional Cautioning and Relationship Abuse – has been running in the western area of the constabulary since August 2012 with the workshops provided by the Hampton Trust.
The controlled experiment tracks the progress over 24 months of men, mostly first time offenders, who receive a conditional caution for a domestic abuse offence. Some of the men were also invited to attend two workshops.
Initial results after the first 12 months shows that of the 112 men that took part in the workshops, 46 per cent were less likely to reoffend than those who didn’t and 92 per cent of men who attended said the workshop helped address issues within their relationship.
The project looks predominantly at first time offenders involved in cases that don’t warrant a prosecution charge but still require police action – giving officers the opportunity to intervene to help protect the victims.
Chief Superintendent Scott Chilton said: “The research conducted as part of Project CARA is victim-focused, innovative and arguably the first of its kind in the world.
“This is an emotive and challenging area to police. Without the possibility of a charge, current means available to officers to intervene usually don’t go far enough to protect victims.
“First time arrests often lead to no further action and issuing a simple caution doesn’t provide the breathing space a couple needs to reflect on the situation.
“The workshops, on the other hand, address the causes of an offender’s violent behaviour, rather than the symptoms, with the aim of preventing that violence escalating into something more serious.
“The initial results are encouraging and the testimonies from those involved indicate this approach can make a valuable difference.
“There is much we can learn from Project CARA and I will be looking now at how the scheme can be used on a wider scale.
“I believe it has the potential to help protect many more people at risk of domestic abuse and prevent more serious violence happening in the first place.”