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Schemes will safeguard victims and tackle perpetrators of domestic violence

2nd April 2015

Schemes to safeguard victims and tackle perpetrators of domestic abuse will go ahead after funding was secured by Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

Over £920,000 will go to the projects following two successful bids by the Commissioner to the Police Innovation Fund.

One initiative will focus on identifying and safeguarding serial victims of domestic violence meaning an individual who has been a victim of abuse from two or more partners, family members or a combination of both.

Between April 2011 and December 2013, a total of 2,622 serial victims were identified in the Northumbria area and were involved in almost 10,000 incidents which police attended.

This funding will assist with data analysis to identify serial victims plus give them support through dedicated domestic violence workers and access to specialist agencies.

This will be integrated into the existing work of Gateshead Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub but could be rolled out to other area commands.

An enhanced domestic abuse perpetrators project will also benefit from funding. This will aim to identify and target the most harmful perpetrators through analysis of recency, frequency and gravity of offending via a multi-agency tasking and co-ordination (MATAC) process.

Identified perpetrators will be referred into the MATAC process where key partners will agree a bespoke set of interventions using a domestic abuse ‘toolkit’. This can include targeting and disrupting perpetrators and or supporting them to address their behaviour.

The project would also look to adopt best practice from housing provider Gentoo which offers perpetrators housing alternatives if they engage with appropriate conditions of residency such as signing up to an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “It’s recognised that a large percentage of our victims frequently get involved in a series of relationships with different offenders. It is these victims who are most at risk of homicide.

“This funding aims to identify, tackle and safeguard serial victims using intelligent data analysis accompanied by one-to-one support to move serial victims on from the cycle of victimisation.

“The enhanced multi-agency safeguarding hub services will be able to identify and give specific support to those serial victims of domestic abuse.

“While victims remain the highest priority, it’s of great importance that we take a proactive approach to identify and support serial perpetrators which this funding will allow to happen.

“By taking this approach and early intervention to alter a perpetrators behaviour, this will not only prevent any further attacks on the victim, but also remove the emphasis from them to engage with police or other agencies if they are reluctant to do through fear or some other factor.

“Tackling domestic abuse is a priority of mine. I want victims to be able to speak out to access help and perpetrators to know that police will do everything in their power to stop their behaviour and secure a conviction against them.

“These two innovative projects will go a long way to making sure these aims are met.”

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim added: “Northumbria Police is extremely pleased with this funding which will enable us to focus on serial victims of domestic abuse and also enhance the work we have ongoing in relation to tackling domestic abuse perpetrators.

“We hope that a combination of the two approaches will lead to helping victims to cope and recover from their experience and help them exit the cycle of abuse they often find themselves in.

“That along with trying to influence the behaviour of domestic abuse perpetrators, plus dealing firmly with those perpetrators who continue with their abusive behaviour, we hope we will be able to improve the lives of those most in need of our help and support.”