The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for West Yorkshire, alongside key local partners, have secured £215,010 in additional Home Office funding towards efforts in tackling domestic abuse.
The OPCC said the funding will help to deliver a perpetrator intervention service with three specific strands.
In Leeds, it will see a dedicated Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Worker with immediate access to a range of relevant agencies.
The intention of this new role is to improve joint working, as well as making sure the victim has access to support.
Bradford will have an early intervention perpetrator worker within a multi-agency team, offering one to one and whole family support.
In addition, in an effort to support wider communities, the funding will drive a domestic abuse perpetrator programme in the city region that is culturally appropriate and relevant to South Asian communities.
This will include two workers with relevant language skills and an in-depth understanding of the potential community-based barriers.
Finally, a portion of the funding will also be used to expand a West Yorkshire wide ‘location tagging’ programme developed alongside the Police, Probation service and local authorities, to assist in controlling and helping to rehabilitate offenders, whilst protecting local communities.
Upon announcement of the funding, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson said: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it increased isolation, which has subsequently amplified the opportunity for domestic abuse to occur.
“It is an issue that is more relevant now than ever been before and one which we must act quickly to address, particularly as it is unacceptable behaviour and an offence that often goes unreported.”
Rise in Reports
Commissioner Burns-Williamson described the funding as a “lifeline’ to people whose circumstances have been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.
Over the summer it was reported that the National Domestic Abuse Helpline had seen a surge in calls during the first lockdown period.
Commissioner Burns-Williamson added: “[The funding] will assist in delivering important perpetrator focussed programmes in local areas and also strengthen the evaluation of any positive interventions, so we can keep building upon our approach.
“To ensure the continuation of these crucial strands of work, both my office and key partners will be providing match funding beyond this Home Office funding.”
Domestic Abuse, along with issues such as modern slavery, have been a key part of the OPCC efforts to tackle offences through their Police and Crime Plan.
They recently invested £362,600 into a two-year contract for the West Yorkshire Integrated Perpetrator and Victim Support Service that aimed to focus on first-time perpetrators of domestic abuse who receive a conditional caution, in an effort to help prevent further abuse.
“By working together in this way, we can be more effective in our endeavours to keep vulnerable people safe across our communities, recognising their specific needs in these very challenging times.”
Prevention and Protection
Chief Inspector Martin Moizer, Criminal Justice, said: “Our priority will always be supporting the victim and doing all we can to keep them safe.
“Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and evidence shows perpetrators often continue to re-offend and there can be an escalation of harm over time.
“Where lower-level offences are committed we are looking at having an out of court disposal which brings with it a mandatory caution and access to education and support so perpetrators can address their abusive attitudes at the very earliest opportunity.
“As part of the process, they will be tagged – to help safeguard victims and the wider community. This money – which is very welcome – will fund that programme.”
Angela Everson, CEO of WomenCentre Ltd said: “WomenCentre is delighted to be part of the successful bid.
“The funding received will allow us to further develop our work with perpetrators of Domestic Abuse in the Bradford area and to work more closely with multi-agency partners to embed earlier intervention responses.
“Both elements have a clear focus on the safety of victims and their families as well as trying to promote changes in perpetrator behaviour.”
Jude Roberts, Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Lead, Front Door Safeguarding Hub said: “Working with perpetrators of domestic abuse is seen as an essential element to reducing domestic abuse and the impact on victims and children.
“Reducing reoffending and risk of harm posed by perpetrators will be achieved by engaging directly perpetrators around their behaviour and holding them to task through partnership working.”