Force launches ‘Safe Relationships’ perpetrator programme
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A project launched today is set to improve the lives of people living with domestic abuse in this county, by working with offenders to challenge their entrenched thinking so they take responsibility for their behaviour and start to understand the impact their abuse has on women, children and their families, as well as the wider society.
The ‘Safe Relationships’ programme is a successful Northumbria Police innovation which has been proven to be effective at preventing domestic related abuse, aimed at addressing harmful behaviour in order to prevent reoffending.
Some of the county’s most prolific domestic abuse offenders will be asked to join the intervention and support programme, which uses protection and safeguarding rather than detection and arrest alone. The first group will be 10 offenders who will be selected using analysis overlaid with the professional judgement of specialist staff. One of the criteria used will be the alleged number of victims. The programme takes 17 weeks to complete and is evidence based, delivered by specially trained and accredited staff.
Those who fail to engage will be removed from the programme and dealt with in the same way as any other prolific offender, meaning officers will actively disrupt their lifestyle in order to protect vulnerable victims and prevent further offending taking place.
Chief Inspector Julie Mead, the force lead for domestic abuse, said: “Many perpetrators commit low-level domestic abuse over a protracted period of time, moving from victim to victim, but fall through the gaps in services due to the nature of their offending.
“A matrix has been designed which helps us identify these serial offenders so we can create a group which can then be dealt with by our offender management team who will engage with them in much the same way as they deal with prolific offenders of other crime type such as burglary.
“This isn’t a soft approach but is a genuine attempt to address domestic abuse and keep victims safe by placing the focus on the perpetrator. By proactively seeking to engage serial perpetrators, the project responds to concerns that it is often victims of domestic abuse who are required to take action but this puts the onus squarely on the offender.”
The programme has been initiated and funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, who said: “This programme gives us another tool to tackle domestic abuse and will particularly help us to tackle the entrenched offenders who abuse multiple partners, time and time again. This programme gives us the best opportunity to grip this behaviour and help stop the offenders from causing harm in the future.”
Notes to Editors
The Multi-Agency Tasking and Coordination (MATAC) Project is a Northumbria Police innovation which uses a multi-agency and community-based approach to work with perpetrators in order to support them to change – or to be proactively managed.
It is a pre-crisis approach designed to prevent domestic abuse by utilising the partnership management of standard risk or regular/serial perpetrators of domestic abuse similar to MARAC. There is no legislative mandate for stakeholders to participate in MATAC. It is designed to contribute to the achievement of the following objectives:
- Prevent further domestic abuse related offending
- Improve victim safety
- Improve Criminal Justice Service (CJS) outcomes
- Improve partnership engagement
- Improve offender behaviour
The programme has operated successfully in the north of the country since 2016.