Sussex Police to launch a domestic abuse perpetrator programme

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has successfully secured £402,000 from the Government to set up the first county-wide domestic abuse (DA) perpetrator programme.

Last year in Sussex, there were 13,500 reports of alleged DA offences. However, with only a 4% local conviction rate for these crimes, 96% of perpetrators were not sentenced and subsequently did not receive any service intervention that would address their behaviour.

Working closely with Sussex Police, all three county councils, local charities and rehabilitation companies, PCC Bourne will now be leading the development of a pilot programme that will bridge this gap.

The majority of the funding will be used to target the most active dangerous DA perpetrators, uncovering and addressing the reasons why they commit these crimes, with an aim of changing their behaviour and reducing reoffending through evidence-based interventions.

The programme will offer access to dedicated mental health workers, drug and alcohol specialists and offender management caseworkers, with Sussex Police officers leading on referrals.

The perpetrator’s victims and their families will also be offered support through a qualified Independent Domestic Violence Adviser who will keep them informed throughout and can liaise with Children’s Social Care where required.

As well as targeting those DA perpetrators that are causing the most harm, the learning in Sussex to date has shown that there also needs to be an offer for those perpetrators that may not fit into this category.

As a result, funding will be used to set up a system where perpetrators can refer themselves to the programme if they recognise that their behaviour needs addressing.

PCC Katy Bourne said: “I have always supported and spearheaded the creation of perpetrator programmes, being one of the first PCCs to back the DRIVE project which was piloted in West Sussex and worked with hundreds of high-risk, domestic abuse perpetrators. This work has provided the evidence needed to set up a more sustainable approach.