New high harm domestic abuse perpetrator unit launched

A new multi-agency unit, led by Sussex Police, starts work today, to tackle some of the county’s most prolific and harmful domestic abusers. 

With £402,000 Government funding secured, the new High Harm Domestic Abuse (DA) Perpetrator Unit will seek, identify and target the most active and dangerous serial perpetrators of DA, uncovering and addressing the reasons why they offend. It will aim to change their behaviour and reduce re-offending.

Last year in Sussex, there were 21,000 reports of alleged DA offences. However, with only a 4% local conviction rate for these crimes, unless more perpetrators are sentenced, they subsequently will not receive any service intervention that would address their behaviour.


The police team, officers with a background in detecting and supervising offenders in the community, have been joined by: a mental health worker from Brighton Housing Trust (BHT); a drugs and alcohol worker from the national health and social care charity Change Grow Live (CGL); an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser (IDVA) from Worth Services; and specialist intervention probation-trained officers from Seetec Justice.

Perpetrators’ victims and their families will be offered support through the IDVA who will keep them informed throughout and can also liaise with Children’s Social Care whenever required.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command said: “I am delighted that the Police and Crime Commissioner has obtained this funding, so that we can now start this domestic abuse perpetrator programme to reduce violence and abusive behaviour in relationships. We want to work with perpetrators to change and modify their behaviour and educate them about healthy relationships.

A wider programme is also being launched today for DA perpetrators who recognise and want to change their destructive behaviour. This will focus on changing the behaviour of up to 100 more perpetrators and will be delivered by local charity, Cranstoun. The program will focus on challenging language, identifying harmful behaviours and supporting to make positive changes. More information is available here:

If you’ve been the victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, you can report this to Sussex Police:

  • using the Sussex Police online Report domestic abuse service
  • in the safety of your local police station (if you require a translator, we can provide someone initially by phone and later in person)
  • by calling 101

For information on support services available in Sussex visit Safe Space Sussex.