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Hampshire Constabulary domestic abuse project reduces reoffending

Men who attend workshops run as part of a Hampshire Constabulary-led project to reduce domestic abuse are less likely to reoffend.

That's the initial finding of research being conducted in conjunction with the University of Cambridge published today.

Project CARA (Conditional Cautioning and Relationship Abuse) has been running in the constabulary’s Western Area since August 2012 with the workshops provided by the Hampton Trust.

The controlled experiment tracks the progress over 24 months of men, mostly first time offenders, who receive a condition caution for a domestic abuse offence.

Some of the men (a randomised selection) are also invited to attend two workshops. These workshops look at issues including understanding emotional abuse and the impact on their families, recognising the feelings that lead to violence and identifying and dealing with contributory factors such as alcoholism and other substance abuse.

Initial results from the first 12 months of the project show that of 112 men:

  • Those who attended the workshops were 46 per cent less likely to re-offend than those who didn’t attend.
  • 82 per cent of the men who attended said the workshops changed their attitude to their partner. 
  • 91 per cent of men who attended said the workshops helped address issues within their relationship.


Preventing serious violent crime

Chief Superintendent Scott Chilton said:  “The research conducted as part of Project CARA is victim-focused, innovative and arguably the first of its kind in the world.

“It looks predominantly at first time offenders involved in cases that don’t warrant a prosecution charge but still require police action.

“This is an emotive and challenging area to police. Without the possibility of a charge, current means available to officers to intervene usually don’t go far enough to protect victims. First time arrests often lead to no further action and issuing a simple caution doesn’t provide the breathing space a couple needs to reflect on the situation.

“The workshops, on the other hand, address the causes of an offender’s violent behaviour, rather than the symptoms, with the aim of preventing that violence escalating into something more serious.

“Conducting research in this controlled way means we’re able to remain focused on protecting victims at all stages.

“The initial results are encouraging and the testimonies from those involved indicate this approach can make a valuable difference.

“There is much we can learn from Project CARA and I will be looking now at how the scheme can be used on a wider scale. I believe it has the potential to help protect many more people at risk of domestic abuse and prevent more serious violence happening in the first place.”

Sara Kirkpatrick, The Hampton Trust’s Domestic Abuse Practice and Development Manager said: “It’s been inspiring watching course delegates move from an initial position of anger and denial towards recognizing how power and control in all of its forms are abusive. 

“CARA has been unique in how it has allowed us to intervene at the earliest opportunity and through it we have been able to gain valuable feedback from victims in understanding how positive early interventions can make a significant difference.”

Chief Supt. Chilton is presenting the initial findings from Project CARA today (Tuesday, July 8) at the Conference on Evidence-Based Policing at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology.

If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse, help is available.