The CARA journey

During 2011 The Hampton Trust formed part of a strategic stakeholder group across Hampshire to consider alternative sanctions for domestic abuse perpetrators.  The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) granted Hampshire Constabulary permission for a trial using conditional cautions for specific domestic abuse offences with the aim being “to improve justice outcomes for victims by addressing offender behaviour.”   We designed domestic abuse awareness-raising workshops to be delivered to Individuals under a conditional caution.  We worked with Cambridge University and Hampshire Constabulary to conduct the randomized control trial.

Project CARA was the first domestic abuse policing strategy in UK history to be trialled under experimental conditions. The trial resulted in 35% fewer men reoffending against their partner compared to those in the control group, and reduced further harm to victims by over a quarter. In 2015 Project CARA received an award from the National College of Policing for Innovation. Following conclusion of the trial Project CARA was rolled out countywide across Hampshire.

In 2016 we starting working in partnership with West Midlands Police to deliver a CARA pilot which included translating material to Polish and Punjabi and engaging in further evaluations with Cambridge University. This was an ambitious project, and in its third year this project has gone from strength to strength. 2019/2020 will see West Midlands Project CARA deliver across four sites to in excess of 600 offenders. We are also piloting CARA in Leicester in partnership with Leicestershire Police.

In December 2018 we partnered with Avon & Somerset Police to mobilise our fourth CARA site. Police officers who identify offenders suitable for CARA refer them to the constabulary’s new ASCEND (Avon and Somerset Constabulary Engage Navigate Divert) service, which has been created to assess the offender’s need and support them through the programme.

It has been possible to extend CARA trials across new sites due to the Department of Public Prosecutions approving permission for select police forces to trial the use of conditional cautions for domestic abuse with workshops based on the CARA principles. We are delighted that recommendations for extended trials of conditional cautions for domestic abuse has been included in the Domestic Abuse Bill published in January 2019, with specific reference to CARA.

In April 2019 we partnered with Dorset Police to mobilise our fifth CARA site. Further CARA sites are in the pipeline and we are currently engaging with Universities to set up further evaluations of Project CARA across multiple sites.

An initial assessment of the early stages of CARA can be found in the following Discussion Paper

CARA has been evaluated by the University of Cambridge.  Read the Research article for further information on how CARA workshops have reduced incidents of abuse.

For further information on Project CARA please contact us.

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