Project Foundation: How we’re tackling domestic abuse perpetrators
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We have rolled out force-wide domestic abuse project to pursue repeat domestic abuse perpetrators as part of our strategy to tackle violence and against women.
Since January 2021, Hampshire Constabulary in partnership with The Hampton Trust have led the Home Office funded project with the aim to identify and manage the most dangerous perpetrators of physical and sexual violence in the community, offering them pathways to try and help change their behaviour.
Project Foundation was first piloted in Southampton and Eastleigh and has since been rolled out across the remainder of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Working with The Hampton Trust, one of the most respected and innovative UK providers of work in the field of domestic abuse and criminal justice, a method has been devised to analyse existing police data to identify perpetrators for management and intervention by Neighbourhood based High Harm Teams.
The focus is on perpetrators whose abuse has occurred in a family setting where children are present and where we have not been able to bring a charge.
Project Foundation officers are making unannounced visits to perpetrators, offering them diversion through behavioural change programmes as well as any relevant support to alcohol, drug, mental health or financial problems to stop the cycle of abuse and identify any news relationships where someone could be at risk.
Together with invaluable expertise of partner agencies, this targeted project seeks to identify the underlying causes of abusive behaviour towards intimate partners and offers long term solutions to protect victims from further abuse and reduce perpetrator’s behaviour.
It also reminds perpetrators we’re watching them, and we’re trying to get them to change.
Detective Chief Inspector David West, Head of Offender Management and lead for Domestic Abuse perpetrator response said:
“We know that a large number of domestic abuse cases are not prosecuted due to the incredibly complex nature of the circumstances that have usually occurred in the privacy of a home.
“A victim may have suffered for years before having the confidence to report their abuser, so it’s enormously important that policing responds when it is revealed, by providing effective ongoing help for victims and intervention for the perpetrator.
“We know that women are disproportionately victims of domestic abuse at the hands of men, which is why this is part of our strategy to tackle violence against women and girls. We also know the devastating impact domestic abuse can have on children who witness it in the home.
“When we do not have sufficient evidence to prosecute but we know incidents are happening and someone is suffering, Project Foundation allows us to be relentless at going after abusers by disrupting their behaviour and offering long term change with the help and support of our partners.
“Our results will be seen in those who begin to engage with behaviour change programmes, the reduction of offending and I hope, the increased confidence of victims who have suffered so terribly.”
CEO of Hampton Trust, Chantal Hughes, said: “Project Foundation is an opportunity to tackle the root cause of domestic abuse by holding perpetrators to account for their actions. Our partnership with Hampshire Constabulary and Aurora New Dawn ensures we analyse police data and provide a targeted response to perpetrators who we know are causing harm and have potential to slip under the radar.
“This is a way of effectively managing high harm perpetrators by fast tracking them into Hampton Trust for assessment and support. Importantly, the integrated victim safety service ensures victims are also supported. Once identified, we work alongside Hampshire Constabulary to monitor and track all perpetrators referred to Project Foundation. I have no doubt that this is a positive step forward in sending a strong message to perpetrators that we are continuing to monitor them.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones said: “Project Foundation is a great example of Hampshire Constabulary working in partnership with domestic abuse charities to find innovative ways to reduce violence against women.
“By targeting the perpetrators of these crimes, the experts in the field can better understand the root causes and tackle the cycle of abuse.
“Working with the Hampton Trust I am commissioning services to not only prevent re-offending, but to help some of the most at risk people in our communities.
“This is something I am wholly committed to, which is why I created Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s first Violence Against Women’s and Girls task group in September.”