More than £600,000 of funding has been secured by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner for three projects which will work with the perpetrators of domestic abuse to tackle their behaviour and protect families at risk.
Emily Spurrell has been awarded the funding from the Home Office’s Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Fund after submitting bids with partners from Knowsley, Liverpool and Wirral for initiatives running until next March.
£217,000 of the funding will go to the charity Merseyside Domestic Violence Service (MDVS) to enable them to continue to run a programme that aims to challenge the behaviour of men who have been identified as potential perpetrators. The charity received a similar pot of funding in 2020 and used it to work with charity Change Grow Live to simultaneously tackle domestic abuse and substance misuse among 117 high-risk, serial offenders across Liverpool and St Helens
With this new funding, their caseworkers will be able to work intensively one-to-one with more than 40 perpetrators to tackle their behaviour and address the underlying problems which are identified as triggering their abusive behaviour, such as use of alcohol and drug, debt, homelessness and mental health issues.
They will also use the funding pot to deliver Liverpool’s first service which looks to tackle the behaviour of young people who are abusive towards their parents or carers, as well as introducing a new way of working to tackle stalking by using a state-of-the-art tool to assess and manage the risks posed by perpetrators and by bringing in a new Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC).
In Knowsley, the cash boost of £203,000 will be used by the Council to expand their service assessing and managing the threats posed by existing perpetrators to ensure measures are put in place to challenge their abusive behaviour and protect victims and their families. This will ensure each offender who is identified has a dedicated caseworker, with another support worker allocated to their victim and family.
With their award of £200,000, 12 staff from the eight organisations making up Wirral’s multi-agency Domestic Abuse Alliance will be trained to deliver a specialist course for offenders who are also parents. Over the next year, they will then work with up to 160 men to challenge their behaviour, while support will also be provided to their partners and children.
The funding will also be used to train teachers to increase awareness of domestic abuse in schools and colleges, and provide courses for up to 60 parents whose children have been aggressive or violent.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “If we are to truly tackle domestic abuse we must stop it from happening in the first place.
“To do that, we must challenge the behaviour, attitudes and underlying issues that cause people to become abusive and violent. The right interventions at the right time can stop abuse from occurring, recurring or escalating.
“By confronting perpetrators with both the consequences of the behaviour and starting to address the underlying issues that trigger that abuse, our aim is to end the misery and suffering of their partners and children.
“These three projects will hopefully do just that – working to change mindsets and patterns of behaviour among offenders to try and stop offences from taking place, protecting more families and preventing harm.
“I’m delighted to have secured this funding on behalf of these excellent projects, but this is challenging work and it takes time. This additional funding will help these projects to expand and enhance the services they can offer in the short term, but it is not the answer if we want to put a stop to domestic abuse for good. Over the next eight months, I will lobby Government to commit to providing this vital funding long-term.”
Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods Cllr Shelley Powell, said: “We are committed to supporting those who experience domestic abuse, ensuring they receive access to specialist care. However, we must also work with the perpetrators of domestic abuse in order to provide long-term support to both them, their victim and family. This funding boost will allow us to provide this crucial service in order to tackle the perpetrators’ behaviour and hopefully break the cycle of abuse.”
In June, the Police Commissioner invited charities and eligible groups to contact her with their proposals for projects which she could submit for funding. Bids were asked to focus on addressing the issues of known offenders, children and young people and stalking.
A total of five bids were received. These were reviewed by a panel, with three being assessed as meeting the criteria and eligible to be put forward for funding by the Police Commissioner. All three received the full amount of funding requested.
As part of the bidding process, organisations were required to provide “match funding” to enable the programmes to run for 12 months in total.