West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Worcestershire County Council have reaffirmed their support for a programme that works with some of the most high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators and challenges them to change.
The Drive project, delivered by Cranstoun, was launched in Worcestershire as part of a pilot in April 2018. It is a multi-agency response to domestic abuse that encourages people to stop asking, “Why doesn’t she/he leave?” and start asking, “Why doesn’t he/she stop?”. It aims to reduce the number of victims by disrupting offender behaviour and both challenging and supporting perpetrators to change, whilst holding them to account. It also aims to intervene earlier to protect families living with domestic abuse.
In 2019 (January to December), domestic abuse offences accounted for 17% of all offences recorded, with Worcestershire accounting for 48% of those.
Since Drive was introduced, 155 high risk domestic abuse perpetrators have been referred to Drive. Of which, 174 victims were associated with the individual and 211 children and young people were also identified as being associated. Those victims are referred to support services specific to their needs. A new children and young people worker was introduced in July 2019 to reduce the impact of domestic abuse by working with the whole family.
To ensure this work can continue, the PCC and County Council have agreed to match fund the extension of the Drive project in Worcestershire until the end of March 2021. After the project was visited today by local MPs Harriet Baldwin, Mark Garnier and Robin Walker, it is also hoped that Drive and the domestic abuse agenda will continue to be raised within Parliament as a priority.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “Putting victims and survivors first is a promise I made when I first came into office. I am pleased to see that the Drive project is getting to the root of the problem and working to reduce the number and severity of domestic abuse incidents.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Worcestershire County Council and other partners to ensure that we are doing all we can to put an end to this awful crime, and that we are providing support to those affected.”
Councillor John Smith, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We are very pleased to announce the additional funding to continue the excellent work of Drive in Worcestershire which will contribute to the prevention and de-escalation of domestic abuse, improving the health and care outcomes for children and families living in Worcestershire.”
Annie Steele, Director of Operations for Cranstoun, said: “We are delighted the Police and Crime Commissioner and Worcestershire Public Health have committed to extend the Drive programme until March 2021. We will continue to build on the excellent multi-agency working to tackle domestic abuse across Worcester. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live healthy, safe and happy lives. We work with perpetrators to change their behaviour and prevent future domestic abuse incidents. By working with the perpetrators to enable positive change we can protect victims and children from experiencing abuse.”
Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of Drive, said: “We are pleased that both the Police and Crime Commissioner and Council are continuing to invest so that perpetrators of domestic abuse are held accountable and prevented from continuing their abuse.
“Staff across statutory and voluntary sector agencies in Worcester are extremely committed and have worked incredibly hard to ensure Drive’s success in the area. We’d like to see more areas across the country responding to perpetrators of domestic abuse and we look forward to working with commissioners and government to make that happen.”