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West Mercia’s PCC has secured over £560,000 of funding to support victims and challenge and change the behaviour of those who are controlling or violent towards loved ones.

The Government made available £10 million for Police and Crime Commissioners to bid for funds to work with perpetrators of domestic abuse. Of the money secured, £386,026 will go towards the implementation of the Drive programme within Herefordshire, after a successful pilot in Worcestershire, and the roll out of a programme that provides direct support for children and teenagers who are abusing their parents or carers. An additional £180,545 has been awarded to further support domestic abuse and sexual violence organisations working with victims and survivors as a result of Covid-19.

The PCC was awarded funding to specifically roll Drive out in Herefordshire. This programme works to change the narrative in domestic abuse, so instead of asking of the victim ‘why did they stay?’ the onus is placed on the perpetrator and the question asked is ‘why didn’t they stop?’. The area of Herefordshire was chosen as it was the largest area of demand outside of Worcestershire.

The Respect Young People programme will work with various organisations across West Mercia and the PCC will be supporting them in undertaking Respect accredited training. This will ensure that those working within these organisations are better equipped to provide vital support to young people that are abusive or violent towards those close to them. At the end of the training, all organisations will come together to inform future service provision for the subject matter.

PCC John Campion said: “Putting victims and survivors first is something I will continue to strive for, however we need to start shifting an increased focus towards stopping the abuse from ever happening. If we’re going to reduce the number, and severity, of incidences of domestic abuse then we need to target the source and get to the root problem.

“The work already being carried out within West Mercia around challenging perpetrator behaviour has been very successful, which is why I wanted to extend it wider. I am pleased the Government has provided this opportunity and support, and I’m very much looking forward to working with the many partners involved to see this become a success. The additional Covid funding is also very welcome, after organisations had to adapt as a result of the pandemic. No one should have to fear that they could become a victim at the hands of their loved one.”

Annie Steele, Director of Operations for Cranstoun, said: “We are delighted to be extending our Drive provision to include Herefordshire and look forward to working with our multi-agency partners to successfully mobilise the service. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live healthy, safe and happy lives. By working with the perpetrators to enable positive change we can protect victims and children from experiencing abuse.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “It is vital that we tackle the root causes of violent behaviour and this additional funding will allow the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner to increase his focus on stopping the abuse from happening.

“It is important to address abusive tendencies early on, and providing training to help organisations tackle young person to parent violence is key to preventing these behaviours from continuing into adulthood.”