Tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence is a priority for West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and our communities.
The PCC’s commitment to these issues was supported by his published Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy in 2017.
The strategy underpins the need for partnership working, providing the framework for a West Yorkshire Domestic and Sexual Abuse Partnership to jointly plan and deliver support services.
A two-year pilot programme was commissioned and the learning from this now leads the PCC to re-commission a West Yorkshire wide service with a focus on first time/standard perpetrators of domestic abuse who receive a conditional caution.
Restorative Solutions is working with the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police, in partnership with the Hampton Trust, to set up and mobilise Project CARA across the force area.
CARA is a criminal justice response to victims of domestic abuse by enhanced risk management and holding standard risk offenders to account for their actions.
Restorative Solutions will work with The Hampton Trust to build on the success both of similar CARA sites elsewhere in the country and the Restorative Justice Service for victims of crime in West Yorkshire, which Restorative Solutions have been delivering since 2018.
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “Both domestic abuse and sexual violence crimes are complex, and sensitive areas with a high level of under-reporting to the police. Through my Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy, I committed that I would work together with partners to deliver services which support a coordinated response and I am pleased that this programme after a lot of hard work has now been commissioned for the next two years.
“The aim of the programme is to reduce the number of domestic abuse incidents and to support victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence across West Yorkshire. There are five key priority areas to the service, which are partnership working, preventing violence and abuse, provision of services, support for victims and survivors and pursuing perpetrators. I am looking forward to seeing some tangible outcomes and differences to the levels of domestic violence and abuse which are never acceptable as a result of this programme in the next 2 years”
Chief Inspector Martin Moizer, Criminal Justice, said: “Our priority will always be supporting the victim and doing all we can to keep them safe. We know that domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, evidence shows perpetrators of DA often continue to re-offend and there can be an escalation of harm over time.
“The new CARA process is designed to be used as a mandatory condition with an out of court disposal in lower level offences and will provide offenders with access to education and support so they can address their abusive attitudes at the very earliest opportunity. Some of these will be cases that are coming to the notice of the police for the very first time. If we can break the cycle of domestic abuse at that stage by educating about the effect and consequences of their actions on their partners and children, we hope to reduce the likelihood of reoffending and decrease the risk to victims whose safety is of paramount importance to us all.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CARA?
CARA (Cautions and Relationship Abuse) is a proven and recognised model of interventions with perpetrators of domestic abuse who are subject to conditional cautions. CARA is evidenced based, and has been evaluated by Cambridge University. The recently published draft Domestic Abuse Bill supports extended trials of conditional cautions (CC) for domestic abuse using ‘CARA principles’.
CARA is an awareness raising intervention - participants engage and reflect on behaviour that is placing their families at risk. The sessions are carefully constructed to enable participants to identify as being abusive and to explore what constitutes healthy, positive relationships. A pair of workshops provide participants with strategies and skills to build respectful relationships. This includes focusing on different aspects of violence and control, and on skills for better relationships and parenting.
Who is it for?
Eligibility is for standard risk first time offenders, issued with a Conditional Caution by West Yorkshire Police (WYP). Initially, all referrals/bookings will be made directly by WYP when issuing the Conditional Caution. The intention is to start taking referrals and running the first workshops during October 2020.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Guidance for use of conditional cautions for domestic abuse states police forces must have a robust approach to assessing risk and should only use conditional cautions for cases where a DASH or other risk assessment tool shows that the risk to the safety of the victim and/or family is not higher that the “standard” or “medium” classification. West Yorkshire Police will use these guidelines when issuing a conditional caution for CARA.
How does it work?
CARA utilises a trauma informed approach and motivational interviewing techniques delivered across the pair of workshops. The aims and objectives of the workshops are to enable offenders:
- To reflect on the offence including personal triggers.
- To gain an understanding of different types of abuse within a family dynamic.
- To recognise physical symptoms of anger and the feelings which lead to anger and then violence.
- To recognise the damaging effects of behaviour on themselves and others.
- To understand personal risk and protective factors.
- To reflect on self-esteem and self-regulation designed to increase personal resilience.
- To establish personal time out strategies and safe conflict.
- To understand communication and conflict resolution skills.
- To identify future strategies for sustaining change.
- To provide signposts to other relevant agencies/organisations
Where do I get more information?
For more information contact CARA Service Manager Sophie Turner at [email protected].