PCC secures £850k to tackle rise in domestic abuse in Herts

David Lloyd PCC

Herts PCC David Lloyd has secured funding to tackle domestic abuse in the county after a sharp rise during the pandemic - Credit: Gene Genie Photography

Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has secured almost £850,000 in funding to tackle domestic abuse, after a sharp increase in the crime during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The award will enable a series of interventions to be put in place including identification of more perpetrators and ensuring victims are supported and safeguarded.

Due to start in September, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will work with Hertfordshire County Council and partner charities and organisations on several projects.

Following a successful bid, the Home Office has given £599,185, with another £150,00 coming from the OPCC and an additional £100,000 from Herts County Council.

Herts PCC David Lloyd said: “In our county domestic abuse was the only crime type to see a rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My office will work with colleagues across the county council, Hertfordshire police and the third sector to create a pathway for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

“This will see a range of activities delivered by a number of providers, which will be available to all Herts residents.

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“The services will be easy to access and non-judgemental and aim to provide a gateway to behavioural change."

Det Ch Supt Kay Lancaster, chair of Hertfordshire’s Domestic Abuse Partnership Board, said: “We welcome this funding for projects working with people experiencing domestic abuse in Herts. We expect it to make a hugely positive difference to many people’s lives.

“While we will continue to hold people to account for their actions – there is never any excuse for abuse – these projects will focus on changing people’s behaviour. By doing this we can intervene at an earlier stage in order to reduce offending and ultimately prevent the terrible and often long-term damage caused by domestic abuse.”

The funding will support groups during the year-long scheme including Change Plus, which will work with 210 perpetrators and 210 victims to reduce offending with early intervention programmes.

The charity For Baby’s Sake Trust will work with whole families starting in pregnancy to break the cycle of domestic abuse between parents and to give their child the best start in life.

A new data analyst will also be employed to help identify the most harmful domestic abusers and serial perpetrators who may not have previously been highlighted.

Other support services would be provided by the Change Project and Stevenage Borough Council.

Stevenage councillor Jackie Hollywell, executive member for community safety, said: “The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and its impact meant that we have seen a rise in referrals for our SADA domestic abuse service and services for perpetrators of domestic abuse. 

"This funding  will allow the 'No More' service to work with perpetrators from other areas of the county  as well as Stevenage. 

“The service has worked with clients in Stevenage since 2012. This holistic approach offers crisis intervention, along with longer-term client-led one-to-one support that is tailored to the individual. This can include those with complex needs, homelessness, mental or physical health problems or learning difficulties, in addition to alcohol and substance misuse.”

At the end of the project, it will be evaluated to consider the sustainability of the programmes and how domestic abuse offending rates have changed.