New initiative to combat domestic violence supported by Wealden MP

Nus Ghani and Katy Bourne SUS-160224-173633001
Nus Ghani and Katy Bourne SUS-160224-173633001

A new initiative to combat domestic violence in Sussex has been supported by Wealden MP Nus Ghani.

The new project, Drive, seeks to use one-on-one therapy to change the behaviour of the most dangerous offenders and is being piloted in three areas, including Sussex.

It is being spearheaded by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and is being run in conjunction with SafeLives, a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse.

In her question to the Prime Minister today (Wednesday February 24) Ms Ghani said: “Two women a week are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner and the perpetrator is the problem. The question is not why doesn’t she leave but why doesn’t he stop.

“Sussex’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner is piloting a programme called Drive, which aims to change the behaviour of offenders.

“In advance of his new strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls, would the Prime Minister join me in congratulating Katy Bourne for leading the charge to tackle domestic violence in Sussex?”

In addition to the two women who die every week as a result of domestic homicide, a further 100,000 people a year are at high risk of being murdered or seriously harmed.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales 2013/14 shows that, in East Sussex, 12,082 women and girls aged 16-59, and 6,177 men and boys aged 16-59, were estimated to have experienced Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA). 3,445 of the women and girls, and 1,732 of the men and boys, were in Wealden.

Across East Sussex, there were 522 referrals to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), for the highest risk victims.

PM David Cameron replied: “I think my honourable friend is absolutely right to raise this. We have got better at tackling the crime of domestic violence, but there’s still so much more to do.

“I know Katy Bourne does an excellent job as the Police and Crime Commissioner, and this is a good example of the sort of thing that PCCs with their higher profile can give a real lead on, and I would urge others around the country to do exactly that.

“We also need to make sure we’re policing these incidents properly, we also need to change the culture, but I think that PCCs like Katy Bourne can lead the way.”

Giving her reasons for raising the issue, Ms Ghani said: “Domestic abuse is a devastating reality, in Wealden just as elsewhere, but strategies for combating it too often focus on the victim and not the perpetrator, when the worst perpetrators are repeat offenders.

“This new project, brilliantly championed by our Police and Crime Commissioner, is a welcome initiative which goes to the roots of the problem.”

Mrs Bourne added: “I’m delighted to be working with SafeLives on this ground-breaking initiative. Every perpetrator of domestic abuse has, on average, six different victims, so this is an important way to tackle the problem at its roots and protect the victims of tomorrow.”

East Sussex County Council is a White Ribbon accredited local authority, which means it has been recognised for its work in aiming to eliminate domestic abuse.

Wealden District Council is working towards achieving the status by White Ribbon Day in November this year.

Ms Ghani added: “I am delighted that my two councils have both put combating domestic abuse at the top of their list of priorities. The fact that they will both soon have White Ribbon status is fantastic, and I hope that other councils across the country will follow their lead and work towards achieving White Ribbon status too.”

Councillor Bob Standley, leader of Wealden District Council, said: “I thank Nus Ghani MP for raising the subject with the Prime Minister. It is important that the victims of domestic abuse, which affects both men and women, young and old, are encouraged to report any abuse at an early stage.

“As a White Ribbon Ambassador myself I applaud the new initiative launched by Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. Early reporting can stop the problem escalating and avoid the extreme consequences that Nus and Katy have highlighted.”

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