Stalkers and domestic abusers to be targeted by £39m police funding boost

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Stalkers and domestic abusers will be targeted by police after forces were handed a £39 million funding boost by the Home Office.

The money will pay for 50 projects across England and Wales, including pilots aimed at preventing reoffending and better protecting victims, which will be rolled out over the next two years.

Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines told ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) that it was “hands-on money, with psychologists and police officers to carefully monitor these people”.

One project given funding in the West Midlands will work to ensure that domestic abusers and people who display stalking behaviours are closely monitored.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is expected to use £760,000 to train more frontline officers to spot signs of domestic abuse and intervene with perpetrators.

Several forces, including Lancashire, Avon and Somerset and the Metropolitan Police, are rolling out the Drive Project, which focuses on the most serious offenders to prevent them from abusing again.

They will work with partner agencies such as social services to challenge perpetrators to change their abusive behaviour, Home Office officials said.

The department said many domestic abusers were repeat offenders, with 83% of male offenders repeating their offences within a six-month period.

Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines
Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines has announced the police funding to target stalkers and domestic abusers (Commons/PA)

She told GMB: “The Home Secretary is thoroughly committed to making sure the police look at their own staff.

“I’m confident that we’re a long way better forward.”

Other projects to receive funding include making so-called “behaviour change interventions” in Kent, with the aim of supporting 184 perpetrators a year through a £1.6 million initiative.

The same amount of money will go towards the Stalking Intervention project in Essex, which seeks to change behaviour and reduce risk for victims and survivors of stalking.

Cheshire Police, having been handed £2.9 million, intend to provide interventions for adult perpetrators and young people displaying harmful behaviour in a bid to change their behaviour within the family setting.

In a statement, Ms Dines said: “Domestic abuse and stalking are vile crimes which cause victims to feel terror in their own homes and communities, where they should feel their safest.

“It is unacceptable and this Government is determined to protect people from this horrific abuse.

“We know that intervention schemes like these are a crucial means of protecting victims, which is why we are investing millions in helping police identify abusive behaviour and stop it from escalating or happening again.”

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for domestic abuse, said: “The funding by the Home Office will help to bring more support to victims of the terrible crimes committed by domestic abusers.

“Policing continues to work with partners, stakeholders and other agencies to help support victims and bring offenders to justice, but we cannot do this alone.

“Funding is vital to enable this to happen and we welcome this round.

“We will always work together with the Home Office to ensure this funding continues to increase, so victims get the support the deserve.”

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