A POLICE scheme which aims to reduce the number of perpetrators of domestic abuse in south Wales has helped more than 1,000 victims so far.
Funded partly by the police and crime commissioner, the scheme focuses on working with those who carry out domestic abuse in a bid to change their behaviour.
It aims to change the public narrative from ‘why doesn’t she leave’ to ‘why doesn’t he stop’ in incidents of domestic abuse.
The logic behind the five-year strategy is that to reduce the number of victims, the number of perpetrators needs to be reduced.
South Wales has been one of three pilot areas for the project which also include Essex and west Sussex.
At the latest South Wales Police and Crime Panel meeting in Merthyr Tydfil on Tuesday, June 4, the police and crime commissioner Alun Michael said that more than 1,000 people have been kept safe by the project who wouldn’t have otherwise been kept safe across the force area.
Mr Michael said the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) programme has had an impact by looking at why some people are more likely to commit offences because of negative experiences when they were younger.
And he added that everything is connected to everything else when it comes to tackling these issues.
Following a presentation on the project in the House of Lords, Mr Michael said there was a realisation that south Wales is “ahead of the game” on this.
He said: “It is about ending the abuse of victims today and also the victims of tomorrow.
“It was controversial at the start. But if we just focused on the victims we don’t prevent bad things happening in the future.
“What victims want is to know that it is not going to happen again.”
He also recognised that there are male victims of domestic abuse and same-sex incidents but highlighted the volume of male-on-female incidents.
“There is real momentum behind this work. It needs resources and resources are limited but I am really pleased not only that we are in the first cohort but that were delivering effectively,” he said.
Melvin Jehu, the vice chairman of the panel, said he was acutely aware of the impact it is having.
“I commend the work that is going on. It is really making a difference,” he added.
Councillor Richard Young, of Bridgend who was elected the new chairman of the panel at the meeting, also commended the work.
He said: “It is moving away from the blame culture and looking at early experiences.”
Councillor Sherelle Jago, from Merthyr, said it was something that was “very much needed”.
But she asked why they were not more ambitious to go beyond a five-year strategy as generational change does not happen over night.
Mr Michael said: “If we give ourselves too long that is unambitious. We want to build up capacity and understanding. We want to show evidence.”
He also said that the five-year timeframe ties in with the schedules of the other organisations it is working with on the project.
Cllr Bernie Bowen-Thomson, from Cardiff, said: “We need a sense of the aspiration and we need a sense of the collaboration.”