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Domestic violence courses may reduce reoffending by a third

Researchers call for wider testing of offenders

The BBC reports that, according to researchers, a workshop for male perpetrators of domestic violence may significantly reduce re-offending.

The results of analysis, conducted by researchers from (amongst others) Cambridge University, Hamshire Constabulary and the College of Policing one year after attending two weekend day-long Cautioning and Relationship Abuse (CARA) workshops, suggest that they are an effective way to reduce the future harm of domestic abuse among first offenders who admit their crime. However, the effect may vary over time.

Eight men from the Southamptonarea arrested for and admitting to low-risk intimate partner violence as a first domestic offence and receiving a conditional caution were randomly required to attend (with four to seven other male offenders) two weekend day-long CARA workshops led by experienced professionals. The research sought to establish whether attendance would reduce total severity of crime harm relative to a no-workshop control group.

Re-offenders from the workshop group caused 27% less harm than re-offenders from the control group who did not attend the workshops. The CARA workshop group members were arrested for crimes totalling an average of 8.4 days of recommended imprisonment under English sentencing guidelines, compared to an average of 11.6 days per offender assigned to the control group, the equivalent of 38% more harm without the workshop than with it.

The researchers, writing in the Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing,  say that these findings provide an evidence-based reason for testing the same treatment among a larger proportion of all first-offender arrests for domestic abuse.

For the BBC report, click here. For an abstract of the analysis, click here.