NATIONAL: New counselling can prevent domestic abusers re-offending

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A SIMPLE two-session counselling programme for low-level, first time domestic abusers can cut re-offending rates by a third, an experiment has shown.

Developed by the Hampton Trust domestic abuse charity, the scheme consists of two five-hour group workshops with a counsellor held a month apart where they were encouraged to reflect upon their behaviour and how they might change it.

Researchers then followed up with each participant a year on.

Their results, published in the Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing, showed 35% fewer men had re-offended against their partner than offenders in a control group.

Cambridge University researchers behind the study have called on the government to roll out the programme across England and Wales in order to help victims, reduce the burden on the prison service and save money.

Professor Heather Strang said: ‘Dealing with high volumes of low-harm common assault cases against intimate partners is a significant issue for police forces across the UK, particularly in times of continued austerity.

‘No other programme to our knowledge now has such strong evidence of yielding a substantial reduction in harm to victims of domestic abuse.’