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Programme proven to reduce domestic abuse reoffending is coming to Cheshire

Over £1.1 million of additional funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer will support the introduction of Project CARA (Cautioning And Relationship Abuse) in Cheshire, as well as bolster police efforts to change offenders behaviour when they leave custody.

Project CARA is an early intervention tool which allows the police to issue perpetrators of domestic abuse with a conditional caution - subject to the support of the victim – so that they can be given specialist support to change their behaviour and reduce the chance of reoffending, meaning fewer children and families are subjected to repeated domestic abuse.

Once an offender of domestic abuse is identified, the police and dedicated domestic abuse practitioners in the custody facility will use clear criteria to decide whether they are eligible for CARA.

The programme has been proven a success in various areas of the UK where it has been tried, with some seeing domestic abuse reoffending rates drop by over 80%.

Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, said:

“Having seen its success in other areas I’ve wanted to bring CARA to Cheshire for a long time now, and I’m really pleased that we’ve secured the funding to do it. The Constabulary is already making great strides in tackling domestic abuse and now the police have another effective tool at their disposal to prevent this abhorrent crime and change lives. 

“In my Police and Crime Plan, I talk about protecting vulnerable and at-risk people. Project CARA delivers exactly that. We’re going to help break the cycle of domestic abuse and change offenders behaviour so that children and families don’t have to suffer.”

Cheshire-based domestic abuse charity My CWA will work alongside officers to ensure the right people get the right support through Project CARA, and new funding will also enable them to expand their existing work in Cheshire’s custody suites.

My CWA domestic abuse specialists will now be based in custody suites across Cheshire seven days a week, where they will support front line officers to offer the right support to offenders before leaving custody. They will engage with offenders to try and understand their reasons for offending and give them the opportunity to work with specialist community-based providers to start to change their behaviour.

Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie, Chief Executive of My CWA, said:

“For over 45 years, My CWA has been supporting people across Cheshire impacted by domestic abuse, and a large part of our work is tackling the root cause of abuse in order to break the cycle and prevent reoccurrence.

“For the past six months, we have had our team of domestic abuse specialists located in custody suites across Cheshire offering offenders the change to discuss emotion-regulation tools and behaviour change programmes, and the uptake and impact of this work has been phenomenal.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this ground-breaking work through CARA Custody Suite Project, thanks to the funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer, and thank him for his ongoing commitment to tackling domestic abuse across Cheshire.”

Recent successful bids to the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Interventions Fund have seen the total amount of extra funding secured by the OPCC exceed £13 million in John Dwyer’s term as Police and Crime Commissioner, meaning every £1 spent on the OPCC budget has generated around £7.60 for policing, crime prevention and supporting victims.

To find out more about Project CARA, visit: 


For more information about My CWA, see: 


Pictured - My CWA Chief Executive Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie.

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