“We’re tackling the root cause of domestic abuse, the perpetrators, to stop more people from becoming victims.”
These are the words of Detective Superintendent Matt Cornish who is helping to reconfigure the way Essex Police looks at domestic abuse.
It comes as the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board launch their #Reflect campaign, which encourages perpetrators of abuse to come forward and help to change their behaviour.
The campaign, which launched on Wednesday 10 August, is directing people to county-wide charity The Change Project for support.
Through support, The Change Project aim to break the cycle of domestic abuse by making perpetrators realise their abusive behaviour and to prevent it in the future.
Not only will this make victims safer – and will mean that some people never become victims – but it will also make real, lasting change and hopefully drive down domestic abuse offences.
The campaign focuses on different types of abuse – from physical abuse, to controlling behaviour, stalking and harassment, and uncontrolled emotions like humiliation or anger aimed at your loved ones.
Using posters and social media posts, we hope to encourage perpetrators to recognise behaviours they might be exhibiting – asking them if they’re isolating, punishing, or controlling their loved ones, for example – and the emotions they feel after committing the abuse.
After research with perpetrators who were helped through The Change Project, the words anger, guilt, regret, remorse and shame were placed onto mirrors to mimic the moments where they reflected on their behaviour and knew they had to make a change.
We're united in tackling domestic abuse
Detective Superintendent Cornish said:
“Domestic abuse is a problem in every county. In Essex, we are united in tackling it. "We are really lucky to have crucial collaborations with victim-focused organisations, including COMPASS, Next Chapter, Changing Pathways and SafeSteps. "Through the dedication of their workers – whether that’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVAs) or Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVAs) – they make sure the survivor’s wishes are front-and-centre through their experience. "This support is in place whether or not they decide to continue with a prosecution. “At Essex Police, we are committed to securing justice for victims but we know that 64% of them do not support a prosecution. "That means we must find other ways to help them, like directing their abusers to The Change Project or by enforcing rules on abusers, like Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Notices. “Officers are dedicated to arresting perpetrators of abuse. In the past 12 months we’ve arrested almost 10,000 people suspected of committing a domestic abuse offence, whether that’s against a family member or a romantic partner. “Our three Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams are also crucial in breaking the cycle of abuse. Their work focuses on repeat offenders and their victims in each area of the county – the north, the south and the west. In the past 12 months, we know that 51% of victims of abuse have been repeat victims. “Of course, domestic abuse doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We know that issues with finances, housing, and substance abuse can contribute to an abusive lifestyle. “By working closely with our partners in victim-focused services, and other partner agencies as part of SETDAB, we can look at the bigger picture and prevent present, and future, family members or partners from becoming victims of abuse.”
It's not too late to make a change
If you recognise any of the behaviour mentioned in this article and have been reflecting on your actions, it’s not too late to make a change.
Please visit The Change Project for advice on how to make a difference to you, your family, and your partners in the future.
If you’re a survivor of abuse looking for community support in your area please visit the Essex Compass website.
If you want to learn more about how to report abuse offences, you can find more information, including how to delete your recent web browser history, on our advice and information pages.