HAMPSHIRE police have been praised for reducing the reoffending rate of first-time domestic abusers by more than 40 per cent.

Project CARA - Cautioning and Relationship Abuse- was trialled by Hampshire Constabulary in 2013 and has since been adopted by nine police forces across the country.

Officers have received special dispensation from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to use conditional cautions for domestic abuse.

The project aims to enable first-time offenders to understand what domestic abuse is as well as the impact and consequences of their behaviour.

CARA has been made possible by the work of the Hampton Trust, which seeks to rebuild lives by addressing the root cause of domestic abuse.

Andover Advertiser: Hampshire police are determined to tackle the problem of domestic abuse.Hampshire police are determined to tackle the problem of domestic abuse.

Now a team from the University of Birmingham has carried out a study involving offences committed in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 2018/19.

Culprits were tracked for a year to assess the level of reoffending, which fell by 41 per cent in cases involving people who had taken part in the CARA programme.

Professor Heather Flowe of the School of Psychology, who led the evaluation, said: “The results suggest the CARA workshops are effective in reducing future domestic abuse harm among low to medium risk first-time offenders who admit their crime.”

Inspector Debbie Ashthorpe, of Hampshire police, added: "We are proud to have been involved in the original trial of the CARA project in 2013.

“This innovative approach proved to us back then that awareness-raising workshops were effective in reducing domestic abuse in first-time perpetrators. We have run CARA workshops ever since, showing how they can make a real difference to people’s lives.

"We work closely with victims and survivors in each case to make sure CARA is the right option for them."

Andover Advertiser: Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on victims.Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on victims.

Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, said domestic abuse had a devastating impact on victims.

She added: "In order to safeguard victims and those vulnerable to harm, it's essential we work with perpetrators to tackle their behaviour and stop the cycle of abuse.

"The evaluation of CARA provides further evidence of the importance of investing in services that seek to prevent a continuation or escalation of offending."