Domestic Abuse & Perpetrators Programme

Crackdown on domestic abuse

A NEW specialist unit has been set up to tackle domestic abuse, an issue which has been thrown into the spotlight by the pandemic and government restrictions keeping people in their homes.

For adults and children living with abuse, this has been a particularly difficult time.

But now, with the help of £402,000 government funding, some of Sussex’s most harmful and prolific domestic abusers will be targeted by the new unit, which is being jointly led and monitored by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.

The High Harm Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Unit will seek out the most active and dangerous serial perpetrators.

It aims to identify and address why they offend, to change their behaviour and reduce re-offending. A new independent domestic violence adviser will support families and liaise with Children’s Social Care when required.

A wider programme by the charity Cranstoun is also being launched this month for domestic abusers who recognise their own destructive behaviour and want to change.

It will focus on 100 abusers and work on challenging language, identifying harmful behaviours and supporting them to make positive changes.

According to Katy Bourne, last year there were 21,000 reports of domestic abuse, but only a four per cent conviction rate. And a great number of domestic violence incidents are not reported to police.

Mrs Bourne said: "I’m delighted I was able to secure the funds needed. We can begin to both address perpetrators behaviour and improve the outcomes for victims and children across Sussex”.

“Before this unit, there was no specialist partner intervention for those who continually abuse. As a result, we saw far too many perpetrators in Sussex slipping through the criminal justice net and going on to reoffend and hurt more people.”

The new partnership is determined to challenge and change domestic abusers in a way that lasts.

The unit consists of police officers with a background in detecting and supervising offenders in the community, a mental health worker from Brighton Housing Trust, a drugs and alcohol worker from the national health and social care charity Change Grow Live, an independent domestic violence adviser from Worth Services and specialist intervention probation-trained officers from Seetec Justice.

Elle Weaver, development manager for Together in Sussex, a charity which works with Chichester Diocese, says everyone can play a part in preventing and stopping domestic abuse.

She said: “There is something we can all do in helping to bring to light and tackle domestic abuse. To start with you could watch a youTube video here and take a moment to familiarise yourself with the international sign for ‘Help Me’ #SignalforHelp #DomesticAbuse”

If you've been the victim of domestic abuse, or concerned for someone who is, you can report this to Sussex Police:

  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for police
  • If it is not safe to speak, call 999 and then press 55
  • Use the Sussex Police online Report domestic abuse service
  • Report abuse in the safety of your local police station
  • Call 101
  • Do not approach the perpetrator yourself, as this could put you or the victim/survivor at risk.

“Contact me to find out how I can support you to support victims of domestic abuse at”

You can also contact the diocesan safeguarding adviser Safeguarding Adviser details

More information is available in the national safeguarding policy Responding Well to Domestic Abuse and at Cranstoun

For information on support services available in Sussex visit Safe Space Sussex.

Useful information:

Women’s Aid: 0808 2000 247
LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

  • Women’s Aid online chat service is open from 10 am - 12 pm Mon-Fri:
  • If you need to secure your devices or clear your browsing history after accessing support, go to
  • Visit the SafeLives website for more resources
  • To find the details of your local refuge visit the Women’s Aid directory page here
  • Boots pharmacies are providing safe spaces for survivors of domestic abuse. Head to the pharmacy counter and ask for a consultation room, and you will be able to contact specialist support services from inside the room.
  • Codeword scheme Ask for ANI (action needed immediately) at your local pharmacy – find training information here