Thu | May 23, 2019

Put effort into rehabilitating abusers, urges British security specialist

Published:Wednesday | November 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson/Gleaner Writer

Security specialist Alethea Fuller, who heads the Policy and Commissioning for the Police and Crime Commissioner in West Midlands in England, says as much effort needs to be placed on rehabilitating domestic abuse offenders as their victims.

Fuller, who is responsible for a number of portfolio areas, including gang and youth-violence response, police oversight, and criminal rehabilitation, said that in many domestic abuse cases the focus was placed on relocating victims from the home, when in many instances the victims did not want to leave.

"I don't think they (women) defend their abusers, I think many times they just don't want to get the offender into trouble. Sometimes they are just afraid to press charges. A lot of women also don't want to leave and take their children out of school or they are dependent financially," explained Fuller, during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

"Normally, it is the victims who leave and in some cases they don't want to leave. What they want is for the perpetrator to change his behaviour," she said, explaining that her office, which has a team of 12, has been working relentlessly to increase the reporting of 'hidden crimes' such as domestic abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation to the police.

She explained that in many situations in the West Midlands, women facing domestic violence have no choice but to remain in the home with the abuser, quite often to the children's detriment.

The presence of children is usually the catalyst for a special programme, she said, adding that the initiative has been running for about three years in the United Kingdom.

"We have developed a domestic violence perpetrator programme across the West Midlands, working with offenders to try and change their behaviour and get them to recognise they are the ones who need to change their ways," continued Fuller, explaining that the training lasts for 30 weeks.

"When there are children involved, in England a referral is made to social services, which will then make a referral to this programme ... It is saying that the effects of that kind of behaviour will affect children as they go through their lives," she noted, adding that perpetrators are encouraged to look at the impact of their behaviour on their family and offspring.