Domestic abuse: New project to deal with those who abuse their partners in Sunderland

Left to right: Jackie Siggins (Wearside Women In Need); Neil Blacklock (Respect); Karen Sibbald (Barnardo's); Kelly Henderson (Gentoo) and Hazel Hedley (Impact Family Services).

Left to right: Jackie Siggins (Wearside Women In Need); Neil Blacklock (Respect); Karen Sibbald (Barnardo's); Kelly Henderson (Gentoo) and Hazel Hedley (Impact Family Services).

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A NEW scheme to tackle domestic abuse on Wearside has been launched.

The BIG project has been established to help those who commit acts of domestic violence to change their behaviour, while helping to make women victims and their children feel safer.

Involving Barnardo’s, Impact Family Services, Wearside Women In Need and the Gentoo Group, the scheme is being funded by the Police Innovation Fund via Northumbria Police Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird.

Mrs Baird said: “Tackling domestic violence is a priority and working with perpetrators through an intervention scheme like this is key to the work we do in supporting victims.

“While helping victims to pathways of safety is vital, this is only part of the picture and perpetrators too need help to break the cycle of abuse.

“Taking the step to seek help through a programme like this is huge, but can be life changing and ultimately lifesaving.

“Domestic abuse is a terrible legacy for families and we must protect the victims and any children to ensure this crime is tackled and we are going to implement this through education.”

The BIG Project was formed because of a lack of places on voluntary perpetrator programmes in Sunderland and often men could only get help to change once they have entered the criminal justice system.

Research has shown that perpetrator programmes do make a difference to the lives of everyone involved with domestic abuse.

The BIG Project has developed a 26-week programme that focuses on early intervention, helping men change their behaviour at the earliest opportunity rather than post arrest.

The programme uses cognitive behavioural and pre-social concepts and is for men over-18 who perpetrate domestic abuse and want to change their behaviour.

Experienced staff from Impact Family Services and children’s charity Barnardo’s will run the programme, which inclueds one-to-one assessments, motivational sessions and seven core modules.

For information, email BIG@impactfs.co.uk or call 0191 567 8282.