Funding for Redbridge domestic abusers programme

A fledgling programme to help Redbridge domestic abusers change their ways has received thousands of pounds in Government funding.

A meeting of the council’s external scrutiny committee on March 8 heard the ‘Reach Out’ programme was set up in April last year and received 50 sign-ups in its first three months.

The programme is intended for domestic abuse perpetrators without court orders who want to get help and was recently awarded £235,244 in Home Office funding to continue its work.

During May last year, more than 450 domestic abuse incidents were reported to Redbridge police and rates have been consistently above average since the pandemic started.

Speaking at the meeting, committee chairwoman Cllr Saima Ahmed (Lab, Ilford Town) raised concerns that only a small fraction of the borough’s perpetrators were signing up.

She said: “I think it’s very important that we look at that figure and at how we can have more resources.”

Redbridge’s crime partnership manager John Richards told the committee he did not have up-to-date figures but that the number of perpetrators involved had since risen.

He said: “We have got lots of good stats in terms of positive outcomes. Our initial six months’ figures looked good enough to put in a bid in (for funding).”

He explained that many of the borough’s abuse perpetrators “will not want help” or may have committed offences too serious to be eligible for the programme.

Last April, council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said Reach Out would “work virtually” with perpetrators to help them “understand how their behaviour and actions impact those around them”.

Redbridge Council was asked for more information about the initial success of its programme but has yet to respond at the time of writing.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter