NORTHUMBRIA Police is shining a light on two women who are making an award-winning difference by helping to break the cycle of domestic abuse.

In 2018, the force created the roles of domestic abuse and criminal workers, with Karen Cowe and Debbie Wilson joining the force.

Since taking on the jobs, the duo have been on a mission to reduce domestic abuse cases by delving deeper to the root of the problem.

They work with perpetrators of domestic abuse to encourage early guilty pleas and minimise the risk of reoffending, both by encouraging behaviour change and disrupting the perpetrator’s ability to commit further offences.

It’s Karen and Debbie’s job to help identify the use of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs).

These notices and orders may be used following a domestic incident to provide short-term protection to the victim when an arrest has not been made but positive action is required, or where an arrest has taken place but the investigation is in progress.

Karen and Debbie, who are police staff, not officers, have increased the success rate of engagement with perpetrators from 10 per cent to 80 per cent since they started their jobs.

In recognition of their work and contribution, Karen and Debbie were recently both presented with Chief Superintendent Compliments.

Debbie said: “Perpetrators see officers at their door and sometimes their backs are up before they’ve even reached for the handle but when they see us, at the start, they’re not sure who we are or why we’re there and they open the door hostility free. We’ve found that that reduction of hostility continues throughout contact.”

Their support has also led to a reduction in the amount of victims dropping their cases.