Police find high cocaine use among domestic abuse perpetrators
A number of police forces have been drug testing individuals arrested for domestic abuse offences as part of a pilot to establish perpetrator profiles and offender rehabilitation opportunities to protect victims.
Anecdotally, the use of cocaine and alcohol have been highlighted as exacerbating factors in domestic abuse offences, and the results from pilots in seven police forces have demonstrated significant evidence to support this.
In one area, nearly 85 per cent (127/150) of domestic abuse offenders arrested and drug tested, were positive for cocaine and/or opiates and overall across the pilot forces, 59 per cent of those tested were positive for cocaine and/or opiates.
Mark Lay is the National Police Chiefs’ Council Drugs Coordinator Lead. He said:
Mark Lay, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Drugs Coordinator Lead, stated that while violent behaviours are known to be associated with cocaine use, “the high percentage of offenders testing positive was more than we had anticipated.” He also emphasised that drug use could make domestic abuse “more extreme or frequent” and that the pilots could lead to more targeted treatment programmes.
The study also indicated the surprisingly widespread use of cocaine in various communities, suggesting a potential need for legislative change in regard to mandatory drug testing for a broader range of offences.
Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Domestic Abuse, said the study could help in managing perpetrators more effectively, protecting victims, and identifying opportunities for drug treatment services in perpetrator programmes.
Women’s Aid Chief Executive, Farah Nazeer, also weighed in on the study’s findings. She noted that drugs, including cocaine, do not cause domestic abuse but highlighted that there is a link that can exacerbate existing violence and abuse.
“This study highlights that we need to understand how other forms of harm, such as drugs, interlink with domestic abuse – and how this can help improve protection and support for survivors,” she said.
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