£400K investment to domestic abuse and sexual violence victims

Nine domestic abuse and sexual violence services impacted by the Covid-19 crisis will share a £400,000 boost secured by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

The Commissioner’s Office submitted a bid to a Ministry of Justice fund to support organisations who have felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, either through additional costs or increased demand.

Initially allocated a budget of £192,000, Cleveland’s funding was doubled to £403,000 by the Government, due to the area’s significant demand for domestic and sexual violence support agencies.

Arch North East, Eva Women’s Aid, Foundation, The Halo Project, Harbour, My Sister’s Place, NACRO and Safer Communities will all receive a financial boost to cover any additional costs until 31 October 2020.

Examples of how the funding will be used include:

  • Purchasing digital equipment and technical support to allow staff to support vulnerable people remotely;
  • Welfare supplies for vulnerable victims including groceries, household goods and mobile phones to ease isolation;
  • Additional provision or staff to deal with an increase in demand or to replace work normally carried out by volunteers;
  • Additional support for young people affected by domestic abuse, including support workers and specialist counselling;
  • Remote evidence video link to support victims in giving evidence without attending court;
  • Protecting the wellbeing of staff who have continued to work throughout the pandemic through increased supervision;
  • Cleaning supplies and PPE equipment.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger: “We’ve been incredibly lucky in Cleveland that all of our victim services have continued to provide crucial support to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis.

“I’ve been impressed by the dedication and innovation demonstrated by staff working for these agencies, who have worked additional hours and grasped new technology to provide support at a time when victims are more isolated and vulnerable than ever.

“Unfortunately some of the adjustments they’ve made have left them out of pocket. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to secure double our initial allocation by showing the Government how high the demand is for domestic abuse and sexual violence services in Cleveland.

“This investment will allow organisations to reimburse themselves for changes already made and to invest in supplies and additional services which will help them continue to deliver a high quality service in a safe way.”

Joanne Hodgkinson is Chief Executive of Safer Communities, who secured additional funding for the Teesside Sexual Assault Referral Centre said ‘Our staff have worked continually, 24/7, throughout the pandemic to ensure victims continue to receive vital support. The funding is a fantastic boost, allowing us to provide a more responsive and flexible service.’

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