£450,000 cash boost secured to improve support for victims of domestic abuse & sexual violence

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Survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse will benefit from extra support, thanks to more than £450,000 of funding secured by the region’s Police Commissioner.

Emily Spurrell successfully bid for more than £272,600 which will be allocated to nine community-based support services to improve the critical support they can provide for vulnerable victims.

The recipients include the Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service (LDAS), which recently closed its waiting lists due to demand. They received a vital cash boost of £56,000 to enable them to decrease their waiting lists by providing telephone, face-to-face and therapeutic counselling support for survivors.

Other organisations which were selected by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to receive the funding include the Police Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside partners RASA and RASASC, who will benefit from an extra £40,000 and £15,000 respectively. Wirral charity’s JourneyMEN CIC and Involve Northwest’s Lighthouse Centre, who the Police Commissioner visited recently to find out first-hand about their work, have been allocated £30,000 and nearly £8,000.

The other recipients were Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid (SWACA), Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, Knowsley Council’s the First Step, and WEB Merseyside.

The Commissioner applied for a total of £1.3m in funding to support a total of 18 organisations across Merseyside, with nine being chosen by the MoJ, but most receiving less than requested.

In addition to this funding, the Commissioner has also received nearly £178,000 from the MoJ’s male rape support fund to fund two Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) and two Independent Domestic Abuse advisors (IDVAs).

The ISVAs will be employed by the Police Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside services providing aftercare support for victims of sexual violence – RASA and RASASC. They will provide tailored support for men and boys who have been subjected to violence and abuse, including historic sexual offences. In 2020/21, male survivors accounted for 13% of people accessing their services and, over the last five years, there has been a 40% increase in men seeking support.

The domestic abuse advisors will work with Wirral Council’s Family Safety Unit and Involve Northwest’s Lighthouse Centre to provide dedicated support for men who have suffered abuse and violence in the home.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse are among the most vulnerable in our communities. They deserve the best possible care and support to help them recover from the traumatic ordeal they have suffered.

“Our community-based support services do a fantastic job providing crucial care – but they are desperately stretched. I am determined to do everything I can to give them the resources they deserve and I will continue to try and access funding wherever I can.

“I submitted bids on behalf of 18 organisations across Merseyside with the hope of bringing a total of £1.3m in to support our essential services. Sadly not every bid was successful and while this funding is very welcome, I am disappointed some organisations missed out on the critical funding they need and deserve.

“As I’ve said many times before, these one-off ‘crisis pots’ are not the way our vital support services should be funded. They do nothing to address this issue long-term.

“Victims deserve to know they will be supported whenever they need it. To deliver that, our support services need guaranteed, robust, sustainable funding so they can put appropriate support in place and plan for future demand.

“I have raised this with both the Home Office and Ministry of Justice already, and I will continue to lobby central government at every opportunity I get for a funding package that recognises the pressures our support services face and gives them the money they need.”

If you have been affected by crime, please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for information, advice and the details of more than 70 organisations on hand across Merseyside which can offer you support.