Call 101 or, in an emergency, 999.
Victims and survivors of domestic abuse are continuing to be given the vital support they need to turn their lives around thanks to a further cash boost from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green.
West-Norfolk based charity the Pandora Project has received a vital £85,000 extra funding to continue to offer a crucial lifeline to those affected by DA in the area who may be in need of advocacy, advice and support.
Pandora has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) since 2016 when it received an initial grant of nearly £180,000 for a three year period.
Supporting victims and reducing vulnerability is one of the Lorne’s seven strategic aims in his Police and Crime Plan for the county and he is delighted to be able to offer further backing.
Lorne, who visited the charity yesterday (9 May) to hear first-hand the work of Tracy and her team, said: “The nature of the specialist support provided by Tracy and her dedicated team is essential for those unfortunate enough to have been affected or who continue to be affected by domestic abuse.
“The team has helped so many victims and survivors, who may have felt in the depths of despair, to find help and support and above all, see there is hope.
“As Norfolk’s PCC I continue to pledge to do everything within my means to prevent such abuse and ensure that help and support is available to those who need it.
“Everyone has the right to live without fear.”
The funding not only pays for crucial advocacy, advice, support and information for adult victims but also funds vital work with children and young people.
Pandora also runs Open The Box which is a 10-week recovery programme for women who have left abusive partners.
Thanks to the PCC’s backing over the years Pandora continues to support around 300 female clients on a one-to-one basis and around 140 children a year. The charity also has a large following on social media and women are able to send secure messages through their website.
Tracy Mahoney, who founded the charity in 2013, said: “We are very grateful for the funding we’ve received from the PCC which has enabled our domestic abuse service to continue supporting women and children in West Norfolk over the next year.
“The ongoing support we’ve received from our grant manager has been amazing and has kept us focused.
“Having our passion and dedication to domestic abuse recognised by PCC has enabled us to continue providing a valuable service in a difficult funding climate. Many thanks to Lorne Green and the PCC staff for their ongoing support for Pandora Project.”
The funding boost comes only weeks after Pandora launched a scheme to support off-street sex workers who may be vulnerable to human trafficking or modern slavery.
The newly named ‘Phoenix Project’ is one of two being funded under the PCC’s Hidden Victims’ Fund (HVF) which aims to support hidden victims of crime and reduce vulnerability.
Phoenix will be offering a specialist support to female indoor sex workers across Norfolk, crucially offering advocacy and advice around safety, whilst also looking at emotional care and practical needs.
The project will also work closely with Norfolk Police to identify and support women who are victims of trafficking.
Pandora received £214,687 from the HVF which will include the funding of support workers covering areas including Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn – for the next three years.
Off-Street sex working often means women are more isolated – particularly in rural parts of the county – unknown to services, and therefore more vulnerable to exploitation. The scheme hopes to provide one to one support for female sex workers who are currently, or likely to be, victims of trafficking – up to 80 clients a year.
The Phoenix Project will also provide peer-to-peer support. Two full time support workers have now been appointed to begin delivering the project.
Sarah’s “Pandora Journey”
Sarah was abused by her husband for more than 20 years. The abuse took many forms including sexual and physical but the hardest form of abuse Sarah struggled to cope with was the emotional and psychological abuse.
“The bruising and scars all healed eventually but the emotional side will stay with me for years,” said Sarah.
“I didn’t know it was happening to me, I thought it was the norm, just part of married life and I just got on with it.
“I stayed in the house for a long time and didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t eat or drink, it affected my whole life.
“When I eventually left I stayed in my car for two days, I didn’t want to tell my friends or family. He took my bank cards, everything I literally left with only the clothes I had on my back.
“I first heard about Pandora about four years ago and that’s when I realised what had happened to me.
“I never thought I’d get to this point in my life. If it wasn’t for Pandora I wouldn’t be here, because although he was violent it was my mental health which really suffered.
“I couldn’t engage at all at first but when I started to speak it got easier because I had so much support. For a while I didn’t want to go near a man, even talk to a man on the street as I thought they would all be the same. But now I believe there is someone out there for everyone.”
Sarah now volunteers at Pandora offering vital support and advice to other women going through the same as she did.
“I’m about 80 percent there now from where I should be. I just want women to know there is so much help out there, people are so much more understanding. I would encourage them to contact Pandora as there is so much they can do.”
For more information on the work of the Pandora Project visit here