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Vital funding secured for domestic abuse and sexual violence services in Norfolk

Nearly £250,000 worth of funding has been secured for organisations across the county to help and support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence during the pandemic.

The ‘extraordinary Covid-19’ fund has been released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and will be managed and distributed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN).

Earlier this month the OPCCN invited relevant services to bid for a chunk of the £306,000 national funding allocated to Norfolk.

Some 10 organisations have now proven successful by meeting the required criteria, and a total of £249,819 will be distributed from today.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, said: “I am delighted nearly a quarter of a million has been secured for Norfolk to help bolster specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence services for those most at need.

“It has been really positive to see bids from some smaller organisations across the county who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

“This fund is a lifeline for the many organisations which have, in many cases, had to completely change their way of working and move to a more agile and digital method of delivery.

“I am immensely proud of the work that has already taken place by my office to help and support specialist services but such further financial support from central government is always welcome as more can always be done.”

The grant was part of a £25 million package being released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) across the country with Norfolk securing £306,000 to be managed and distributed through the OPCCN.

The extraordinary Covid-19 funding covers the seven-month period between lockdown in late (23) March 2020 to 31 October 2020 only – meaning some payments will be back dated.

PCCs were required to carry out an ‘assessment of need’ for COVID-19 related emergency funding in relation to both sexual violence and domestic abuse support services in their local area.

The process was an open call to all relevant support organisations delivering services in the Norfolk PCC area – and bids were encouraged from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

The funds will be distributed as follows:

The Pandora Project - (providers of specialist Domestic Abuse Services - North and West Norfolk)

£83,341 to fund a vehicle to provide a peripatetic service to victims in isolated parts of Norfolk. The funding will also assist with increased work with the LGBTQ+ community.

Tracy Mahoney, Pandora Project manager and founder, said:The funding for a mobile support unit will allow us to reach out to women in rural communities who have no other way of meeting with us, either through a lack of transport or because of controlling behaviour from a partner. 

“We want to make our support accessible to all women regardless of where they live and this mobile unit will be a lifeline to women, addressing their safety, mental health and their understanding of abuse within relationships. We look forward to working in partnership with Norfolk LGBT+.”

Leeway – (providers of Domestic Abuse and Violence Services – countywide)

£31,057 to allow provision of 32 laptops for mobile working with cameras for staff and 32 smart phones as well as PPE for staff.

Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding, which will enable us to continue to provide the much-needed support for those experiencing domestic abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“It will allow us to provide Personal Protective Equipment for frontline staff, as well as smartphones and laptops, so that our staff are able to support service users more safely and effectively during Covid-19.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk and their dedication to tackling domestic abuse in Norfolk.”

Spurgeons Norwich Connect (Domestic Abuse Service providers)

£3,689 – Funding a laptop and extended hours of a staff member.

John Lee, Norwich Connect Service Manager, said: “This funding will increase our ability to respond quickly to victims of domestic abuse. The last few months of Covid-19 restrictions have been difficult for everyone but in particular for victims and their children who have been living with abusive partners. This additional funding will increase our capacity to support people to live free from abuse.”

Daisy Programme(Breckland-based Domestic Abuse service)

£18,268 for funding of additional staffing and additional IT provisions to (laptop, mobile) to allow for agile working. Thirty tablets also funded for survivors to enable 1-2-1 counselling, as well as creative activities. The money will also help support Daisy’s Live Chat facility and access to the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

Leigh Taylor, Programme Director, said: “Our contact with clients has increased dramatically at this time and the funding we have received will enable us to provide support to those most in need and as importantly maintain regular contact with those who continue to feel isolated. The recognition by the OPCCN of our commitment to provide ongoing support to survivors of Domestic Abuse is greatly appreciated, thank you.”   

One to One Project (providers of sexual Abuse and domestic abuse services in West Norfolk)

£17,425 to provide mobile phones and laptops for staff and volunteers to allow for agile working, fund extra additional hours for staff as well as website development for interactive service to deal with more remote referrals. The money will also assist with adaptation of the office and training.

Deborah Regan, Project Manager, said: “We are so grateful for the grant award as this will do amazing things for our project, the services we provide and the service users we support. The funding will help us to expand further into the community, continue to support a range of issues including victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse allowing us to offer an immediate response through a remote service provision.” 

The Magdalene Group (provides support for women and young people at risk of sexual exploitation)

£40,468 to assist with transformation/deep cleaning of office space to allow for social distancing, PPE and ICT provision. The money will also increase functionality of digital/media platforms at the Project and assist with additional staff cost to support clients.

Suzi Heybourne, Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be recipients of the Justice COVID-19 Extraordinary Fund which will allow us to meet the increased needs of the most vulnerable and hidden women in our society during this challenging time. The fund will allow us to continue to support and advocate for the women who access our Doorway Women's Services by building trusted relationships with those who have experience of sexual violence, coercion, exploitation and multiple disadvantages."

Orwell Housing - DA Refuge (Domestic abuse workers in South Norfolk)

£8,938 to fund additional staffing to run online/virtual Freedom Programme for approximately 50 women. Freedom Booklets for clients and three tablets for women in refuge to access online support.

Alison Thorpe, Head of Service for Orwell, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this money from the PCC that will now allow us to strengthen our virtual response to victims who may otherwise be isolated currently.  This will allow us to virtually deliver the Freedom Programme."

Hope Into Action (provides homes for the most vulnerable in society)

£2,002 to assist with broadband provision and additional staffing support for victims of DA.

Tony Gray, Norwich Co-ordinator for Hope Into Action, said: “We have seen the rise in domestic violence in our community during the Covid 19 pandemic and this grant will enable us to use one of our houses to provide a safe place to live for women who are have suffered from domestic violence, where they will receive love and support.”

Norfolk Community Law Service

£17,048 to fund mobile phones for agile working as well as additional staff to support DA victims through the Family Court process and legal options/solutions including solicitors.

Jane Basham, Chief Executive Officer at NCLS, said: “In the first 5 weeks of lockdown demand for our Domestic Abuse free legal services increased. This grant will enable us to provide practical, legal and life changing solutions. This includes in many instances helping destitute women, enabling them to start a new life with a degree of financial security, free from their abuser and the threat of being forced to leave the UK.”

The Change Project (delivers community based domestic violence perpetrator programmes)

£27,583 to address short term disruption to meet essential costs of sustaining current activities for supporting victims of perpetrators. The money is to fund integrated support services for victims of DA and well as integrated support for work with perpetrators.

Lora Draper, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Change Project are very grateful for the receipt of the help from MOJ. The funding will allow us to increase the capacity of our services and assist perpetrators who recognise that they need help with their behaviour and provide support to their partners and victims.”