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Cambridgeshire charities awarded additional funding to support domestic abuse victims

LOCAL charities supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse or sexual violence have today, Wednesday 24th June, received a funding boost from Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby.

The money, totalling £279,108, is being awarded to 12 organisations who provide individual or family support to local residents who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence before or during lockdown. It will be used to fund both technology to improve access to services and to provide additional capacity within charities to respond to demand for help as lockdown eases. It also enables practical resources to be bought to help people moving out of refuge into their own homes and individual issue play therapy toys so young victims to continue to receive specialist support.

The awards are part of a wider package of measures announced in May by the Government to provide extra funding to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, vulnerable children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Justice asked Police and Crime Commissioners to distribute their element of these funds in local areas through a local needs assessment which was promoted on the Commissioner’s website last month. It was only open to charities already providing services in the county.

Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby explains: “For people experiencing domestic and sexual abuse, staying at home during prolonged periods such as lockdown can present serious challenges. However I have been nothing short of impressed by the innovative ways many of our local services have adapted to ensure vulnerable people can access the emotional and practical support they need. Entire teams are now operating from their respective homes and still keeping helplines open.

“This additional funding not only reimburses small charities with the costs they have incurred but also enables them to continue to meet the needs of those people who need to use them.”

In Cambridgeshire the following charities were successful in their bids to the fund locally:

  • Cambridge & Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership            
  • The Meadows Children and Family Wing
  • Choices
  • One Voice 4 Travellers
  • Refuge
  • Peterborough Women’s Aid
  • Family Action
  • The Hampton Trust (Hampshire and The Isle of Wight)
  • Embrace Child Victims of Crime
  • Cambridge Women’s Aid
  • Cambridgeshire Deaf Association

 Two charities who support traditionally hard to reach groups of victims, Cambridgeshire Deaf Association and Cambridge Women’s Aid, were also successful.

Ruth Godden, Deputy Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire Deaf Association said:

The Covid-19 pandemic has left some Deaf people isolated and at higher risk of domestic violence and abuse. We have used video calls regularly to support Deaf women who use British Sign Language to communicate to support with their concerns in this difficult time. We have adapted the Freedom Programme so we can deliver this safely in a weekly group video call. This has enabled these women to continue to access services with our support, understand the behaviours presented in their home and feel listened to.

“One woman said ‘the video call is the only thing I have to look forward to’.”

Angie Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Women’s Aid added:

“We are very grateful to the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s office for awarding us this Ministry of Justice funding.  Our community-based support service has continued to provide our specialist advice throughout the pandemic to those affected by domestic abuse.  This funding will cover our additional staff costs, give us access to much needed home working equipment and help us meet the extraordinary needs of our service users at this time.  This is an enormous boost to our work.”