Commissioner to provide immediate support for vulnerable young people and victims of crime

30 July 2020

Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, has allocated £110,000 to 13 projects to provide support to the community affected by COVID-19 and to make people safer. The projects will support vulnerable young people and divert them from offending, as well as supporting victims of crime.

The grants will provide much needed additional capacity in a variety of areas including:

  • Support for domestic abuse and sexual crime victims and,
  • interventions with offenders to prevent abusive behaviours,
  • activities and support for vulnerable young people to help them avoid risky behaviours,
  • mentoring for ex-forces personnel in prison and following release.

Michael Lane said: “This funding is needed now to mitigate risk in our communities and protect vulnerable young people.

“I have successfully bid for significant national funding, but these projects reflect immediate need and are time critical. This funding will enable projects that can be quickly delivered by established partners in service delivery at the frontline to those who would otherwise be without support at this time of vulnerability.”

The funding being awarded by the Commissioner is in addition to the £565,072 that he secured from the Ministry of Justice to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants awarded are as follows:

The Hampton Trust – Headway Workers – £10,000. The Hampton Trust has seen a sharp rise in the number of perpetrators of Domestic Abuse requiring additional support to manage escalating mental health issues and making disclosures of historic abuse. Perpetrators with complex trauma histories and poor mental health pose the highest risk to victims and themselves. The funding is to provide an additional Headway Worker to engage perpetrators in a range of evidenced based tools to manage behaviour and ensure they are using techniques and strategies to remain non-abusive

Alabare Christian Care and Support – Young Peoples Resilience – £10,000. For young people who are leaving care, previously have been homeless and challenged by adverse family experiences or experienced trauma, COVID-19 has been a particularly difficult time. The funding will provide additional staffing overtime immediately to allow Alabare staff to support the young people in the evenings and overnight when they are most vulnerable and likely to leave the accommodation and potentially engage in negative behaviours.

The YOU Trust – You First Integrated Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Services IOW – £10,000. The funding will be used to increase capacity to manage the upsurge in referrals to support COVID-19 related domestic violence and abuse.

Winchester Street Reach – Online support for vulnerable young people – £3,240. The project will provide additional online support to vulnerable and disadvantaged young people aged 11-19, across Winchester, ensuring continuity for Winchester Street Reach service users.

Victim Support – Victim Care Service Technology Upgrade – £7,640. This funding enable more reliable and consistent contact with victims and partner agencies through the investment in new technology to replace out of date and unsupported laptops that staff and volunteers are currently using while working from home.

Care after Combat – A Specialist Mentoring Service for Ex-forces Personnel in Prison and following Release – £10,000. Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown almost all visitation for prisoners has ceased, including mentoring, education and prison courses. On top of this prisoners have been required to stay in their cells for most of the day to allow for social distancing. As a result Care after Combat has received an increase in referrals of people needing support and mentoring. Care after Combat have devised a smart technological mentoring service, specifically designed for veterans. The funding will cover the cost of overtime for the current mentors to provide additional capacity to work with the additional referrals. It will also provide technology such as mobile phones and computers to allow the mentors to communicate with the prisoners without going into the prison.

Isle of Wight Youth Offending Team – APV (Adolescent to Parent/Carer Violence/Abuse) and COVID-19 support for Parents/Carers – £8,358. With the government restrictions impacting on young people’s access to school / community and parents ability to have respite (with grandparents etc.), there is an increased risk of APV. This funding will allow Isle of Wight YOT to expand the role of the Parenting Officer with an additional 18.5 hours per week for five months so that they can engage with more victims of APV over this challenging period. Funding will also be used to train two members of the YOT team in the ‘Who’s in Charge’ Programme (a programme to support parents who are victims of APV) to enable them to run the programmes immediately and support a larger number of people and make them safer. (The YOT do not currently provide this programme themselves).

Aspire – Community Football and Get Active programme – £7,785. Community Football and Get Active programme to engage vulnerable young people and those at risk of becoming victims of crime through meaningful activity, using the FA’s permitted football activity during COVID-19. The funding will allow for up to 480 young people to be supported over the next year and would be able to start straight away. This will allow immediate support to the most vulnerable young people and help to divert them away from offending, especially over the summer holiday period.

Southern Domestic Abuse Service – Emergency ‘Pop-up’ refuge for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19 – £9,473. A spike in referrals from victims is expected as restrictions ease further and where previously furloughed victims/perpetrators start to return to work and other agencies resume services. Women seeking refuge will then be able to contact Stop Domestic Abuse more easily. Stop Domestic Abuse has acquired a five bed-property in Portsmouth as a ‘pop-up’ refuge provided to them on a short-term lease from July-December 2020 by Portsmouth City Council. The funding will allow them to staff the refuge between 1 October 2020 and 31 December 2020 (Funding has been secured from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide staffing costs from July-October).

Portsmouth Youth Offending Team – Portsmouth YOT website and online resource hub – £10,000. Following the introduction of lock down Portsmouth YOT (PYOT) has developed a number of online tools that can be shared online and/or virtually to support direct interventions with young people. PYOT would like to develop a website to help facilitate online communication and interactions. This will allow for one to one live chat, and allow for the upload and publication of news / interventions and for the YOTs existing resources to be developed into reference or reading materials to be posted directly on to the website. This project also includes funding for a specialist speech and language therapist.

Victim Support – VCS Domestic Abuse Caseworker – £9,980. Victim Support have used the Ministry of Justice finding to employ an additional full time Domestic Abuse caseworker until 31 October 2020 and this bid is for funding to extend this role until March 2021. The funding will provide resilience and vital capacity to continue contacting victims of Domestic Abuse in a timely manner and provide support as required.

Victim Support – Victim Care Service Sexual Crime Priority Caseworker – £9,374. Victim Support secured funding from the Ministry of Justice to employ an additional Sexual Crime Priority Caseworker until 31 October 2020. The caseworker role involves making initial contact with all referrals to offer support and then providing that support where the offer is taken up. Due to the complex nature of many of the cases they support the team have only a limited capacity to take on new cases and any increase in serious crime post lockdown would negatively impact their capacity to provide in depth support for victims of sexual crime. Therefore the funding is to enable the continuation of this post after 31 October 2020.

Portsmouth IDVA Project – Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) – £4,150. This request is to provide an increase in IDVA provision as lockdown eases, providing more flexibility to support high risk victims of domestic abuse. Whilst the Ministry of Justice provided financial support for domestic abuse services, this was only accessible for charities and did not allow for Portsmouth City Council to apply.

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