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Improved support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence

24 May 2021

Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, is pleased to announce that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will have access to enhanced levels of support following a successful bid to central government for additional resources.

 

The bid put together by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the four top tier authorities in consultation with service providers has secured £767,840 for 2021/22, with a potential further £729,654 being allocated in 2022/23.

The award worth a potential £1.5 million over two years will fund an extra 19 specially trained staff to support the most vulnerable victims in the county, including support for children and young people.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, said:

“Whether recent or historical abuse, it is important that victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault feel listened to and receive practical, non-judgmental and compassionate support.

“This funding will add much needed capacity to the ISVA and IDVA services and make a real difference to the lives of victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

The funding will pay for 10 Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates (IDVAs) who ensure domestic abuse victims, survivors and their children get the best possible support and that there are safety plans in place. Studies have shown that when high risk clients engage with an IDVA, there are clear and measurable improvements in safety, including a reduction in the escalation and severity of abuse and a reduction in, or even an ending to, repeat incidents of abuse. The additional IDVAs will join those already working in Hampshire at Stop Domestic Abuse, on the Isle of Wight at You Trust and in Southampton at Southampton City Council.

Councillor Spiros Vassiliou, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Heritage comments: “Southampton’s Safe City Partnership has welcomed the opportunity to partner with the OPCC to secure much needed additional resources for the city. This will be vital in our efforts to support the many hundreds of victims who come forward every month or who are referred to us for assistance by partner agencies. Tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), but all forms of violence in whatever form, will be a headline priority of the next Safe City Partnership five-year plan, supported by our Violence Reduction Unit, and the Council’s IDVA team, who are both delivering exemplary work of a high quality city wide. The Violence Against Women and Girls agenda will also be supported by our specialist domestic and sexual abuse commissioned services.”

Quality and Operations Director, Tonia Redvers, from the YOU Trust said “This funding is vital to add capacity to our team to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. We work across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and have seen referrals to our teams, both domestic abuse and sexual violence, increase due to the pandemic and higher incidents of violence and abuse. We were thrilled to be successful in our bid and supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and, together with our partners we really do make a meaningful difference for the people in our communities.”

In addition the funding will cover nine Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who will be joining teams at Hampton Trust, Yellow Door and PARCs. ISVAs provide practical and emotional advice and support to those who have experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual violence or sexual exploitation at any point in their lives. This includes supporting individuals to report to the police should they wish to do so, and supporting through the Criminal Justice process.

Nicci King, CEO, of Yellow Door said: “Yellow Door are delighted to have been awarded this additional funding from the OPCC. It will allow us to expand our existing ISVA team in Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire, to support even more victims of rape and sexual violence through the criminal justice system. The funding will also enable us to deliver targeted and specialist ISVA work for clients who face additional challenges. We look forward to further developing the excellent working relationship we’ve built with Hampshire Constabulary.”

Deborah, Senior ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) at the Hampton Trust, said: “As an ISVA, I am extremely passionate about the work that we deliver and proud to work for Hampton Trust.

“Watching our clients grow and build strength during their time with our service is extremely rewarding. As a service it is imperative that our clients have a voice for them to feel heard and believed.

“Our aim is to empower survivors by rebuilding self-confidence and self-worth, offering a survivor choices where they feel they have no voice; enabling a survivor to gain back control over their own lives and futures.”

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