Victims of domestic abuse deserve better support

Money to help people affected by domestic abuse in Staffordshire is to be pooled to ensure they get the same support, regardless of where they live.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is providing £1.5million of funding over the next three years in recognition of the new approach which has been agreed.

Staffordshire County Council is providing £1.8 million over three years towards the delivery of the new approach, while Stoke-on-Trent City Council will provide just over £1.5 million over three years. 

Matthew Ellis believes the overwhelming need to eradicate the current unintentional postcode lottery in support services for individuals suffering domestic abuse is clear. It marks the end of 12 months of negotiation between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council to agree an overarching strategy that will now be consulted upon widely within the sector. 

The principle of effective and more formalised joint working between agencies was set out by Mr Ellis in his Safer, Fairer, United Communities Strategy in 2014. He believes the work by agencies to reach this point in domestic abuse services could be the most important so far.

All domestic abuse services are included in the new strategy. It aims to ensure services are consistent, accessible and high quality – meeting the needs of victims, potential victims, their children and families and engaging potential perpetrators and perpetrators to prevent and stop the cycle of abuse. 

The strategy also outlines support for professionals, businesses and communities to understand the impact of domestic abuse and increase awareness of the services available to those affected.

The new approach, which will become operational in summer 2017, is part of wider work to support victims by the PCC.

Historically and through the Commissioner’s three community safety funding approaches, the PCC has provided more than £250,000 in 2015/16 to support specific projects helping victims of domestic abuse. 

Intervening early, which is one of the PCC’s key priorities in the Safer, Fairer, United Communities strategy will be a crucial strand in this joint work. More information is available at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/saferfairerunited/ 

The Staffordshire Victim Gateway was officially launched by the PCC last September to put the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. Staffordshire is the first area in the country to pioneer the new Citizens Advice Bureau-led approach which is unique because it is based locally, offering a tailored service for all victims. 

The PCC’s office has also developed a scheme in partnership with Staffordshire Women’s Aid which supports domestic abuse victims in the workplace. To find out more about this support and how it can help businesses, go to: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/2014/10/business-urged-help-domestic-abuse-victims-work/ .

More information on the Victim Gateway can be found at: www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/2015/09/victims-gateway-launch/      

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