Vera Baird

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Dame Vera secures funding to develop DV services across Northumbria

6th July 2017

Domestic and sexual abuse victims across Northumbria are set to benefit from a cash boost to local support services, thanks to the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls transformation fund, secured by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC.

Almost £650K of cash from the successful bid will help realise ambitions to improve individual, organisational and systemic responses to the victims and perpetrators of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Projects to be developed or built upon will include:

  • Piloting 3 Witness Advocate posts intended to ensure that the needs of rape and sexual abuse victims are fully met at every step in the criminal justice process- a response to the Commissioner’s Court Observers’ Report (Seeing is Believing, 2017) that highlighted the potential for better support to be provided to some rape complainants
  • Developing the Northumbria Domestic Abuse Practitioner Standard (DAPS) – to provide training for local professionals, such as family support workers, who may not be domestic abuse specialists but who deal on a day-to-day basis with domestic abuse victims
  • A CJS Diversion Support Worker for women offenders who are victims of abuse and who may commit offences as a result of trauma or other effects. This scheme will be analogous to the current diversion scheme for military veterans
  • Developing a Cyber Stalking and Harassment Pilot – to tackle more strongly the growing numbers of victims who are stalked both on the street and on-line, through the misuse of social media and ensure that they are supported.

These schemes will address areas of poorly met need, which have been highlighted by partner agencies and will benefit victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and stalking.

Detail and updates on each project will be announced in the coming months.

For Dame Vera Baird, tackling domestic abuse and sexual abuse is an absolute priority. She said: “This is fantastic news for Northumbria  – it will allow us to build our support services and respond to pressing needs. Anything that will help us improve the lives of victims is hugely welcomed by me.

“However,  let’s be clear, though welcomed the reality is this money barely scratches the surface and  in no way fills a fraction the gap left by Government cuts to the police and partners who’ll work with us on these projects.

“But this funding will certainly help with the delivery of specialist services that can make a real difference to those suffering awful abuse.”