Funding supports victims of abuse in Avon and Somerset

The family court has powers to protect victims of domestic abuse, and hopefully to prevent recurrences of the abuse. However, the effects of abuse upon victims do not stop when the abuse ends.

Victims of abuse may require support long after the abuse has ended. And much of that support will come from local organisations, who provide counselling and other forms of help to survivors.

A recent announcement of extra government funding for such organisations in Avon and Somerset is therefore highly welcomed.

Funding Strategy that supports victims of abuse

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner ('OPCC') has announced that it has secured over £1.4million over a three-year period that supports victims of abuse, domestic and sexual violence.

This extra funding follows a recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice of an additional £6.6million per year nationally to help services supporting victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse. The total funding pot ring-fenced for Police and Crime Commissioners ('PCCs') across England and Wales to commission domestic and sexual violence services now totals £21.7million, complementing existing funding available from government, local authorities, health and others as set out in the government's Victims Funding Strategy.

In Avon and Somerset, the funding will be used to provide counselling for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including children and young adults, increase capacity to help more victims, run peer support groups and engage with women in the Criminal Justice System.

Avon and Somerset PCC Mark Shelford commented:

"I am delighted that the OPCC and victim providers have secured this additional funding from the Ministry of Justice.

"The extra funding will allow local organisations to support more people across Avon and Somerset – including children and young adults – with lived experiences of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

"Our local victim services will be able to continue to increase their capacity and, as a result, engage and support more victims in a range of ways including workshops, counselling and peer support groups.

"As I've said before, it is essential that victims know that help and support is available when they want to access it. The funding over a three-year period will make a massive difference to the services who will receive it and ensure victims are supported in the long-term."

Local support organisations that supports victims of abuse

A total of 19 local organisations across Avon and Somerset will benefit from this additional funding including:

The Green House, a charity based in Bristol which provides free counselling for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, and the Somerset Phoenix Project, which is part of Barnardo's and supports children, young people and families affected by sexual abuse, will receive £64,150.40 to jointly deliver psychoeducational workshop to families and young people, as well as increase the team's capacity

Mankind Initiative, a charity focussing on male victims of domestic abuse that has its office in Taunton, will receive £8,000 to continue to deliver their nine-week virtual group Pattern Changing Recovery Programme for male victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

The Southmead Project, a charity providing free counselling and support for survivors of abuse and addiction across Bristol and surrounding areas, will receive £28,931.30 to provide additional counselling support for those with lived experiences of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse, which offers specialist and expert Advocacy and peer support after fatal domestic abuse, will receive £15,750 to provide specialist practical and emotional support to families bereaved by suicide or unexplained deaths following domestic abuse.

The Southside Family Project, a charity that supports individuals and families living in Bath and North East Somerset, will receive £21,645 to provide targeted counselling for those who receive support from an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor.

Opoka, a specialist domestic violence service in Bristol for Polish women and children in the UK, will receive £18,500 to provide specialist advocacy and bilingual support to Polish victims and families of domestic abuse including helping to navigate them through the Criminal Justice System, access legal aid and provide counselling.

VOICES, a charity based in Bath dedicated to providing recovery support and advocacy for people affected by domestic abuse, will receive £20,000 to fund a gateway service that allows recovery support work to take place.

Kinergy, a specialist counselling agency in Bristol offering support for survivors of sexual abuse & sexual violence, will receive £36,000 to provide additional counselling for victims of sexual violence.

Next Link, which operates local domestic abuse support services in South and North Bristol, will receive £25,811.20 to provide peer support facilitators to support victims of domestic abuse including a dedicated Black and minoritised victim group, young victim group and LGBTQ+ victim group within the programme.

Lastly, IP1625, a young people's charity with its Head Office in Bristol, will receive £19,000 to provide a wellbeing coach that offers a range of support for young people who have or who are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence.

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