£78k cash boost for domestic abuse victims desperately needed but ‘disgraceful’ way to fund vital services
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has welcomed a £78,000 cash boost to help keep local domestic abuse organisations afloat but slammed the Government for the ‘disgraceful’ way it is providing funding for vital services.
Emily Spurrell has secured an additional £78,350 of funding which will be allocated to nine community-based domestic abuse and sexual violence services, all of which have seen demand for their services surge since Christmas.
But the Commissioner has condemned the way Government ministers are allocating funding – providing small ‘crisis pots’ when charities are struggling to survive – as ‘grossly inappropriate’.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales were initially only given 24hours to submit a bid for funding on behalf of local organisations. While this was later extended, the timeframes for submitting bids were extremely tight and the successful agencies now must spend the cash before the end of March.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I always welcome additional funding for our vital domestic abuse support services. Demand for their services, which was already sky high, has surged in the wake of Covid. They are desperately stretched, and I will do everything possible to secure extra money to help them support survivors across Merseyside.
“But the way this Government is funding these essential services is absolutely disgraceful.
“Offering inadequate, ad hoc, emergency crisis grants to keep these specialist organisations afloat is a grossly inappropriate way to support domestic violence support.
“Organisations which care for the most vulnerable victims of crime shouldn’t be struggling to survive from month to month.
“They deserve guaranteed, robust long-term, funding packages so they can recruit staff, plan for the future and ensure they can meet demand now and in the years to come, offering sustainable support for survivors for as long as they need it.
“Furthermore, expecting my office to submit bids within days, if not hours, and then expecting these charities to spend the funding in such a tight timeframe is an unacceptable way to manage this important process.”
The additional funding secured by the Commissioner will provide a vital cash boost to the Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service (LDAS) which had to close its waiting lists last year due to increased demand.
It will also help the Merseyside Domestic Violence Service and South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service to provide crisis support and cover staff costs and PPE provision.
The money will also help to ensure First Step in Knowsley can continue to staff their refuge 24 hours a day and ensure they can deliver their Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) service. It will also help to plug a significant gap in therapeutic support for children affected by domestic abuse in Knowsley, a service delivered by charity Listening Ear.
Emily added: “I have raised the issue of funding for crucial victim services many times with ministers and representatives from both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, and I will continue to do this at every opportunity I get.
“Victims and survivors deserve to know they will be supported whenever they need it, and I will continue fight to get our support services a funding package that recognises the pressures they face and ensures they can deliver that crucial care.”
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