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More than half a million pounds secured for services supporting vulnerable victims - 17/08/2020

ACTING Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby is today (Monday 17th August) thanking partners for helping his office to secure more than £600,000 of additional funding for services supporting domestic and sexual abuse victims since spring.

The cash injection started in March with news of a successful bid to the Home Office for an additional two Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) for the Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership. ISVAs offer important practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted recently or in the past regardless of whether the crime has been reported to the police. This will fund the posts for the next two years.

Only a couple of months later, the Commissioner welcomed over a quarter of a million pounds for local charities  from the government. The money, totalling £279,108, was awarded to 12 organisations within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who provide individual or family support to local residents experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence before or during lockdown.

“Family Action applied for additional funding which has been invaluable in enabling us to provide vital support to children and young people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence,” said Julie Sturgeon, Operational Manager at Family Action.

“In July alone, we supported 26 children and young people who had experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence. The grant received has allowed us to provide specialist support, advice and even co-ordinate food parcels and essentials for those families most in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

At the same time Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership secured an additional £123,138 from the national Rape Support Fund to make sure vital emotional support continued to be provided. 

And finally, the news came in early July that the Home Office was to fund a third Independent Sexual Violence Advocate. This had been in the original bid but approved in a second round of funding. This brought the funding for these three posts over the two years to more than £220k. Of the three new ISVA posts created, two will support victims aged 18 and under. 

Charities across the county worked with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to compile bids to bring the money into the area.

A spokesperson for The Meadows Children and Family Wing said:

“The Covid-19 Emergency Funding we received has been vital in supporting our work with survivors of domestic abuse during a time of great uncertainty. We have been able to purchase some essential assets for effective remote working and fund staffing hours to ensure we meet increasing needs during and after the pandemic.”

The funding is helping a range of support organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to provide much-needed support to some of the county’s most vulnerable victims both during and after lockdown.

“We’ve had to switch many of our services to online and via the telephone rather than face to face.  This additional funding will not only allow us to support more children and young people who have been harmed by crime but it will allow them the means to access our vitally important services.

“Part of the funding will be spent on buying mobile phones and tablets - many cash-strapped families are simply unable to afford them,” adds Embrace Child Victims of Crime, CEO Anne Campbell.

“Whether we are in lockdown or not, it is vital that victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence have access to the right support when they need it,” explains Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby.

“The pandemic has brought many challenges however I am pleased this additional money will help local organisations adapt their services in order to continue to support people whilst maintaining social distancing.”

With Covid-19 bringing a halt to many fundraising efforts, the aforementioned £123,138 secured by Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership made sure that vital emotional support continues to be provided throughout the pandemic.

Norah Al-Ani, Director of Cambridge Rape Crisis, said:

“The Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership understands the real potential for the current situation with Covid-19 to cause anxiety and concern for many, not least of all those processing trauma and living with the impacts of sexual violence and abuse. We are delighted to receive this much needed additional funding for our countywide ISVA service and our emotional and therapeutic support services. It has been a beacon of light for us and the survivors we are here to support.”

“We anticipate that as lockdown restrictions are further eased we will see a surge in demand for support services and feel reassured that this additional funding will enable us to continue to provide the best possible support to survivors and victims in the county.”

The Commissioner added: “Altogether this funding is being used to improve access to services and provide additional capacity within charities to respond to demand for help as lockdown eases.

“I would like to thank partners for their support in securing this much needed funding.”

For more information on all of the funding streams above secured for victims’ services within Cambridgeshire, please visit www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk.

For more information about victim support services in Cambridgeshire visit: www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk.