Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, has successfully secured £165,431 from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Critical Support Fund, for sexual violence and domestic abuse support, as a result of increase in demand since the pandemic.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner invited community-based domestic and sexual abuse support services for a share of the Ministry of Justice £2.8m Critical Support Fund and were able to secure £115,800 for five local helplines and counselling services until March 2022. These organisations have reported a high increase of referrals and new clients, maximising capacities earlier than anticipated.
Community-based services benefitting from critical support funding:
- The Counselling Foundation
- Bedford open Door
- Change Ur Life
- Living Your Life
Over 400 more victims of Domestic and Sexual Abuse will be supported as a result of the funding received.
Catharine Mulcaster from Living Your Life said “The level of funding now available will mean that up to an additional 90 victims will be supported. Our organisational structure means that we are able to be flexible with staffing as counsellors are employed on a sessional basis rather than full or part-time. This means we can scale up or down really quickly and cost effectively. We are absolutely delighted the OPCC were successful in obtaining this additional funding which means that we can continue to offer vital mental health treatment to those in need during a vulnerable and difficult time”.
In addition, services were able to bid into the £1.4m fund for Male Rape Support Services. Bedfordshire have successfully secured £49,631 which has been allocated to Early Childhood Partnership in the county until March 2022, to meet the specific needs of men and boys which has risen dramatically during the pandemic.
This funding will go towards providing a high-quality service to these organisations in Beds that have a proven record in supporting male victims of rape and sexual abuse.
Mr Akinbusoye said “A key focus of mine is being able to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse and even more so at this critical time where numbers have, unfortunately increased during the pandemic. I am fully committed to working closely with our partners to understand what they need so that we can allocate this critical funding accordingly.
This financing means we can also appoint more specialists to help support organisations and abuse victims”.
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