Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner, believes securing over half a million pounds of new funding to fight domestic and sexual violence will see a major breakthrough in tackling violent behaviour across the County.
Announcing the award just two weeks into his new role Mr. Akinbusoye said:
“I have pledged my focus and attention on tackling domestic abuse. This funding which has been achieved through a determined partnership by our specialist units will deliver vital resources and backing.”
He added: “We must support abuse survivors and this financing means we can appoint new specialists who will help our teams carry out their difficult work. To put it simply, if it manages to help save a single life it will be public money well spent.”
Two organisations have been selected for new staff. A specialist service called ‘Embrace’, which provides support for children aged five and above. And ‘Victim Support’ which operates throughout Bedfordshire. The funding will help provide an improved support structure dedicated to the needs of victims or those witnessing crime.
Nina Page, Domestic Abuse Specialist Officer for Children’s Services said: “This is fantastic news. It will help us to offer domestic support specialists to those who need it most. And for those living with abuse it will allow us to help move the victims towards safety.”
£445,000 has been earmarked for new Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs). And £61,250 for Independent Sexual Violence recruitment. This ISVA will work with Embrace supporting survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse and sexual violence.
The new organisations will be set up as follows:
● Health IDVA based at the L&D hospital to complement the existing Bedford Hospital IDVA. The advisor will also work closely with ‘MARAC’ the Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference. MARAC assesses high-risk victims.
● Court IDVA who run the Luton Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC). They have identified a need for specific IDVA roles as a result of a significant increase in referrals for specific cases.
● A Senior IDVA and Stalking and Harassment Advocate. A new role needed to deal with huge increases in stalking reports.
● Health and Communities specialist IDVA. This advisor will focus on supporting Bedfordshire’s diverse communities covering race, sexuality and culture.