More than £375k of extra funding has been secured by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster to increase support for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
A successful bid to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will fund new IDVAs (Independent Domestic Violence Advisors) and ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advisors) to support victims recovering from abuse and sexual violence over the next three years.
The investment amounts to more than £375k over 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25. Further funding will be used to help provide a Stalking Advocate position for the county and a Stalking Advocate post based in the City.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster is focused on protecting and supporting victims in Derbyshire and ensuring all victims of crime receive appropriate support and care, featuring Victim Support and Safeguarding as a key priority in her Police and Crime Plan.
Earlier this year, the Commissioner agreed the appointment of an internal Stalking Co-ordinator post for the force, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to increasing safety and support for victims of crime and delivering better justice.
Announcing the new posts, Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Supporting the needs of victims of crime is one of the key parts of my work as Commissioner. This funding will provide specialist support currently unavailable in the county, helping to provide victims with the bespoke help they need to aid their recovery.
“Demand for domestic abuse and sexual violence services is high across the county and these new positions will allow us to adapt our support to meet the individual needs of victims, specifically children, young people and male victims.
“I will continue to do everything possible to secure the best support and services to safeguard those at risk.’
The grant will fund a dedicated Family and Civil Court IDVA, hosted by support charity Glow, to provide specialist practical and emotional support for survivors of abuse going through the family court process.
A national Safe Lives report in 2021 found 89 per cent of domestic abuse victims going through family courts did not get any support.
The new role will support clients to access legal aid, attend court with clients, liaise with court staff and guide clients through the family court process.
A further IDVA post will be managed by domestic abuse charity Salcare and specialise in providing support to children and young people impacted by domestic abuse. The Children and Young People IDVA will support existing clients and new referrals, reducing waiting list times and increasing the speed at which young people can access support.
Derbyshire-based charity SV2 will recruit a specialist ISVA to support male victims and survivors of sexual violence.
In 2021-22, SV2 received around 1,650 referrals for advocacy services for both children and adults – of which 260 were men, equating to about 15 per cent of all referrals. However, 40 per cent of these male victims disengaged before completing support.
A recent needs assessment highlighted a need for more effective engagement and services for male victims of sexual violence, regardless of whether they have reported their experiences to the police.