Countywide Independent Domestic Violence Advisor service secured

A major grant commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore to support victims of domestic violence and abuse, has today been awarded to Lighthouse Womens’ Aid.

The three-year grant will secure a countywide Independent Domestic Violence Advisors service to provide specialist support dedicated to the individual needs of victims of domestic abuse.

This is a significant boost to the existing provision and responds to critical reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse) which highlighted that Suffolk had insufficient IDVA capacity to effectively support the levels of high risk victims in Suffolk.

Tim Passmore said, “I am absolutely delighted to be able to increase the county’s support of victims by funding this enhanced IDVA service. I’m particularly pleased that this new provision will be provided by Lighthouse who have extensive experience supporting victims right across the county. The service will be independent from the Constabulary, which we hope will be more reassuring to those who choose, for whatever reason, not to report their abuse to the police.

“To date the county’s support to victims of domestic abuse has been woefully inadequate. Since taking on this role I have seen just how huge an issue domestic abuse is in the county and how important it is to make sure the victims of this crime are properly supported.

This month PCCs assumed responsibility for commissioning victims’ services. Tim Passmore’s key objective is to help victims of crime cope and recover by providing effective victims’ services according to their individual needs, regardless of geographic location”.

Sally Winston, Chief Executive of Lighthouse said, “Lighthouse is delighted to receive this funding which will provide greater opportunity for victims at high risk of domestic violence to receive support at a critical time.

“We are really pleased that the PCC recognises the importance for this service to sit within an independent specialist organisation so that victims reluctant to report to the police have somewhere else to go.”

Suffolk County Councillor Jenny Antill who chairs the county domestic abuse forum said, ” I am absolutely delighted with this announcement. This is excellent news for the victims of these dreadful crimes right across Suffolk.

“This is a vital service for all of us and I am personally extremely impressed that the problem of domestic abuse is now being properly addressed throughout the entire criminal justice system in the county”

Lighthouse Women’s Aid is a countywide charity which supports victims of domestic abuse. They will employ the eight IDVAs to address the safety of ‘high risk’ victims and their children. Each IDVA will become the main point of contact for a victim and work with them from the point of crisis to assess the level of risk, discuss the range of suitable options and develop coordinated safety plans.

High risk domestic abuse victims identified by frontline agency professionals (such as police, health or refuge workers) will be referred to the IDVA service.

Tim Passmore added, “Victims are the absolute focus of our work and it is most important that they have the confidence to report. Please don’t suffer in silence, help is available and if you don’t want to report to the police you can call Victim Support in confidence on 0845 3030900 and they will direct you to the most appropriate support.”