24th October 2020

Council welcomes funding boost to support victims of domestic abuse

Somerset County Council has welcomed the news their domestic abuse service is set to receive a share of a half million-pound fund to support local services.

The Council’s service provider, The You Trust, is one of 17 local support services who help victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, which will benefit from the fund.

The You Trust is at the frontline when it comes to helping people in Somerset who are experiencing domestic abuse – they are often the first point of contact for someone who is seeking help. Qualified staff are available to offer choices and options, without judgement, working with a number of agencies to provide practical support.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens, and her team, secured the £505,983 of funding after successfully bidding to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) ‘Covid-19 Extraordinary Ministry of Justice Funding for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Support Service’, which was launched at the beginning of June.

The extraordinary fund was set up to help cover organisations’ losses and costs incurred, following both adapting and increasing their services during the pandemic. The fund also aims to help these organisations strengthen their response to any potential change in demand and complexity of need in the recovery phase of lockdown.

The PCC will follow up with the successful organisations in the autumn to understand how the funding has made a difference to their service and victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “We know lockdown had a significant impact on victims who were living with perpetrators, who were even more isolated from loved ones and who felt that there was no way to escape.

“With restrictions lifting, we are entering the recovery phase of the pandemic and we need to ensure that all victims and survivors who have been at risk during lockdown know that help is out there. This additional funding will strengthen local support services’ response to any change in demand as life starts to return to some sort of normal.”

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “I’m delighted that we have been awarded this new funding, which will help some of the most vulnerable people in our community, who have been suffering all sorts of domestic abuse; be it coercive control, psychological, financial, physical or sexual abuse and who badly need support.

“Domestic abuse may have been made worse for people who have been at home with their abuser during lockdown. As we see lockdown measures ease, it is my hope that our residents will find it easier to access the support that continues to be available for those people who are experiencing domestic abuse.”

“No one should have to suffer behind closed doors. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or are worried about a friend or member of your family, I want you to know that help is, and will continue to be, available, by contacting our helpline, or by seeking advice through our website”

Help is available – 0800 69 49 999 or www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk

In an emergency you should always dial 999, if you are unable to speak because you are worried you will be overheard you can press 55 and the operator will know that you need assistance.