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National Fund Supporting Local Victims

4th July 2014

More than £300,000 has been secured by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner from a national pot of money to support victims.

The money is from a £12.5m fund for innovation for communities across England and Wales announced by Victims Minister Damian Green.

In Northumbria the money secured will fund Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DVSA) teams, covering Sunderland and Newcastle, and a Support Worker for Missing Children in Newcastle.

The DVSA teams will be dedicated response units including a police officer and a DVSA support worker, likely to be from a local refuge or other specialist group and will work at peak times of Friday and Saturday in Newcastle and Sunderland.

They will attend calls together about domestic violence and sexual assault increasing the level of access to support at the scene, to give better victim satisfaction and build confidence, with the further aim of increasing prosecutions.

Additionally new technology can be made available, providing victims with instant access to police support wherever they are.

“We know domestic violence cannot be tackled by any one agency or organisation and that the best way to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators is for these agencies and organisations to work closely together,” the Commissioner said.

“Police are helping victims to get the help they need but the dynamics of DVSA can be complex and the advisor who attends the calls with them can act as a consultant and help them with action and safety planning. Whatever support people need or want, short or long term, this will offer them a first introduction to the right people to help them to move on.”

The Support Worker for Missing Children will be a dedicated person operating across the Newcastle area who will ensure a multi-agency response to identifying and supporting the most vulnerable children and young people. It will focus in particular on those who run away frequently and who are more likely to become a victim of physical abuse and victims of sexual exploitation.

Working closely with partner organisations and missing person co-ordinators within the force, this role will ensure children are supported and have their specific needs addressed.

Vera Baird said: “This will further enhance the links between the police and specialist services providing a service to children who are at the greatest risk of harm.

“It is about helping these young people stay safe.”

Both successful proposals closely link in with the Commissioner’s police and crime plan.

In announcing the funding Victims’ Minister Damian Green said: “The excellent and innovative ideas put forward for this fund show exactly why PCCs are best placed to understand the needs of their local communities and commission the majority of victims’ services. I’ve no doubt they will make a difference to victims up and down the country.”

The £12.5 million comes from additional receipts from offenders, raised through the Victim Surcharge and increased financial penalties such as Penalty Notices for Disorder.

The Ministry of Justice asked PCCs across the country to bid for money to support victims of the most serious crimes, persistently targeted victims and intimidated or vulnerable victims.