Suffolk victim support organisations get £40k funding boost

Domestic abuse on the rise in Essex.

The MoJ has awarded four Suffolk victim support organisations nearly £40,000 between them (stock picture) - Credit: PA

Four organisations which provide "crucial" support to victims of sexual and domestic abuse in Suffolk have received a welcome funding boost from the government to meet increased demand for their services. 

Suffolk Rape Crisis, Bury St Edmunds Women's Aid, Lighthouse Women's Aid and Survivors in Transition have between them received nearly £40,000 for a range of counselling and support services. 

The application for funding to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was made by Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. 

Mr Passmore requested £69,815 for the Suffolk Critical Support Fund - which received £38,298 following an MoJ assessment. 

The MoJ confirmed the fund had been "significantly oversubscribed" and therefore the minimum amounts requested had to be considered along with geographic coverage. 

Suffolk Rape Crisis, which is based in Ipswich, received £21,900 from the fund for counselling sessions and a telephone helpline service. 

The fund awarded Bury St Edmunds Women's Aid £5,407 - which will go towards the charity's freedom programmes for victims of domestic abuse as well as face-to-face and online outreach support. 

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Lighthouse Women's Aid in Ipswich got £5,625 for its domestic abuse support services including face-to-face help, telephone advice and group work for victims of domestic abuse. 

While Survivors in Transition, also in Ipswich, received £5,366 for face-to-face focus groups for young people who are victims of sexual abuse. 

Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

PCC Tim Passmore said he was delighted with the successful funding bid - Credit: Archant

Sarah Lungley, of Suffolk Rape Crisis, said: "Suffolk Rape Crisis are grateful for the continued support of the MoJ, and very pleased to receive £21,900 from the critical support fund this year.

"We are continually seeing increasing rates of referrals from women and girls who have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, and funding like this ensures we can continue to deliver vital support. 

"This funding will help us to increase counselling provision, support the development of our helpline and ultimately contribute to our mission in challenging the underlying attitudes which allow sexual violence to continue."

Pat Leach, trustee of Bury St Edmunds Women's Aid, said the charity's work has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

She said: "During the Covid-19 pandemic, Bury St Edmunds Women's Aid continued to provide services for people who have experienced domestic abuse.

"Our work was hampered by all the restrictions that have been in place to limit the spread of the virus.

"This left us in a situation where people living in the community were sometimes having to wait for us to be able to offer them a service.

"The grant from the MoJ critical support fund was not for the full amount that we had asked for but it is a considerable sum for us as an organisation.

"We have already started to use this grant to offer more freedom programme places, which are designed to help people who have experienced domestic abuse understand more about what has happened to them." 

Mr Passmore said he hoped the extra funding would ensure the organisations were "better equipped" to meet increased demand. 

“I’m delighted we were successful in our bid for this additional MoJ funding, it will go some way to meet the increased demand these victim support organisations are experiencing," he said. 

“Ensuring support is available to victims is a key part of my role and anything I can do to help reduce waiting times for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence so they get the support they need, when they need it, within their local area is crucial.

“Those working in this area are extremely committed and work extraordinarily hard to support victims, so I hope this funding will help them to reduce caseloads and ensure they are better equipped to meet the increased demand for their critical services.”