£6.8m boost for community safety

Victims of historic sexual abuse will receive dedicated support thanks to funding from Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

It is part of a £6.8m pot of money for community safety initiatives. Previously this funding was given directly to local authorities and the total amount allocated by central government has been halved when compared to previous years.

Tony Lloyd has announced funding of £70,000 to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, which will provide support workers for victims of historic abuse. It follows the tragic case of Frances Andrade, who killed herself after giving evidence in court against her abuser Michael Brewer.

Tony said: “Cases involving high profile individuals, including Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall, have resulted in an increase in the number of people coming forward to report historical sexual abuse and Greater Manchester Police now has more officers dedicated to these investigations than dealing with gun crime.

“These victims have made a difficult and extremely brave first step and the police and criminal justice system has a responsibility to support victims as much as possible through the justice process. The tragic case of Frances Andrade demonstrated in the starkest possible way how much of an ordeal giving evidence in court can be. We need to take action now to make sure that victims’ needs are paramount.

“This funding will provide much needed additional support to victims of sexual abuse, to help them through not only the trauma they have suffered, but also prepare and support them through what will be a difficult and complex criminal justice process. We have a long way to go but this is another step towards putting victims at the centre of the criminal justice system.”

Dr Cath White, Clinical Director at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, said: “This grant is great news for victims of rape and sexual assault.  It will be used to increase our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) resource.  ISVAs are specifically dedicated to supporting victims through the criminal justice process and provide a communication link between the police, lawyers and victims.

“St Mary’s would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner for his continued support for the SARC and for victims of sexual violence.”

The grant is part of Tony’s Community Safety Fund allocations for 2013-14, totalling £6.8m. This was previously paid to local authorities, but the money available to Tony has been slashed by half as part of the Government’s reckless budget cuts.

Other grants include:

  • Big Life/Positive Alternatives: Adult Gang and Young People’s Mentoring Services – £211,433: Money will be used to tackle mental health and wellbeing problems of people currently or previously involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in crime.  It will also be used to fund projects to help keep vulnerable young people and adults out of prison and away from criminal activity.
  • Independent Choices Greater Manchester –wide domestic abuse support line – £30,000: Part of the End The Fear domestic abuse campaign, Independent Choices runs a helpline for people looking for help, referrals and advice on domestic abuse.
  • Victim Support domestic abuse support scheme – £181,719: This grant will fund five domestic abuse support workers to work across Greater Manchester, focusing on early intervention and prevention, linking  in with health services such as Accident and Emergency and maternity provision.
  • Victim Support Greater Manchester-wide victim counselling service – £9,000: Previously only available in Manchester, this service has now been extended across Greater Manchester to provide qualified volunteer counsellors to support victims of crime.
  • Lesbian and Gay Foundation – Village Angels Places of Safety Support Scheme – £65,000: This scheme provides volunteers on Fridays and Saturdays in Manchester’s Gay Village, offering support and a place of safety to vulnerable people.
  • Integrated Gang Management Unit – £91,000: Previously provided through the Home Office Ending Gang and Youth Violence Fund, which has now been cut, this funding will be used to tackle gangs by targeting criminals and working with offenders.
  • GMP Drug Intervention Programme – £1,625,000: This will fund mandatory drug testing of people in custody. This was previously funded through Home Office which has been cut.
  • Ugly Mugs – £3,000: Contribution to a nationwide database designed to help protect sex workers. The project shares information on violent clients and known criminals, makes it easier for sex workers to report attacks and helps the police identify offenders.

The bulk of the funding has been granted to local authorities to community projects.

A report has published on the website which gives full details of the Community Safety Fund allocations. Read it here.

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