A major £2million project to tackle domestic abuse and stalking in Surrey has been given the green light following a successful bid for government funding by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.
The Home Office perpetrator funding was secured by Commissioner Lisa Townsend’s team as part of a national programme to provide support to those responsible for harmful behaviour with the aim of helping change the way they think and behave.
The funding, spread over the next two years, will be used to create a Domestic Abuse Hub which will be open to any adult in Surrey and give participants the skills to be able to make positive, long-lasting changes in their lives.
Commissioner Lisa Townsend, third from left, with commissioning team Louise Andrews, left, Lisa Herrington, second from left, and Lucy Thomas, right
It will be made up of a team of ‘intervention navigators’ who will be experts from a range of specialist services. They will provide support to adults and children affected by the individual’s harmful behaviour, helping them to feel safe, able to cope and heal from their experiences.
There will also be specially tailored support for young people who may be using violence in their own young relationships or towards their parents or carers.
The Hub will work together with other agencies across the county to help those who have been abusers to address compulsive and obsessive behaviours and help protect all victims far earlier.
Commissioner Lisa Townsend said: “This is really great news – my team have worked incredibly hard to secure this funding, which I believe will make a significant difference to the lives of many people in Surrey.
“Reducing violence against women and girls is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan, and my commitment in Surrey is to work with our partners to create a county that is not only safe for all residents, but feels safe too.
“This initiative allows services to move away from a reactive approach – where an incident has already happened – to a more proactive system. This work will involve entire families and improve access to specialist services for those who may otherwise have no way of reaching out for help.
“It will also unite the organisations and charities already doing such fantastic work in this area so we can deliver a service that supports all who are in need.
“We know that working with those responsible for abusive and harmful behaviour can heighten the risk to those whose lives they have affected. This funding allows us to manage that risk far more effectively.”
Last year, Lisa announced a successful bid for a £1m Home Office grant to challenge violence and abuse. The grant has been used to fund teacher training and a public campaign to help children and young people.
She also recently secured £175,000 from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund to improve safety for women and girls using the Basingstoke Canal in Woking. The project claimed a prestigious Tilley Award at a ceremony in October.
Surrey Police‘s Domestic Abuse Lead, Detective Superintendent Amy Buffoni, said: “We are delighted the Police and Crime Commissioner has secured this funding, which will help us in providing effective interventions, focused on offending behaviour.
“The new hub will be staffed with skilled and experienced domestic abuse staff, navigating individuals into programmes which are specifically designed to enhance the safety of survivors.
“They will ensure we hold individuals accountable and responsible for their behaviour, while treating them with respect, and offering opportunities for lasting change.”
Safeguarding Minister Sarah Dines said: “Domestic abuse and stalking are vile crimes which cause victims to feel terror in their own homes and communities, where they should feel their safest.
“It is unacceptable and this government is determined to protect people from this horrific abuse.
“We know that intervention schemes like these are a crucial means of protecting victims, which is why we are investing millions in helping police identify abusive behaviour and stop it from escalating or happening again.”
- Anyone in need of advice or support will be able to contact the Hub directly, and the service’s phone number will be shared across a number of services, including in Surrey schools. The Hub will also accept referrals from Surrey Checkpoint, a deferred prosecution scheme for lower-level offences that aims to reduce reoffending, as well as a range of other organisations, including local authorities and drug and alcohol abuse support services.