Funding for domestic violence service found

Domestic violence (posed by models)

Domestic violence (posed by models)

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A service providing support to victims of domestic violence in Northumberland will continue into next year after funding was secured.

Cease 24, which provides an Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) service for the county, was facing closure at the end of this month due to a lack of funding.

But following discussions between Northumberland County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, the local authority has agreed to continue to fund the service, which supports women, men and children affected by domestic violence and abuse, until April 2015.

Councillor Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We had no wish to lose this service and are well aware of our increasing priorities around tackling domestic violence and supporting victims.”

Coun Davey said that the council was under “extreme pressure” from Government cuts of £230,000 a year, but that it recognised the importance of the project.

Having reviewed its budget the council has now stepped in to provide the additional funding needed to retain the service in the short term.

“We hope that a more long-term sustainable solution can be developed with partners over the coming months,” Coun Davey added.

Berwick Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith said he had been putting pressure on Northumberland County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner to save the service, which helps the most high risk families, and that he was “delighted” with the outcome.

He said: “I have been putting pressure on Northumberland County Council and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner to find the relatively small amount of funding which would be needed to maintain the service until the end of March 2015.

“This would allow time to bid for future funds, including funding from the PCC’s office which will become available from 1 April 2015 when responsibility for commissioning some victims’ services transfers to the PCC.

“The PCC, despite saying that domestic violence is her top priority, was not forthcoming with real support for people whose lives are at risk in my constituency and the rest of Northumberland.”

But Mrs Baird said: “It is a pity Alan Beith MP, who supports the government that is slashing such services, tried to play politics with the issue. It is regrettable too that a campaign alleged that I had some obligation to fund this service when, not only is that incorrect but there is currently little money in the police budget to pay for policing itself.”

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