The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed further funding from Ministry of Justice to bolster specialist provision for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the county.
David Lloyd’s office has secured £555,288 to pay for four additional specialist staff over three years, two who will be based at the county’s major hospitals in Stevenage and Watford and two within the IDVA service run by the charity Refuge.
They will include a children and young person Independent and Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) to work with youngsters and specialist domestic abuse advisors. A key part of their role will be accepting referrals from doctors and nurses of patients in units, such as A&E and antenatal, and raising awareness of staff of the signs to look for.
Their role is not just emotional support, but advice on the criminal justice system, rights and entitlements and assistance in practical matters, such as alternative accommodation, translation services and benefit claims.
This funding is in addition to £969,489 recently pledged by MoJ which has enabled the Commissioner’s office to put in place specialist provision including the Beacon Family Hub, a dedicated team tackling child on parent abuse.
Commenting on the award Mr Lloyd said: “My commissioning team has been working closely with partners and providers to understand how best to meet the needs of victims across the county.
“Their continued commitment to placing bids into these government opportunities has seen an additional £1.5m of funding coming into Hertfordshire, with further bids in the pipeline.”
The funded posts will see an extra two Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates (IDVA) specialising in complex needs and family courts, plus a Children Young Persons ISVA and hybrid IDVA/ISVA working within the general hospitals, which had been identified as a crucial place where victims are coming forward.
Kevin McGetrick, Head of Victim Services and Commissioning said “Our strategy has been to increase the availability and accessibility of specialist posts across the county, especially for those who may feel uncertain or unable to reach out to criminal justice partners. This very welcome funding allows us to continue with this expansion.”