'Everyone has the right to live without fear' - domestic abuse project helped by police funding

PUBLISHED: 11:09 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 December 2017

PCC Lorne Green. Photo: Norfolk County Council/Antony Kelly

PCC Lorne Green. Photo: Norfolk County Council/Antony Kelly

Norfolk County Council/Antony Kelly

Adults and children affected by domestic abuse in Norfolk have been helped by vital funding from the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The Pandora Project, a domestic abuse advice service for those in West Norfolk and Swaffham, was awarded £179,285 in grant funding from Norfolk’s PCC.

And the charity’s founder has described the funding as “vital” in allowing the service to continue their work making a difference to people in crisis.

The funding enables the charity to provide advocacy, advice and support for victims, and to work with children and young people.

Tracy Mahoney, who founded the Pandora Project in 2013, said: “We have a team of dedicated volunteers doing great work, including a children and young people advocacy support worker who has a four month waiting list.

The Pandora Project helps women and children affected by violence and domestic abuse in Swaffham and west Norfolk. Photo: Pandora ProjectThe Pandora Project helps women and children affected by violence and domestic abuse in Swaffham and west Norfolk. Photo: Pandora Project

“It shows that there is such a need for our services in this area.

“Our team are very passionate about our work. We are making a real difference to people in crisis.

“We are really grateful for the funding we have received from the PCC to allow us to continue this vital work.”

PCC Lorne Green said: “The work carried out by the Pandora Project in the west of our county should not be underestimated.

Around 80pc of the project's clients suffer from emotional abuse. Photo: Pandora Project, stock imageAround 80pc of the project's clients suffer from emotional abuse. Photo: Pandora Project, stock image

“Tracy and her dedicated team of workers have helped so many people who may have felt in the depths of despair, to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Crucially, they have also supported numerous children and young people who have either been direct victims of domestic abuse or witnessed it at home, behind closed doors, and for this they must be commended.

“As Norfolk’s PCC I have pledged that I will do everything within my means to prevent such abuse and ensure that help and support is available to those who need it.”

In 2016/17 the Pandora Project were given £17,697.

They will be awarded a further £79,371 for 2017/18 and £82,217 for 2018/19.

PCCs are responsible for commissioning victim support services, and receive dedicated national funding towards this.

Mr Green has also pledged a further £170,000 of funding to domestic abuse charity Leeway over the next two years.

Donations can be made to the EDP’s campaign to raise £10,000 for Leeway in memory of Kerri McAuley by visiting our JustGiving page.

‘There is help’ - founder urges victims to come forward

Around 80pc of the Pandora Project’s clients suffer from emotional abuse.

Founder Tracey Mahoney said: “Some of our clients are prisoners in their own homes.

“We’ve heard how a perpetrator will go out to work but keep ringing a client every half an hour to make sure she is at home.

“They will check the car mileage if she has been out.

“Technology is now a huge problem, as clients’ partners ask them to use Facetime to prove where they are.

“Clients say they don’t know how abusers always know where they are, but technology makes it so much easier to track people.

“A perpetrator may check emails or texts or track them via mobile phone apps.

“Financial abuse can mean that perpetrators take loans out in their partner’s names, leaving them in huge debt, or take their wages from them.”

She added: “We are a passionate team who offer emotional and practical support. There is help, and we are here to listen.”

For more information, visit the Pandora Project website, which also offers advice on internet safety for domestic abuse victims.

Woman helped by the Pandora Project praises ‘absolutely vital service’

A woman from King’s Lynn who was referred to the Pandora Project described the service as “invaluable”.

She said: “I was Tracey (Mahoney’s) first client, and I took part in the Freedom Project in 2014,

“The aim was to raise awareness of the early signs of domestic abuse.

“Believe me, it has helped.”

She added; “I was married, and after I split up with him I very ill, mental health wise.

“I met a support worker and within five minutes of talking to her she told me I had been in an abusive relationship.

“I couldn’t believe it. It took me about 18 months to get my head around it.

“The Pandora Project helped me a lot and I’m so much stronger than I was.

“They are amazing, and its brilliant that they can carry on and do more, thanks to this funding.

“There are so many women out there going through this, and not enough people trained to help them. The service is absolutely vital.”

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