Pledge to keep funding service which helps spot signs of domestic abuse

Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family.

Kerri McAuley. Submitted by Kerri's family. - Credit: Archant

A pledge has been made to continue funding for a team which helps people spot hidden signs of domestic abuse - after fears the finish of Home Office funding could end the service.

Independent Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp. Picture: Ian Burt

Independent Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Since 2015, more than 2,000 people have been trained as domestic abuse change champions by Norfolk County Council's team of domestic abuse co-ordinators.

The co-ordinators, funded by the county council, the police and crime commissioner and the Home Office, have helped train the network of champions.

People trained in that way include hairdressers, because people often share intimate personal information with sthem which they might not discuss with friends and family.

MORE: Lessons around domestic abuse support are being learned after Norwich mum's murder

But the Home Office funding for the domestic abuse co-ordinators finishes at the end of March and concerns were raised over whether it would continue.

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Alexandra Kemp, independent county councillor for Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South, said she feared the funding for the trainers had "slipped under the radar" of the Conservative-controlled cabinet.

One of the recommendations of the domestic homicide review after Norwich mother-of-two Kerri McAuley was murdered by her abusive former partner Joe Storey, was that campaigns should to do more to train hairdressers and beauticians as potential confidants of victims.

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Ms Kemp raised the issue at a meeting of the cabinet.

She asked: "Why did the end of Home Office funding this March for the domestic abuse champion trainers slip beneath cabinet's radar? Cabinet should save the service, put domestic abuse at the top of the agenda, and bring the equalities working group back."

John Fisher, cabinet member for children's services replied the council would fund it for the next 12 months.

A council spokeswoman said the issue had been reviewed in the "last few months" and the department signed off funding last week.

They said: "We will continue to fund our domestic abuse change co-ordinators, at a cost of £142,000, for the next year, while we further develop our partnership response to domestic abuse provision in Norfolk.

"As part of our transformation of social care, we are developing plans to base specialist domestic abuse staff in each area, who will work directly with victims, perpetrators and children."

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