Suffolk leaders approve £225,000 grant to create one-stop point for domestic abuse victims

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said Suffolk had come a long way in its domestic

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said Suffolk had come a long way in its domestic abuse support Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk leaders have granted a six figure sum of cash to improve domestic abuse support services in the county – including plans for a dedicated contact point.

The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group agreed funding of £225,000 to be awarded to the Safer and Stronger Communities Group (SSCG) for three key developments in domestic abuse support.

Around £100,000 of that will create a Suffolk Co-ordination Centre, which will be a single point of contact for victims of domestic abuse as well as their family members, friends and others with concerns.

It comes in response to feedback that services for victims were fragmented and did not work together well enough.

The report for the meeting last Friday said the centre would help in 'ensuring people can get the right support first time rather than 'bouncing' in and out of services which is ineffective both for their recovery and in terms of costs'.

Elsewhere, £65,000 will develop a domestic abuse champions network where industry professionals will train organisations in spotting the signs of domestic abuse earlier.

The remaining cash will be used to help support joint schemes in tackling abuse.

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Ian Gallin, chief executive of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils, said: 'This will help people get help as early as possible, and once in the system it's about getting wider support.

'It will put us in a really good place for addressing the issues.'

Plans for a single point of contact for domestic abuse victims has been in discussion since 2016, after a survey in 2015 found 'services were fragmented and confused with some areas of overlap and considerable gaps'.

A joint vision was agreed by the police and crime commissioner, Suffolk police, Suffolk County Council and the clinical commissioning groups in the area.

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner, said: 'When I was first elected there seemed to be a disjointed approach so I think Suffolk has made a huge step forward in the last four or five years.

'Domestic abuse is a serious issue for all of us,' adding that 'people are more confident to report it now'.

Firmer plans will now be laid out to establish the measures following the funding agreement.

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