LGBT+ victim services have benefited from additional funding thanks to a successful bid by Durham Pride.
Durham Pride made the bid to the £400,000 of funding from Ministry of Justice, which has been allocated by Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for distribution to organisations supporting victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The funding is solely for these specialist organisations who have faced unprecedented challenges, as they adapt and change how they deliver their vital services, during the Covid-19 crisis.
Durham Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner is delighted to have been able to provide a share of this funding to Durham Pride to enable them to increase their telephone advisor sessions and specialist advisor support for clients and victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The telephone sessions offer a range of emotional support and advice, including how clients can manage their complex domestic situations, as sadly some clients live in fear and can be faced with violence for just being who they are.
The increased capacity the funding has brought has enabled their Independent Sexual Violence Advisor/Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, to provide support to even more victims.
The advisor is specifically trained to support LGBT+ victims, and offers support tailored to meet individual client needs.
The funding is also helping to facilitate an ‘emergency safe space’ which is used for LGBT+ victims fleeing from domestic abuse.
Victims are able to use the safe space whilst they access advisor support as well as accessing housing and benefit services to get them back on their feet.
This is a unique safe space particular for young male victims as they are often unable to access women only services.
Steve White, acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “It is encouraging that we are able to support services such as Durham Pride with our funding.
“Key support organisations across County Durham and Darlington such as Durham Pride have adapted brilliantly during the Covid-19 crisis to continue to provide their vital services.
“Females are not the only victims, males are not the only perpetrator, it is not just about physical hurt, it is also psychological and it does not only occur in intimate relationships.
“We need victims to know that help is available throughout this period of uncertainty.”
Durham Pride is one of 14 organisations to share the funding. This emergency Covid-19 funding is designed to help organisations who provide support for victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence adapt and survive this ongoing pandemic.
The funding is there to enable the organisation to continue to provide their tailored services, enabling victims to cope and recover from their experience.
It is there to address any short term income disruption caused by COVID-19 such as loss of fundraising activities, helping to meet any essential costs for sustaining their current activities during the pandemic, such as additional IT equipment to move services online, covering the cost of extra staffing due to increase in demand for services or to cover costs for those who are unable to work due to the Covid-19.
Mel Metcalf, from Durham Pride, said: “Having this help from the PCVC will make a huge difference.
“We know from our work that many victims of same sex domestic and or sexual violence who live in smaller towns and rural areas find it difficult to seek help, even before Covid-19.
“But throughout this pandemic, people have been trapped in same sex abusive and violent relationships with little chance of escape.
“Many feel ashamed and find it hard to seek help because they do not want to disclose their sexuality to police or to the other organisations out there.
“Many victims often refuse to speak up about the abuse they’re suffering. With this money, we can help more vulnerable members of our LGBT+ community in County Durham and Darlington to have a voice and get the support they need.”