Posted: Sat 29th Aug 2020

Welsh Government to increase face-to-face support services for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Aug 29th, 2020

The Welsh Government has said it is increasing the support available for face-to-face services for victims and survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV).

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Government has prioritized funding for VAWDASV support in different ways to meet changing needs:

Over one £1million of funding for paid community accommodation to enable people to move on, and reduce demand on shelters while a quarter of a million pound was redirected to meet the immediate needs of Covid-19.

A further £ 1.575 million of revenue, announced in June, is being prioritized to help service providers prepare for the expected increase in demand as restrictions are eased, and in particular to enable face-to-face services to restart.

Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt said:

“Covid-19 and the changes to our daily lives have increased the risk and severity of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. People who commit domestic abuse have taken advantage of the restrictions on moving to greater control, preventing victims and survivors from having privacy and access to help and support services.

“The Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free helpline saw a reduction in calls earlier this year, which was a cause for concern, but increased quiet contact methods, and the number of conversations and emails sent to the helpline. remains high.

“As movement restrictions are eased and children return to school next week, victims and survivors will have more opportunity to trust friends, family members and professionals, and ask for the help needed. Calls to the helpline highlight increasingly complex needs and increased levels of risk.

“We are working with our partners and specialist providers to help services resume face-to-face working in a safe environment, using sneeze screens, personal protective equipment and social distance retention measures.

“I would urge anyone who has experienced domestic abuse or violence, or who is concerned about a relative, friend or neighbor, to contact the Fear Free Helpline – by phone, email, text message or live chat. Help and support, including quiet assistance, is available 24 hours a day. You’re not alone, and the face-to-face support restarts. ”

Women’s Aid Wales CEO Sara Kirkpatrick said:

“Welsh Women’s Aid is delighted that this Welsh Government revenue will help specialist services restart the face-to-face support that survivors desperately need.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many of the approaches used by services to offer support that could transform, if not save, survivors’ lives. Their resilience and adaptability throughout the pandemic has been incredible, but the failure to provide face-to-face support to those in need has created some concerns among staff, and some survivors who have faced practical and emotional barriers.

“Unfortunately, we know from the Live Fear Free helpline data that rates of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence rose during the pandemic, but the nature of social distance detention measures and restrictions on movement meant, for many survivors, access to support and security is limited.

“As these restrictions are lifted, we expect to see an increase in the number of survivors reaching out for help and guidance. We are assured that, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government, more of these survivors will be able to access face-to-face support when safe and appropriate. ”

Fflur Emlyn, from the North Wales Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Center, said:

“Thanks to the recent capital award provided by the Welsh Government, we have been able to resume face-to-face working with children and adult survivors of sexual abuse in North Wales.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, all face-to-face services have been suspended and digital has had to continue. But our therapeutic work with children under 11 had to end face-to-face and digitally, as it was not practical to continue.

“This funding has contributed to personal protective equipment and helped us restart all our services for adults and children who have survived sexual abuse in North Wales, including our work with our very young clients.”

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