Pioneering partnership to ensure every woman can access domestic violence support

Initiative awarded nearly £400,000 government funding

Date issued: 13 November 2018

More women from Braintree, Colchester, Maldon or Tendring will be able to get specialist support they need to escape domestic violence, under a pioneering partnership initiative awarded nearly £400,000 government funding

Under the scheme the four councils, Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge (CTWR) and charities Open Road and Changing Pathways will work together to:

  • increase the number of available spaces at the refuge
  • provide accommodation for women and their children seeking to live independently after suffering domestic violence
  • provide support and accommodation to women with mental health issues arising from the abuse they have experienced
  • raise awareness of its services among the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities
  • integrate specialist support services for the first time for those with other complex issues like addiction to alcohol or drugs. Currently, people need to be drug- or alcohol-free before being able to access the services provided by a refuge.

The funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) follows a successful bid led by Colchester Borough Council and will support the project through to March 2020.

Colchester and Tending have the highest numbers of victims of domestic violence in Essex, after Basildon. In the first three months of 2017/2018, there were 909 reports to the police of domestic violence a month across all four local authority areas – while in the same period in 2018/2019 there were 1,076 reported incidents a month.

Over the last two years, CTWR has supported more than 1,100 women in the community and over 160 women and 240 children in the refuge itself. However, during that same time it has been unable to provide accommodation for more than 320 women and their children.

The government funding will help cover the costs of eight full-time posts and develop an additional 26 bed spaces, with the aim of supporting around 750 other people seeking to escape domestic violence.

Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “Former or current partners kill two women each week in England and Wales. It takes a great deal of courage to leave someone who controls and intimidates you. Women often attempt to leave several times before making the final break. We want to ensure that no woman is unable to get the support they need to break free and rebuild their lives.

“While domestic violence can happen to both men and women, the statistics show that women are at significantly greater risk, with one woman in four experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes and four times more women than men were killed by their partner or ex-partner.

“I am delighted that we have received this additional funding which will enable us to build on the support available across Colchester, Braintree, Maldon and Tendring. It not only supports the ambition of a Better Colchester, but also a better life for any woman and her children in the area suffering domestic violence.

Beverley Jones, Chief Executive of Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge, said: “We are delighted with news that we have been awarded these vital funds to enable us to expand our life-saving services and continue our successful partnership working with the four local councils involved in the bid.

“We are also excited that the additional funding will enable us to focus on providing new services for women with complex and multiple needs, who, for too-long have been denied the vital support they need by virtue of their complex-needs. Working with Open Road, the drug & alcohol charity based in Colchester, the award will allow us to fund specialist drug and alcohol services, targeting support for women historically hidden from services and from hard to reach communities.

“We know that these services will make a lasting change to the lives of women and children in Colchester, Tendring, Braintree and Maldon and provide them with the life-changing opportunity of a life free from domestic abuse.”

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