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Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Bulletin Issue 10

29 May 2020

Welcome from the APCC Chair



 

Police and Crime Commissioners are now responsible for administering £20 million additional emergency funding for domestic abuse and sexual violence support services.  PCCs are currently engaging with relevant support organisations in their force areas and encouraging funding requests.  This should make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

 Supporting the vulnerable was a key theme at last week’s Hidden Harm Summit, hosted at No.10 Downing Street. Utilising the new funding streams available, Police and Crime Commissioners are working closely with Government, policing partners, local charities and victim support services to find innovative ways to reach out to those who need help and ensure effective enforcement is in place. 

There is much strong, proactive work happening and we are all committed to supporting those most at risk. Nobody should feel alone or that they have to suffer in silence.  I know that we will all continue to work collaboratively to drive forward real, lasting action that will support victims of crime beyond this crisis.

Katy Bourne OBE (Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex)



PCCs Making a Difference



A key responsibility of Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales is commissioning local support services for victims of crime, including victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This has been essential during the COVID-19 crisis recognising that it has had a significant impact on victims, who may be locked indoors with perpetrators, and ensuring that funding and support is made available to the most vulnerable across our communities.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners recently published its most recent In Focus, looking at how PCCs have made a difference protecting the vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis. The report included 34 PCC case studies from across England and Wales. Some examples of this work are:

 


PCCs are continuing to demonstrate pragmatic and innovative approaches to engaging with their communities.

In Nottinghamshire, PCC Paddy Tipping has provided emergency funding to support Juno Women's Aid to increase their capacity to answer calls from victims during the crisis. Since lockdown began the helpline has taken double the number of calls each week compared to the same period last year.



 

Also, as part of its Safer Cyber Priority commitment, Gloucestershire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has produced a short animation to encourage safer internet use for children spending more time online during lockdown. The video has been shared across the country and reminds parents to check their children are safe online. View the animation here.



Another key focus of PCCs is preventing fraud by providing support and information to help individuals recognise a potential scam.

In Norfolk PCC Lorne Green has launched a three-week scam awareness campaign which has seen agencies from across the county come together to warn residents of new and existing scams and provide advice on staying safe. The full advice can be found here.

Also the Victim Care and Advice Service which is supported by Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger and Durham's Acting PCVC Steve White, is contacting 1,000 previous victims of fraud to make sure they aren’t caught out again.

 


Ensuring support is available for victims of domestic abuse.

In North Wales, PCC Arfon Jones has allocated emergency funding which is being used to support refuges and ensure that support counsellors have the necessary IT facilities.

Also, in Cumbria, PCC McCall is extending ‘Step Up’, a service for families struggling with child/young person-on-parent domestic abuse. The programme helps families experiencing violent behaviour towards parents or carers from children and young people aged 11 to 17 years. Read the full flyer here.

 

The full In-Focus publication can be found here.

 



In other news...



 

In his blog on Mental Health Awareness Week, APCC Mental Health lead, Matthew Scott reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on every aspect of our lives, and on police forces up and down the country. He praises the mental strength of our police officers, their sheer bravery and continuous physical efforts.

It has been a long-term commitment of Mr Scott’s to work with policing and health colleagues to ensure those who are most vulnerable and suffering with mental ill health receive the right care, from the right people, at the right time. The blog outlines some initiatives across England and Wales ensuring people suffering a mental health crisis avoid the dangers associated with Covid-19 and receive treatment that respects social distancing measures.

Support and help is still available - and those who might be suffering were, and are, encouraged to access the appropriate services.

It concludes: “the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, kindness, is highly appropriate. At this moment in time, I think we could all benefit from a little kindness; a reminder to look out for our own and other’s mental health. This theme should be a golden thread throughout society pre-Covid-19, during Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 - not just this week.”

Read the full blog post here.

Read the national guidance on mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak here. 



Extraordinary COVID-19 funding for domestic abuse and sexual violence support services

Within the £76 million government package of support to charities supporting vulnerable people including victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse, PCCs will be responsible for distributing up to £20m.

The funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Domestic abuse services that are already commissioned by PCCs (up to £10 million)
  • Domestic abuse services that are not currently commissioned by PCCs (up to £5 million)
  • Sexual violence services that are already commissioned by PCCs and those that are not currently funded by PCCs (up to £5 million)

PCCs are currently in the process of conducting assessments of need for COVID-19 related emergency funding in relation to both sexual violence and domestic abuse support services in their local area. This process is open to all relevant support organisations in the PCC area – and encourages funding requests from small specialist organisations to ensure they can continue to operate during the crisis.

Read more here.

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