Victims in Cleveland will now have access to five additional domestic abuse experts to aid their recovery, following a significant national investment.
PCC Steve Turner received £263,067 of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Uplift funding to invest in an additional five Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs.) IDVAs support victims of domestic abuse and their families.
Funding paid for charity Harbour to employ two hospital-based IDVAs. One worker is based in the south of the region at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough and a second is based at North Tees Hospital in Stockton.
It’s the first time that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has funded specialist hospital IDVAS.
Their responsibility is to raise awareness of the signs of domestic abuse among all staff and support workers, identify victims of domestic abuse in a hospital setting and assist in making referrals to support services.
Victims are given the chance to talk to a hospital IDVA and can be referred to the appropriate domestic abuse services across Cleveland.
Despite only starting work in the second quarter 2021, the two hospital IDVAs have engaged with almost 100 patients across both hospital sites.
Five women accessed refuge accommodation immediately after they were discharged from hospital as a result of speaking to an IDVA about ongoing issues with domestic abuse.
Danielle Chadwick, Harbour’s Tees Valley Service Manager, said: “Some victims can minimise the abuse due to lack of understanding or fear. Having an IDVA on site means that they can spend time with the victim whilst in hospital working on these issues and providing encouraging support.
“Sustaining these positions is certainly a priority for us and we would also like to expand the offer to wider health care settings should there ever be a funding opportunity.”
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “We know that many domestic abuse victims will access services at hospital and it’s important this is seen as an opportunity to identify victims at an early stage.”
“By ensuring hospital workers at all levels are aware of the signs of abuse, we can ensure victims get the right support at the right time to help them recover and go on to lead fulfilling lives.”
In addition to the specialist hospital workers, the additional funding has also paid for an IDVA to monitor cases going through the region’s domestic courts and two IDVAs to work with young people.
MOJ Uplift funding focuses on areas which have been hit hardest by domestic abuse and sexual violence during the COVID pandemic. Cleveland was awarded a total of £220,073 towards domestic abuse and £42,994 towards tackling sexual violence as part of MOJ Uplift Funding last year.