Putting victims first by launching new and enhanced domestic abuse services

Julia has spearheaded the development of a force-wide domestic abuse collaboration with Local Authority partners to jointly procure a truly holistic package of support services on an unprecedented scale for ALL victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse throughout North Yorkshire and the City of York.

“ Of all my responsibilities as a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, my focus has always been and will always be to provide the best possible support for victims of crime. My own experience has taught me how important it is to ensure everything is in place for victims who feel able to reach out, and I am very proud of the progress we have made in North Yorkshire and York.

“ My innovative multi-agency approach to commissioning support services for domestic abuse in particular has enabled local commissioners to develop a joint service aligned to one shared set of outcomes for all victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse. There is shared focus on quality and customer service, not just the scale and scope of that support. It has been a game-changer.

“ We now have a new jointly commissioned service which commenced 1st March 2019, providing an enhanced and complete package of support, including support for young people beginning to display abusive behaviour, adolescent to parent abuse; support for perpetrators aged 16-years+, the provision of emergency alternative accommodation where necessary to provide victims respite; and intensive person-centred support packages to help all victims and survivors cope with the effect of domestic abuse whether they have reported to the police or not. It is fantastic to see the sheer amount of good work being done and I have seen the difference it can
make.

“ The pivotal first step was to facilitate the sharing of all existing data held by partners and create a more comprehensive analysis of need and demand in respect of domestic abuse and other interdependent needs. Alongside this work we also reviewed all existing local domestic abuse support services, including third sector providers, who I may not commission, but nevertheless provide important services to those in need. By collating information and analysis from all local stakeholders into a single complete needs and demand assessment, I was able to significantly improve the overall shared local evidence base to better understand the needs and expectations of those affected by domestic abuse. If there was one single moment in the process I had to pick out as the most important, it would be this. It set the foundation to what was transformative change.

“ Putting this comprehensive needs assessment to use, I was not only able to identify the most effective support interventions to better meet the needs of victims, survivors and perpetrators, but also allow providers to develop innovative service delivery models to increase the reach and scope of support offered.

“ Of huge value was the new ability to now move away from year on year funding of smaller individual contracts to create a more sustainable, multi-agency approach to effectively tackle domestic abuse in the longer term. Something that was desperately needed. To further support this, a single shared Performance and Outcomes Monitoring Framework has been agreed to improve the quality of monitoring, recording of measurable outcomes and impact achieved through support services.”

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT, COLLECTIVELY, THE NEW SERVICES WILL BE ABLE TO OFFER SUPPORT TO MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFECTED BY ABUSIVE BEHAVIOURS THAN WERE SUPPORTED THROUGH THE PREVIOUS SEPARATELY COMMISSIONED SERVICES:

“ Longer term funding isn’t the only benefit. Value for money will only get better now because we can look across the total local investment by commissioners collectively and prioritise the most effective interventions and services for these victims, survivors and perpetrators. Not only will this reduce demand on policing and criminal justice services, but there will be beneficial knock-on consequences for our partners in health, housing, children, young people and family prevention services and wider social care. Victims will also achieve better outcomes as we start to do the right thing at the right time even more often, speeding up recovery and a transition back into a productive happy life.

“ I haven’t left it there though! Learning and sharing best practice is already being adopted locally in other areas of commissioning, and a joint procurement process has now commenced (led by North Yorkshire County Council) to jointly commission domestic abuse Refuge and Accommodation-based services across North Yorkshire and the City of York. In time, this service will be fully aligned with the services I have outlined above, meaning a truly holistic service for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to be jointly commissioned from 2023/24 onwards, including Refuge provision. Work is also ongoing to explore options to facilitate joint commissioning of support service for children and young people affected by living in households where domestic abuse occurs. The possibilities are exciting, and I know the difference it will make for those in need.”

July 2019

Extract taken from  PCCS Making a difference – Putting Victims First