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14 September, 2020

Extra help for domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors in York and North Yorkshire

Changing Lives has been awarded more than £5000 to help women who have experienced domestic abuse, sexual violence and other trauma in York.

The trauma groups at the Women’s Wellness Centre were close to capacity before lockdown and the extra funding has allowed the charity to increase staff hours and buy workbooks and tablets to ensure everyone can still access trauma therapies remotely.

The money is part of the Ministry of Justice’s £76m package of additional funding to help vulnerable victims through the Covid-19 pandemic and is being distributed by the Country’s Police and Crime Commissioners.

Debra Cowey, Area Manager at Changing Lives, said:

“During lockdown the demand on the service has dramatically increased. The impact Covid-19 has had on the most vulnerable people in our society is devastating. We have seen an increase in sexual exploitation, sexual violence, physical violence, and domestic abuse during lockdown. It is extremely concerning.

“The financial support from the Police and Crime Commissioner allowed us to increase staff on a temporary basis to cope with the increased demand for this provision. This service has proved essential to safeguard our most vulnerable and help with people’s mental well-being. For some people, the Changing Lives staff were the only connection they had during lockdown.

“This project in York is crucial to ensuring vulnerable women are able to continue accessing vital support and are still connected with services that can help reduce their risk and contribute to their safety.”

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said:

“This money was urgently needed and I’m pleased to see how it will make a huge difference to the support available for domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors across North Yorkshire and York – services which are more in demand than ever before.

“It will make a real difference to the help available on a front line which has been growing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and which I fear will only continue to grow as many people resume more normal lives.”