Empassioned pleas from domestic abuse survivor secures £10,000 charity funding for Portsmouth

Kirsty Mellor. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (080719-1)
Kirsty Mellor. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (080719-1)
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A DOMESTIC abuse survivor made an impassioned plea to councillors to continue to fund a 'vital' support service for victims of sexual abuse in the city.

Avid campaigner and Portsmouth resident Kirsty Mellor spoke at Portsmouth City Council's community safety meeting this week supporting funding.

Councillor Lee Hunt, granted the cash for the county's independent sexual violence adviser (ISVA) and pledged to aim to do the same next year.

Mum-of-two Kirsty, 41, said: 'About 15 years ago I needed support.

'That support lasted seven years until I was empowered enough to leave my abusive partner. It's an incredibly complex and difficult situation to be in.

READ MORE: Domestic abuse costs £13.5m a year in Portsmouth

'Without that support I may not be standing here today as the strong woman I am. I am urging the cabinet member to give £10,000 to continue to provide that support. This is vital in our city.'

The service - also funded by Hampshire County Council and the county's police and crime commissioner - provides tailored support to victims and survivors of sexual violence regardless of whether they have reported it to the police.

It is part provided by charity Aurora New Dawn, which works in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and the East Hampshire area.

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Cllr Cal Corkery praised their work. 'I visited Aurora New Dawn after I was first elected to get a better understanding of who they are,' he said.

'I was really impressed with the breadth of service and they are clearly very dedicated to the cause.'

Cabinet member Cllr Hunt said he would hope to allocate funds for the service once again in 2020, to cover three years.

He added: 'I can't control the reduction in national spending but what I can do is try to work across services and with partners to try to reduce and prevent these sexual crimes.'

Between the 2017/18  financial year there were 170 referrals to the service in Portsmouth and 582 across Hampshire.

In total the service costs £118,908 to run in both Portsmouth and Hampshire.