Calls made to improve 'ludicrous' domestic violence funding system

CALLS have been made to improve a ‘ludicrous’ funding system for domestic violence services as Portsmouth is set to face a £1.4m shortfall in March.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 11:44 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 1:57 pm

Members of the city's health and wellbeing board will put pressure on all streams of funding after branding the current structure, which sees most grants lasting a year at a time, 'inefficient.'

Cash to support services is awarded separately by the Home Office, the police and crime commissioner and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), however, it is never guaranteed that a grant will be given again.

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Funding for domestic abuse survivors has been branded 'inefficient.'

Speaking at a board meeting Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'How's it possible to run a service when you're going from annual grant to annual grant?

'Because presumably you have to spend time bidding for it. Then there's time running it up and then winding it down. It's an enormously inefficient way of doing it.'

David Williams, the council's chief executive and member of the clinical commissioning group (CCG), agreed. He said: 'I have made a representation to the police and crime commissioner about this problem.

'Sometimes issues like this in terms of fragmented funding is understandable and acceptable when it's about an emerging area of concern. We can no longer say this about domestic violence.

‘We won’t be alone in the country on this, it's a major problem.’

Services for survivors of domestic violence in Portsmouth include Stop Domestic Abuse, Aurora New Dawn and Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service.

Domestic abuse survivor and campaigner Kirsty Mellor attended the board meeting to urge for greater cohesion between services. 'As a survivor of horrific domestic abuse I owe my life to agencies who supported my children and me whilst I was in an abusive relationship,' she said. 'They worked with us to keep us safe.

'After I left my abusive partner we were networked to counselling services who are specialised in dealing with the long-lasting effects of abuse and trauma, it never quite leaves you but with tailored, joined-up support it does get easier.'

The board agreed to write to the home office, MHCLG and the police and crime commissioner suggesting funding is awarded for longer periods and simplified.