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VICTIM SUPPORT: Proposals drawn up for support project in Hartlepool

VICTIM SUPPORT: Proposals drawn up for support project in Hartlepool

Image: LDRS

Proposals have been drawn up for a project to provide bags containing essential items to support victims escaping domestic abuse in Hartlepool.

The ‘grab bags’ would be for women forced to flee an abusive situation and would provide essentials items such as toiletries, underwear, pyjamas and a change of clothes.

It comes after in December, Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wrote to the chair of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership offering to make a one-off grant contribution of up to £5,000 for 2020/21 to help the community.

The partnership, at their meeting on Wednesday, will be asked to agree to the proposal to use the funds for the project to help support victims of domestic abuse.

A report from Tony Hanson, council director of neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said each ‘grab bag’ would cost an estimated £85 to £95 and the scheme would provide vital help to vulnerable people.

He said: “The concept of “grab bags” is that women who have been forced to flee an abusive situation can be provided with basic essentials when they arrive at a refuge or other safe accommodation.

“Domestic violence is one of the partnership’s three key priorities for 2020/21 and the recent strategic assessment has identified that it remains a significant issue

“The use of this funding to help protect those vulnerable to, and fleeing from, domestic violence would contribute towards delivering on the partnership’s current priorities.”

The bags would also include a pay-as-you-go mobile phone with £10 credit as part of the support for those fleeing domestic violence, as well as the toiletries and clothing items.

It is proposed the funding for the delivery of the initiative is forwarded to Harbour, who provide specialist domestic abuse services in Hartlepool.

They would then purchase and provide the bags and make them available to those who need them on arrival at their refuge or emergency accommodation.

Representatives from Harbour told the council audit and governance committee earlier this month they have seen a ’20 to 25% increase’ in referrals since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Service manager Danielle Chadwick also said they have seen an ‘increase in the complexity’ of incidents reported to them and staff have had to manage ‘huge challenges’.

The report is to go before the Safer Hartlepool Partnership at its next meeting for approval, which will take place on Wednesday, February 24, at 10am, and be streamed live via the ‘Hartlepool Council meeting videos’ channel on YouTube.

Words: Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporter

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