Lifeline for vital service

Domestic violence (posed by models)
Domestic violence (posed by models)

A service which provides high-risk domestic-violence victims with vital support has been given a lifeline after the threat of closure.

Two weeks ago, the Gazette reported that Cease24, which is based in Alnwick, was to be axed at the end of this month.

It provides the county’s only Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) but lack of funding meant it was to close.

But after talks between Northumberland County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Vera Baird, the authority has agreed to continue funding the service until April 2015.

Coun Grant Davey, leader of the council, said: “We had no wish to lose this service and are well aware of our increasing priorities around tackling domestic violence and supporting victims. Having looked at all options and reviewed our budgets, it has been decided that the council will, in addition to our original commitment to Cease 24, provide additional funding this year, and we hope that a more long-term sustainable solution can be developed with partners over the coming months.”

PCC Vera Baird said: “I’m delighted that the council has found itself able to fund the IDVA service in Northumberland so that there will be an IDVA service in every local authority in Northumbria in 2014-15.

“It is a pity Sir Alan Beith MP, who supports the Government that is slashing such services, tried to play politics with the issue.

“It is regrettable too that a campaign alleged that I had some obligation to fund this service when, not only is that incorrect, but there is currently little money in the police budget to pay for policing itself.”

MP Sir Alan Beith said: “I am delighted that the local authority has agreed to fund the service until April 2015, which will support high-risk adults and their children who are caught up in domestic violence.

“I have been putting pressure on Northumberland County Council and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.”

He added that he hoped that there would now be time for future bids and funding to continue the service in the long-term.