Domestic and sexual-abuse victims in Northumberland and other parts of the North East are set to benefit from a cash boost to local support services.
Almost £650,000 from the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls transformation fund has been secured by Dame Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
Projects and initiatives to be launched or built upon will include developing the Northumbria Domestic Abuse Practitioner Standard to provide training for local professionals, such as family support workers, who may not technically be domestic abuse specialists but who deal on a day-to-day basis with domestic abuse victims.
There will be a piloting of three witness advocate posts – intended to ensure that the needs of rape and sexual-abuse victims are fully met at every step in the criminal justice process – and a cyber stalking and harassment initiative to tackle more strongly the growing numbers of victims who are stalked both on the street and online.
Dame Vera said: “This is fantastic news for Northumbria as it will allow us to build our support services and respond to pressing needs.
“Let’s be clear, though welcomed, the reality is this money barely scratches the surface and in no way fills a fraction of the gap left by Government cuts to the police and partners who’ll work with us on these projects.
“But this funding will certainly help with the delivery of specialist services that can make a real difference to those suffering awful abuse.”
Dame Vera has also backed a national petition calling on the Government to regulate all acids which could be used to attack and disfigure.
The petition currently has 4,067 supporters and will need 10,000 names for a Government response.
She said: “I’m surprised such regulation isn’t in place already – it’s nonsensical and I fully support this petition. Copycat attacks will not be tolerated in Northumbria.”