VICTIMS of domestic abuse in Greater Manchester are being reminded that support is still available and those at risk of harm can still leave their homes under the latest coronavirus lockdown rules.

Last month, emergency funding was allocated to charities in the city-region that support victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence to adapt their services while the pandemic continues.

A total of £571,196 was allocated to 26 organisations by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which will enable them to adapt services and improve digital capabilities for remote working.

The money will enable the charities to provide more counselling for vulnerable victims and hire additional staff to cope with increased demand. They will also be able to make their organisations ‘Covid Secure’ and provide PPE to staff.

The funding has been allocated to the charities via Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) after it submitted bids to government for the funding.

Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “The new restrictions require people to stay at home, but for many people home isn’t a safe environment.

“We know for some victims the pandemic has meant spending more time at home with their potential abuser, and as a result this means victims have been cut off from their existing support networks. It has also added to extra stress and anxiety, therefore the extra funding is needed now more than ever so services can still be delivered under remote conditions.

“Our message to victims of domestic abuse is – you are not alone, and support is still here if you need it. I also want to remind people that if home isn’t a safe place, you are allowed to leave and stay away from home overnight to escape risk of harm, such as domestic abuse, despite the restrictions – this is a very important message.”

Guidance about the new lockdown rules can be found on the gov.uk website.

Detective Superintendent Gwyn Dodd of Greater Manchester Police added: “I would like to reassure all victims of domestic abuse that help and support is available across Greater Manchester and beyond, and a key area we are focusing on, both within GMP, and with partners across our local communities.

“Domestic abuse remains an absolute priority for GMP, and as the country now find itself in another lockdown, we recognise the increased risk this means to victims. The current climate will not affect our response to domestic abuse, and I would like to make it clear that help is available, and we will respond to protect our communities.

“I would also like to reiterate the message that those at risk of harm are able to leave their homes, regardless of the restrictions in place.”

Among the Greater Manchester charities to receive the latest MoJ funding is Olive Pathway, based in Wythenshawe. The charity works to raise awareness of domestic abuse amongst black and minority ethnic people.

Memory Nyahunzwi, Founder and CEO of Olive Pathway, said: “Women are currently facing and dealing with two serious pandemics, COVID-19 pandemic and domestic and sexual violence pandemic. This funding has come at a much needed time to ensure organisations like ours, who provide specialist support to women and girls experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender-based violence, are able to provide a sustainable service, effective support and enable us to repsond in a timely manner especially during this current phase and recovery period.”

Jill Caldwell, CEO of Endeavour Domestic Abuse Services, said: “The ongoing pandemic has increased demand across all our services with many more families in need of support.

“We welcome the additional funding which will have an immediate impact increasing our counselling service and expanding our ’Staying Safe Together’ group work programme.

“We recognise it is vital we continue to equip families with the practical means to stay safe during the pandemic and these funds will support the provision of PPE and cleaning packs alongside our food and toiletry parcels for those most in need.”

Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Officer of CAHN, said: “This is yet another opportunity to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual violence related abuses in the Caribbean & African community across Greater Manchester.

“With our understanding of cultural issues, we will focus our efforts on challenging myths and supporting victims in a culturally competent manner.”

Last year GMCA placed bids for emergency funding from the MoJ to support 33 charities to in the city region. A total of £860,850 was allocated after the sector reported difficulties in maintaining previous level of service due to losing income from donations and regular giving.

The full list of charities to receive the latest funding are:

  • Salford Women’s Aid
  • Fort Alice
  • TLC: Talk, Listen, Change
  • Salford Foundation
  • Stockport Without Abuse
  • Independent Choices
  • Rochdale Connections Trust
  • City Hearts
  • Paws for Kids (Endeavour Domestic Abuse)
  • NESTAC
  • The Children’s Society
  • DIAS Domestic Violence Centre
  • EndAbuse
  • Victim support (victim assessment and referral service)
  • Victim Support (Bury DA service)
  • Victim Support (Rochdale DA Service)
  • Olive Pathway
  • TLC (The Prevention Alliance)
  • MhIST
  • Empathy North West
  • Stockport Women’s Centre
  • Positive Steps
  • Caribbean & African Health Network Greater Manchester
  • The Pankhurst Trust
  • Bridges (Jigsaw Support)
  • Dimobi Disability Trust

If you, or someone you know, is feeling anxious and unsafe in their home, visit gmvictims.org.uk or call 0161 200 1950 for help and advice, including how to access local support services. You don’t have to report anything to the police if you don’t want to.

If you, or someone you know, has come to harm or is at risk of coming to harm, you can report this to Greater Manchester Police via their Livechat facility at gmp.police.uk or call 101. If you, or someone else is in immediate danger always dial 999.

If you are calling 999 from a mobile phone and you are unable to speak, you can use the Silent Solution by pressing 55 when prompted. Once you press 55, the operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.


Article Published: 06/01/2021 14:40 PM