More domestic abuse and sexual violence experts to be recruited in the West Midlands

The number of specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence experts will be more than doubled in the West Midlands, a police chief has said.

Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Simon Foster
Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Simon Foster

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Foster said the number would increase from 31 to 64 in a bid to tackle rising violence in the region.

Mr Foster more Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates would allow more people to be supported.

The PCC said: "When I was campaigning to become PCC I promised to invest more in services that protected women and girls from violence and I’m very pleased to say that is exactly what this will do.

"With domestic abuse rising across the country it is more important than ever that we bring those people who feel they are above the law to justice, but also to support the victims and ensure they are kept safe.

"I will continue to look at what can be done to protect the most vulnerable in our region and to keep everybody safe."

The new recruits will work for organisations like The Haven Wolverhampton, which supports women and children who are subjected to domestic abuse. The move should mean more women, and men, who find themselves in high risk situations at home can be kept safe.

Domestic Abuse Advocates tend to help people who are at serious risk of violence, whilst Sexual Violence Advocates help people who have been raped or sexually abused.

The total cost of the extra investment is £1.4 million and has been secured after an application was submitted to the Ministry of Justice/

Popinder Kaur, chief executive at The Haven Wolverhampton, said: "This additional resourcing to support victims of abuse at the highest risk of serious harm could not come at a more important time. The need for specialist support has risen significantly during the pandemic and we welcome the announcement to respond to this need and ensure the most vulnerable victims of abuse can access the support they need."

The West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Councillor Nicky Brennan added: "Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Advocates provide an essential service to victims.

"They are highly trained and help to guide those who have suffered abuse through the criminal justice system which can be incredibly challenging and complex.

"We have seen a rise in domestic abuse in the past year and by doubling the number of advocates, we can help to support more victims and keep people safe."

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