THE Office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed an additional £421,488 from the Ministry of Justice to increase its number of independent sexual violence and domestic violence advisers.

This will allow the current independent sexual violence and domestic violence adviser services such as Harbour Support Services and the Rape and Sexual Assault counselling to increase their capacity to respond to and support those affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Ministers committed to the additional further funding to ensure independent sexual violence adviser and independent domestic violence adviser services are supported to tackle waiting lists and maintain appropriate caseloads.

Isabel Owens, deputy chief executive from Rape and Sexual Assault Counselling Centre said: “We are delighted to receive this additional funding.

"Our Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service provides an important option for sexual violence survivors. ISVAs provide vital emotional and practical support for any survivors.

"And it act as liaison for the survivor between the police, court and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and other agencies for those going through the criminal justice process.

“They are also able to give them the emotional support needed in trying to deal with their trauma and how it has impacted their lives. This funding will ensure more survivors from Darlington and County Durham will have access to this highly valued service.”

Caren Barnfather, Business Manager from Harbour Support Services said: “We are delighted to see additional funding being invested in front line support for victims.

"Some of our allocation will enable us to have targeted support for victims of domestic abuse who present at our local hospitals in Durham and Darlington and someone specialising in work with victims experiencing poor mental health.

“These new roles will enable us to reach out to more people who are not currently receiving support and enable them to get the help they need to be free from further abuse.”

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “This uplift in funding will help to ensure that these important services can continue to provide their vital services, enabling more victims to access the support they need.”

“I am committed to working in partnership with these crucial services to ensure further emotional and practical support is available for the victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence across County Durham and Darlington.”