VICTIMS of domestic abuse throughout the region are set to benefit from two new funds totalling £420,000 - in what has been described by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness as ‘a significant boost for our efforts in supporting everyone affected by the cycle of abuse’.

The Drive Project, which launched earlier this week, will target the most high-risk, high harm and serial perpetrators and protect hundreds of associated victims, including children.

The scheme will offer 90 domestic abuse perpetrators across the region intensive behaviour change support with the aim of preventing future offending.

This project has been made possible thanks to funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, all six local authorities across the region and the Home Office.

In addition to this new programme, charities and support organisations across the North-East are also set to share an extra £252,000 of emergency funding.

This grant is to help key organisations continue delivering support services to vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence as the coronavirus pandemic restrictions continue.

This is the second round of extraordinary funding secured by the PCC from the Ministry of Justice, and follows a successful bid back in June when the region was awarded £500,000 to help services cope with a surge in demand during difficult times.

Welcoming the Drive Project launch, Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We’ve been calling out for more money to help those suffering from abuse for some time.

"The pandemic is far from over and we have to ensure specialist support is able to continue and reach those who need it most, as well as preventing it from happening in the first place.

“The funding of these projects and services gives a significant boost to the region’s efforts in supporting everyone affected by the cycle of abuse and it’s great to be making this announcement during the international 16 days of action campaign around eliminating violence and abuse.

“I’m confident that all this work together will have a lasting impact in tackling the evils of abuse, reducing offending and helping those victims who we see harmed time and time again.

"We have to do everything we can to put a stop to it”

Since the original Drive pilot in 2016, for the duration of the intervention, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) reported risk to the victim reduced in 82 per cent of cases. When Drive was not involved victims/survivors were three times more likely to experience physical abuse at case closure than when Drive was involved.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, a director of Drive, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Barnardo’s, as well as a fantastic network of local partners, to do all we can to make victims and survivors of domestic abuse safer by responding effectively to those who are causing the harm – the perpetrators.

"We know that the introduction of the Drive Project will be alongside the incredible and pioneering work of the Northumbria OPCC and MATAC in recent years and the significant partnership work embedded across local authorities in Northumbria. We are very grateful for this opportunity to work together to strengthen and expand the work currently led by partners in Northumbria.”