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My Norwich

Major boost to support those fleeing domestic abuse

Published on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017

More than 250 women and children fleeing domestic abuse will get the vital support they need thanks to a significant cash boost.

The DCLG has announced that a bid by Norwich City Council, alongside its partner Leeway, for almost £100,000 has been successful.

This will fund a full-time domestic abuse case worker to work in the city’s five refuges, run by Leeway, to provide immediate support to those in need and additional beds in a new Norwich safe house.

More than just providing the immediate emergency help those forced to leave their home need within a refuge setting, the funding will also go towards longer term support for those in need, in the form of a rent guarantee scheme that will help women move into rented accommodation.

Nearly a third of the people who use Leeway’s services have additional needs, such as mental health issues and substance misuse so being able to employ a specialist case worker to provide crisis support is invaluable. It is also vital in giving women the confidence and ability to make decisions about their lives and feel equipped and prepared to leave the refuge, when ready.

When women do feel ready to move on, however, with the demands on social housing, this is not always easy to find quickly, which means they are staying longer in refuges than they need. By providing a rent guarantee scheme, women and their children will be helped to move into independent living in private accommodation.

This funding also provides an additional bed space for women, who because of their insecure immigration status or lack of access to benefits, would not otherwise be able to access current safe house provision.

Councillor Vaughan Thomas, cabinet member for fairness and equality said:

“Winning this funding is incredible news for the city as it means that some of our most vulnerable residents can be given the vital support they need, when they need it the most.

Our long-standing partnership with Leeway to build the services we can provide so they are tailored to the city’s needs will be something we will continue to develop.”

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway said: “I am delighted that the partnership has won this funding  and will allow us to respond to increasing demand for support.”