• £167,000 windfall to support local victims of sexual and domestic abuse
  • Gloucestershire Constabulary reports 26% increase in domestic abuse during May compared to May 2019
  • May 2020 also showed a 20% increase in sexual abuse compared to May 2019
  • The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) had to bid for a share of a £25m sum made available by the Ministry of Justice
  • PCC Martin Surl praised his commissioning team for winning a ‘bidding war’ against other parts of the country

It was always feared that lockdown would lead to an increase in sexual and domestic abuse. While recent figures show that to be true, at least now a number of local organisations will benefit from extra funding to go towards helping victims.

Last month, police revealed a 26% increase in reports of domestic violence compared to May 2019. There was also a 20% increase in sexual violence over the same period.

The figures coincide with news that £167,432 additional funding has been secured by Gloucestershire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The windfall comes from a £25 million pot of money released by the Ministry of Justice in May 2020.

Kirsten Fruin, OPCC Commissioning Manager, said: “Life in lockdown has been traumatic for hundreds of families across Gloucestershire who did not have the luxury of being safe while staying at home.

“Sadly, what we are now hearing from our colleagues in the Constabulary about a dramatic increase in the number of people reporting sexual and domestic abuse confirms some of our worst fears.

“I am pleased the MoJ recognised the value of our bid. This money will now be divided amongst 10 local organisations, and help to ensure that victims and survivors get the support they need”.

Kirsten Fruin OPCC
Kirsten Fruin supporting #ItsNotOk campaign for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2020

Those receiving a share are: Gloucestershire Counselling Service, Gloucestershrie Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS), Gloucesershie Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (GRASAC), Hollie Gazzard Trust, Nelson Trust, Splitz, Stroud Beresford, Teens in Crisis, Victim Support, and West Mercia Womens Aid.

It is hoped the money will help cover costs incurred by adapting their services to the pandemic and cope with the increase in demand.

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, “We had no warning the MoJ was about to make this money available and my commissioning team had to react very quickly to prepare a bid.

“An increase in sexual and domestic abuse in the home has been one of the country’s main concerns throughout the pandemic and I am sorry it’s inevitable that other parts of the country will have missed out. But I delighted my team was able to secure such a significant share that will go towards supporting local victims and survivors who have shown the courage to come forward.”

In Gloucestershire, services to support victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse are still available. There is a full list of local services available on the OPCC website.