Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Commissioner backs new scheme to help domestic abuse victims in Watford
Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, is funding an innovative new pilot scheme to provide help for victims of domestic abuse in the Watford area.
 
Through the Commissioner’s Community Fund (CCF), Victim Support has successfully applied to set up a pilot scheme to support victims of domestic abuse at Watford General Hospital.
 
The Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor, or “IDVA” as they are known, works out of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department and Maternity Ward, and works with health service professionals to identify victims and those at risk.
 
They offer confidential emotional and practical support to patients who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse and the opportunity to learn how to stay safe. At the same time the IDVA can help clients to explore their options to make the abuse stop and to cope and recover from the experience of abuse.
 
IDVAs are recognised nationally as being one of the most effective ways of providing vital individual-focussed emotional, practical, safety planning, access to relevant services to enable victims to cope and recover from the impact of domestic abuse. Experience and research shows that many victims are frightened to come forward and can be reluctant to report what has happened. As a result many experience repeat and recurring abuse before they seek help from the police or other professionals.
 
The IDVA will also work with staff at the hospitals, providing advice and raising awareness of domestic abuse and the signs to look out for.
 
Commissioner Lloyd said: “I am delighted that we have been able to fund this scheme through the CCF. The initial feedback suggests that the Advisor has already been able provide support to people who might not have otherwise sought help had it not been available at the hospital.
 
“The advisor is in the right place to support vulnerable victims who might be faced with going back into an abusive relationship after receiving hospital treatment, with no support, help or advice on how to change their situation.”
 
Jackie Apps, Specialist Services Manager for Victim Support, said: “This additional service provides much needed advice and support to high risk victims of domestic abuse in a place of safety.
 
“Having a presence in a hospital has a two-fold benefit. Not only can the Adviser offer help directly to our clients who are or have experienced domestic abuse, but they will also give guidance to staff on identifying and supporting victims of abuse to hospital staff and professionals.”
 
The CCF is now open again for its fourth round of applications, with £125,000 available for individuals, community groups or businesses to apply for to fund their schemes that support the priorities set out in David Lloyd’s Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire, Everybody’s Business.
 
The Commissioner has also made funding available from the Ministry Of Justice Victims Fund to support the delivery of local services to help victims of crime cope and recover from their ordeal.
 
Some £90,000 has been allocated to victims’ services in Hertfordshire by the Commissioner to date and it is intended that funding for local initiatives will continue into 2015.
 
The closing date for the current round of applications is September 30. Further information is available at http://hertscommissioner.org/my_plan/community_fund.aspx
 
You can contact Commissioner Lloyd’s office on 01707 806100 or by post: 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 4GZ.