West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner secured funding, from the Ministry of Justice, for new domestic abuse specialists and sexual violence advocates.
The West Midlands has announced it will be increasing support for people from the LGBT+ community who are victims of domestic abuse and rape.
Simon Foster, West Midland’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PPC), secured funding from the Ministry of Justice to pay for two new domestic abuse specialists.
The move to include the new specialists is part of an inclusive effort to show support for domestic and sexual violence victims.
As a part of this scheme, the newly implemented Independent Domestic Violence Advocates will be two of 33 new experts to be recruited.
Two of the domestic abuse specialists will be specifically allocated to focus on those from the LGBTQ+ community who are at risk at home from in-house violence and abuse.
The £1.4 million recruitment drive by the PCC is in response to the 39% rise in domestic abuse in the last year.
Between 2019-20, there was a staggering 41,532 reported cases of domestic abuse.
These figures continued to rise to 57,653 in 2020-21. While the reason for the uptick in figures can be confirmed, it is believed the increase of abuse was likely driven, in part, due to lockdown as people were in close proximity for long periods of time.
This change of data is also in addition to how data on how domestic abuse has been collected.
The number of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates will increase from 31 to 64.
Alongside the support for domestic violence victims, a number of Independent Sexual Violence Advocates will also be employed to tackle rape and sexual assault in the region.
The majority of the new specialists, across the Independent Domestic Violence Advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates, will be supporting the public and offering support to communities such as LGBTQ+ people, the over 55s and those who are from an ethnic minority background.
Nicky Brennan is the Police and Crime Commissioner’s new Victim’s Commissioner has described these changed as “vital” to ensure public safety.
During the announcement of the rollout, Brennan explained the value of the new funding.
“The home should be a safe place for everyone to live in or work from and no individual should have that taken away from them by somebody who chooses to be abusive,” she said.
Adding: “Whilst we will be supporting far more victims under this expansion programme, the increase in staff will also allow us to focus our support on those from the LGBT+ community who may require tailored help.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to act to combat domestic abuse, whilst recognising there is much more that needs to be done.”
Simon Foster, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, has pledged to do more to support victims of abuse: “Birmingham LGBT has been delivering a specialist culturally competent LGBT IDVA service in Birmingham for the past 6 years.
“Meaning that LGBT victims of domestic violence have access to advocates who understand their experiences and the barriers and risk factors they face
“We are really delighted to receive this funding which will enable us to extend this service provision to LGBT victims throughout the West Midlands”.