Victims of domestic abuse will benefit from Ministry of Justice funding in Wiltshire and Swindon following a successful bid by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).

The funding of £367,524 over two years, will fund six Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) roles to support victims across the Force area. The specialisms of the roles will include male victims and children and young people.

Working alongside local authorities, local partners and victim services commissioned by the OPCC, the IDVAs will provide practical and emotional support and advocacy for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

OPCC Victims and Vulnerability Commissioning Manager Maria Milton said: “This additional funding announcement is very welcome and will help to alleviate some of the additional pressures put on these support services and ensure that victims and survivors are able to access the help and support they need.

“Covid-19 has had a significant effect on all victims, and that's been reflected in the ongoing good work by charities and organisations across our county.

“They've worked and continue to work to ensure additional support to victims of domestic abuse at this unprecedented time.”

Three posts will be funded in Swindon, delivered by Swindon Domestic Abuse Services and three posts will be funded in the rest of Wiltshire delivered by Splitz Support services.

Swindon Women’s Aid CEO, Emma Rawlings said “We are really delighted with the funding, the addition of three new IDVA’s will enable us to reach out to so many more victims who might not otherwise come forward; particularly where male victims are concerned, to have an IDVA specialising in abuse against men will help break down the barriers that many men have when disclosing their abuse.

“The addition of a new member to our Children and Young Peoples team is incredibly valuable as many children suffer extreme trauma, remain silent, and are often overlooked.”

Splitz Support Services CEO, Claire Marshall said: “Splitz Support Service has always been committed to supporting the whole family and all victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking, whatever their gender or domestic relationship.

“Whilst the majority of victims of abuse are female, this funding is an important step in recognizing that men are victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence too and need help and support.

“We are delighted this funding will help us complement our work with male victims with the recruitment of an additional specialist worker who will support men across Wiltshire who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence.

“We know that men and boys who experience abuse may face additional barriers to accessing support and we want to reassure male victims that we are here to support them.

“The recruitment of a specialist children’s worker will also support our work with families and children in coping with the traumatic effects of domestic abuse and sexual violence across Wiltshire.”