Vital support service for victims of domestic violence saved

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 August 2018

Weston Soroptimists with Tara Newley Arkle and Dame Joan Collins raising awarenes about domestic violence.

Weston Soroptimists with Tara Newley Arkle and Dame Joan Collins raising awarenes about domestic violence.

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A vital domestic abuse service which helps victims in North Somerset has been saved.

North Somerset Council has teamed up with Liverty to continue to deliver the service which provides accommodation, training and support to women and children who have been affected by domestic violence.

In April, The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) ended its contract leaving North Somerset Council just 45 days to find an alternative provider.

More: Association drops domestic abuse support due to financial constraints.

SAHA is the parent company of Gemini Services, and campaigners slated the association’s actions which they said could put people’s lives at risk if the service folded.

The service has now been saved, thanks to North Somerset and Liverty housing association.

Mel Thomson, from Liverty, said: “I couldn’t be more pleased that, as an organisation, we can be agile enough to help out our commissioning partners in continuing this vital service by transferring the staff and the service across to us.

“Gemini has been active in North Somerset for a number of years, providing much needed support and by Liverty acting quickly, this excellent service can continue.”

Liverty has been commissioned to deliver the Gemini Service which provides safety support and essential pattern changing training to victims. It also provides case management for individuals needing refuge accommodation.

Liverty has agreed to provide the service until March 2020 – saving 10 jobs – and it will continue to work with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and North Somerset Safeguarding Boards to support families impacted by domestic abuse.

Louise Branch, domestic abuse co-ordinator at North Somerset Council, said: “Service users of Gemini were adamant they wanted the excellent support they were receiving to continue and so the council is delighted Liverty is able and willing to take over the service.

“As always, we’d like to thank service users for their positive feedback and the Gemini staff team for their dedication to this important work.”

The service started on August 1 and comprises three elements – supporting high risk victims, providing outreach for people of medium risk and training programmes for victims.

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