Victims of stalking and harassment in Middlesbrough now have access to two dedicated support workers, in a bid to make the area’s streets safer for women and girls
Funding secured by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) in partnership with Middlesbrough Council has covered the cost of a specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA.)
The IDVA, based at Middlesbrough charity My Sister’s Place (MSP,) focusses on victims subjected to persistent harassment and those, who have an established relationship with their stalker.
The specialist worker supports victims as well as raises awareness among their wider circle of friends, family and colleagues of how they can help protect them.
The same funding –the Home Office’s Safer Streets 3 – also pays for a Victim Support Officer with the Victim Care and Advice Service.
The officer helps victims of harassment, stalking and sexual assault, who do not currently access specialist support services.
Both roles will raise awareness of Stalking Protection Orders and other measures which can be used to protect vulnerable women and girls.
Lesley Storey, Chief Executive Officer of My Sister’s Place, said: “The most important aspect of this specialist role is that it will raise awareness of what stalking is and what risks it presents to the victims.”
Mainly effects women
Denise Holian, the OPCC’s Safer Streets 3 Project Manager, said: “Stalking causes immense distress to its victims – most of whom are women.
“It is more important than ever that these vital roles provide support, advice and ultimately protection for some of the most vulnerable people in Middlesbrough.”
Agencies will work closely with neighbourhood policing to make sure help is targeted at those in most need in the Central and Newport areas of Middlesbrough.
Victims can be referred to the two agencies by police or they go direct to either MSP or VCAS for help.
To contact MSP, go to: My Sisters Place – Get In Touch
To contact VCAS, go to: Victim Care & Advice Service
Safer Streets 3 aims to address violence against women and girls (VAWG.) in public spaces.
The OPCC in partnership with Middlesbrough Council was awarded £381,771, after a successful bid to the £23.5m Government funding stream.
Bid Partners included Teesside University and charities Arch, My Sister’s Place, Crimestoppers and Safer Communities.