Changing Lives has been awarded funding from five separate Police and Crime Commissioners across the North of England, as part of the Ministry of Justice’s Covid-19 Extraordinary Funding for charities supporting vulnerable people including victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse. The fund is part of the government’s £76 million package which has been allocated to Police and Crime Commissioners across the UK.

Funding has been provided from Cheshire, North Yorkshire, Newcastle, Durham, and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioners to support a number of specialist support services in Domestic abuse and sexual violence.

In Cheshire, £47,000 has been provided to support an additional three Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) posts, which provide emotional and practical support to people fleeing domestic abuse. This is to support the growing demand for domestic abuse services during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, which is expected to continue as lockdown is lifted.

Merseyside Police and Crime Commission have provided £9.5k to fund an outreach worker to support the existing Independent Sexual Advisor role, as this post has been heavily utilised to support all street sex workers during the pandemic, and bridging the gap where other services had closed down.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner has provided funding for Net-Reach support as part of Changing Lives’ GAP and MAP projects, which support people involved in Sex Work, Survival Sex, and those exposed or vulnerable to Sexual Exploitation. The service operates on various online platforms and its online support has seen a huge increase in demand since the start of the lock-down.  The grant funding has employed a net-reach worker with the aim to dedicate time to expand the reach of services providing emotional and practical support and exit routes out of sex work if desired.

The funding from Durham Police and Crime Commission will support Changing Lives close work with prison staff and with women in its supported accommodation project Auckland House in County Durham where women have made disclosure of sexual exploitation.

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