This year, more than any other, it has been particularly important to support causes and projects that have been affected by the pandemic.
Charities relying on donations have seen their income plummet. Organisations providing support for those at risk have been inundated with cries for help. It was an inevitable side-effect of lockdown that some people at risk would be confined with those most likely to cause them harm.
I’m very proud to be taking part in this year’s Elf Virtual Run/Walk to raise funds to help those diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. It is a great cause, sadly far too close to many of our hearts. If anyone feels like sponsoring me on my 5K sprint I would be really delighted to hear from you.
This week marked the end of the 16 days of action against domestic abuse. The restrictions of the pandemic have seen demand from victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence spiral since the start of the health crisis, with victims forced to spend more time at home alone with their abusers.
In a bid to help those organisations providing support boost their capacity, my office has secured more than £700k in funding from the Home Office and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) this year to help support charities step up their services to meet demand during the pandemic. In addition, I also allocated almost £104k from my own funds to expand services and ensure specialist recovery services are available for vulnerable men and women who need them during 2020-21.
It is shocking that this will never be enough. This type of crime isn’t called hidden for nothing. But I cannot imagine the horror those at risk felt when lockdown was announced.
In response, organisations have developed new ‘online’ platforms of support and to ensure survivors and victims can continue to access emotional and practical help despite the national restrictions.
Abuse of any kind leaves deep emotional scars whether it is psychological, physical or sexual and unravelling and healing from these wounds is a long and immensely difficult process.
It is absolutely critical there are people there, when needed, to help victims take those initial steps to freedom and by freedom I mean not only escaping a violent partner but also freedom from their emotional distress and trauma.
I’m pleased to see services continually developing and adapting to reach victims and survivors throughout the health crisis, but it is so disappointing that this is necessary. Supporting these individuals and their families is a priority for me and I will continue to fight for the funding and resources necessary to help them.
As we get into the pre-Christmas frenzy, with too much to do, and to little time in which to do it, let’s remember those key words from this year – ‘Be Kind’.
11 December 2020
Posted on Friday 11th December 2020