CUMBRIA’S Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has secured £600,000 from the Ministry of Justice's sexual violence and domestic abuse fund and has commissioned Victim Support to develop a new service for children and young people affected by domestic abuse in Cumbria.

The Children and Young People Domestic Abuse service is due to start next month and will work with those aged between 8 and 18 who are victims or witnesses of domestic abuse and are living in or have experienced domestic abuse in households assessed as at high risk of harm.

Peter McCall, PCC for Cumbria, said: "Victims come first and this additional funding from the Ministry of Justice will provide a significant and much-needed boost to the support we currently provide to adults and young victims of domestic abuse.

“As every young person's needs, and risks, will vary, this dedicated support will be structured and tailored to their specific situation ensuring that children and young people get the specialist support they need.

“Victims and survivors of domestic abuse can access support whether they report to the police or not and no matter how long ago the incident took place. Help is available, you do not have to suffer in silence.”

Lee Evans, area Manager for Victim Support, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be setting up and running this much needed service for children and young people in Cumbria affected by domestic abuse.

“For too long children and young people have been considered as witnesses rather than victims when living in a household where domestic abuse is present. The harmful impact of this cannot be overstated and affects many different aspects of a child’s life and wellbeing in their formative years.

“A service that provides dedicated support, structured around their needs, will assist them to recover and live a life free from the risk of harm.”

Superintendent Dan St Quintin, head of Cumbria’s child-centred policing teams and the public protection unit, said: “Victim Support’s new dedicated service for young people affected by domestic abuse is a truly welcomed advancement for the Cumbrian community.

“All young people are vulnerable, and trauma such as domestic abuse will affect them in varying degrees. Trauma can have life-changing negative effects on a child.

“In Cumbria, we have undertaken considerable research into the effects of childhood trauma on young people. This has resulted in actions including our force receiving the status of a 'trauma informed force' and the implementation of our dedicated child-centred policing teams, which support young people across Cumbria who are engaging in negative behaviours, often as a result of trauma.

“This vital new service will ensure that those young domestic abuse victims are provided with the tailored support that they need to positively progress with their lives in the community.”

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