People within the LGBT community who suffer from Domestic Abuse are now able to gain improved access to support thanks to a grant from the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner.
Funding from Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens’ Community Safety Grant, issued to Safer Bristol Partnership has been awarded to Next Link, working with the Diversity Trust, to improve access to domestic abuse services in the region for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities.
The project will focus on the barriers to domestic abuse services experienced by LGB and Trans communities across Bristol and Avon and Somerset (including Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire). The two organisations will work together to improve access to services and the programme includes; a review of existing services, staff training, and research and the design of a campaign to increase reporting and referrals.
Missing Link has been supporting women for 30 years by providing high quality services to women with acute or enduring mental health needs in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Next Link Domestic Abuse Services comes under the umbrella of Missing Link and provides specialised support to victims of domestic abuse in Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire. SAFE Link provides support to victims of rape and sexual assault across the Avon and Somerset police force area.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I fully support the work of Next Link and the Diversity Trust in raising awareness of domestic abuse particularly amongst LGB and Trans communities. I would advise anyone that is affected by this crime not to endure this suffering alone and by coming forward you will also be helping others who have not yet found the confidence to report. If you are a victim of domestic abuse the police and agencies such as Next Link and the Diversity Trust are there to help you, so please come forward.”
“The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, alongside the Safer Bristol Partnership is pleased to be funding this project aimed at improving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities’ experience of accessing domestic violence and abuse services. No victim should feel that they can’t access support, or that support services aren’t able to meet their needs. We’re certain that the progress that will be made as a result of this project will ensure key improvements in services, and encourage more victims from these communities to seek help.” the commissioner stated.
Pommy Harmar, Senior Manager of Next Link Domestic Abuse Services said, “There were over 7,000 recorded incidents of Domestic Abuse last year in Bristol and we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that two-thirds of incidents go unreported. It is deeply disturbing that the number who come forward from LGB and Trans communities is significantly lower and we want to do everything we can to improve access to ours and other services across the region. We are privileged to be working with the Diversity Trust and together with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner we are confident that we will develop significant new approaches”
Berkeley Wilde, Director of the Diversity Trust said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners at Next Link to improve access to domestic abuse services for LGB and Trans communities throughout the region.”
“We know from our own research across the region, and from research published throughout the UK, LGB and Trans people are disproportionally affected by abuse and are less likely to report abuse. We want to help to improve access to services so that LGB and Trans people feel more confident to report abuse. If you would like to take part in the programme, or find out more, please do get in contact.”