18:31 Wednesday 04 December 2013

Concern for future of domestic abuse services

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

HUNDREDS of domestic abuse victims face being left without vital support if funding to services in South Derbyshire dries up, it is feared.

Concerns have been raised over the futures of the district’s main providers of support which receive the majority of their funding through Derbyshire County Council on a year-to-year basis.

The agreement means that services can never be sure of a long-term future, and with looming Derbyshire County Council cuts set to impact upon services reliant on funding, there are fears the future of domestic violence support centres could be under threat.

The district’s main provider, Next Step, based in Swadlincote, served more than 300 people between April 2012 and March 2013, and South Derbyshire District Council has raised concerns about how these people would be supported if the services were unable to continue.

After its future was safeguarded at the eleventh hour earlier this year, bosses at Next Step hoped to move towards becoming more self-sustainable, but it is again surrounded by uncertainty heading into 2014.

The service said it was working on applying for funding from grant providers and looking at where it could reduce costs.

A South Derbyshire District Council report highlighting the issue with members said: “There is currently a diverse range of services available for victims living in the district. Next Step currently run several training programmes and use several volunteers for their support work.

“If their long-term future is not secured it would have a major detrimental impact on the domestic abuse provision available to the local community. In the long-term the future of many of these agencies is uncertain as much of the funding is provided by the county council. Also, suitable funding streams are difficult to obtain for more than a year at a time and therefore any long-term security is unlikely.”

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