Access to the VAWG Service Transformation Fund and request for funding

Reference code: 
PCD 153
Date signed: 
23 February 2017
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Service Transformation Fund is a £15 million, three-year national fund to aid, promote and embed the best local practice and ensure that early intervention and prevention become the norm. The crimes associated with this area of work are disproportionately gendered, but the resulting service will be beneficial to all victims of these crimes.

MOPAC seeks permission to apply to the Fund for 2 areas of activity namely a London wide VAWG campaign and a London sexual violence triage pilot. 
 

Recommendation

That the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is asked to:

1.    Approve MOPAC’s formal application to the VAWG Service Transformation Fund to part resource two bids; 
•    A London wide VAWG Campaign - A city-wide long term prevention strategy using media campaigns and events £621,000 over 3 years 
•    A London sexual violence triage pilot, £1,650,000 over three years - create access for all to services (based on the Essex Navigator model) and provide advocacy and intensive support to vulnerable survivors with multiple and complex needs through nine specialist ISVAs
 

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    In March 2016 the Government published its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which set out its programme of reform, supported by funding of £80m, to make tackling these crimes everybody’s business, ensure victims get the support they need, and bring more perpetrators to justice. 

1.2.    From 2017/18, this £80m funding will support the launch of a £15million, three-year national VAWG Service Transformation Fund (VAWG STF) to aid, promote and embed the best local practice and ensure that early intervention and prevention become the norm. 

1.3.    The aim is to support vital community-based services through funding local programmes which complement and add to existing services, encouraging better collaboration and new, joined-up approaches between PCCs, local authorities and health commissioners, and with specialist VAWG service providers. These programmes should be based on needs assessment evidence, and incorporate early intervention; establishing and embedding the best ways to help victims and their families; and taking steps to reduce the prevalence of these crimes.

1.4.    The VAWG STF is intended to support VAWG programmes and approaches to make a systemic change to local service provision to help deliver against the New National Statement of Expectations .

1.5.    Grants will be awarded to local commissioners (PCCs, local authorities or health commissioners) across England and Wales. The Home Office strongly encourage consortium bids and expect that most bids will geographically cover at least one commissioning area, and a range of services. 

1.6.    Successful bids’ aims must contribute to the achievement of the overall outcomes of the fund, in line with the NSE. They will; 
•    display collaborative leadership and partnership working 
•    provide a service which would not otherwise have been provided without this funding 
•    show how they will incorporate monitoring and evaluation into their project. 

1.7.    Successful projects will be expected to produce and disseminate shared learning materials.

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1    MOPAC and NHS England jointly commissioned two needs assessments into sexual violence and child sexual exploitation designed to better understand the scale of these issues, the service response, and the extent to which this response provided the range of support needed by victims and survivors to cope and recover. The needs assessments were also informed by the Dame Elish Angiolini “Report of the Independent Review into the investigation and prosecution of rape in London” (April 2015).

2.2    The applications to the VAWG STF are firmly based on the recent London Sexual Violence Needs Assessment 2016 which provides an evidential framework of the challenges London is facing and the gaps in service provision that must be addressed.

2.3    The MOPAC/NHSE London Sexual Violence Needs assessment 2016, surveyed survivors and indicated that more than two thirds of victims of sexual violence had very limited awareness of the range of services at the time that they first sought assistance and more than half reported that they found it difficult to access support. There is limited public awareness of the potential sources of support for those who have experienced sexual violence and no “google-optimised” search directing individuals to a single point of information and access. 

2.4    To combat this, MOPAC and partners (statutory and VCS) would like to trial what would be a well publicised process whereby navigators within the Triage pilot are used to help support victims through the many services across London. The navigators will be the first point of contact for women and girls (predominantly, though we know these crimes affect men and boys too) to enable them to access specialist services and information.  They will hold each ‘case’ until they are able to refer onto the most appropriate service. The Triage model will emphasise the importance of advocacy with the uplift of these specialist ISVAs used to support victims with complex needs and vulnerabilities, ensuing that they get effective support within the criminal justice process and wider service provision. Victim vulnerabilities make it harder to achieve successful prosecutions (should victims/survivors choose to pursue the criminal justice route) and for individuals to cope and recover. The London Triage pilot will be properly evaluated from implementation to the end of the funding period. The specialist ISVAs will become part of that tapestry of provision. This is firmly aligned with our partnership plans based on the Sexual Violence Needs Assessment and will contribute to the development of an integrated model for London.

2.5    Despite the substantial investment that the Mayor has made in VAWG provision, VAWG services continue to experience an exponential increase in demand and it has become even more urgent for London to ensure that partners act to prevent VAWG happening in the first place. MOPAC and the Mayor believe that VAWG is not natural or inevitable and that until we commit to pushing forward with societal change, new and repeat victims will continue to experience harm. To that end, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, MOPAC and partners wish to develop a Pan London VAWG Campaign which will span 3 years. This long term approach means that every evaluation feeds into future campaigns allowing partners to target more ambitious outcomes over time. The MOPAC/NHSE London Sexual Violence Needs assessment 2016, found that prevention work is largely unfunded and dependent upon provider services having the capacity and resource to respond to requests. Prevention interventions do not focus on building resilience in most at risk communities or addressing the causes of increased vulnerability to sexual violence. This only adds to the urgency of this piece of work.

2.6    The application to the fund and the request for the release of MOPAC funds for these areas of work are completely aligned to the current commitments in the draft police and crime plan (PCP), namely: 
•    Lead a public campaign against the prevalence of violence, abuse and harassment of women and girls.
•    Work with partner agencies to develop a new sexual violence service model which would better meet the needs of victims and survivors.
•    Review the provision and funding of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors.

2.7    The timing of these two requests, before the publication of the PCP, is dictated by the Home Office deadline of 1 March for the completion of all online applications to the VAWG STF. The initial expressions of interest (EoIs) made to the Home Office have been attached for information. It’s important to note that the online applications, although slightly lengthier, have not deviated from the core elements of the EoI. Further thought has led the partnership to ask for another £210,000 to help with development (website, one number, publicity etc) and training costs for the Navigators and specialist ISVAs. This has taken the London Triage pilot bid from £1,440,000 stated in the EoI to £1,650,000 in the final application. 

2.8    Both strands of activity have solid delivery mechanisms through the voluntary sector with support from wider statutory partners. The voluntary sector has been consulted before the submission of the EoI and are fully supportive of both applications.

3.    Financial Comments

3.1    The funding breaks down approximately as follows:

London Campaign

Source of £

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

MOPAC

£50,000

£60,000

£40,000

VAWG STF

£240,000

£181,000

£206,000

Total per year

£290,000

£241,000

£246,000

Triage model

Source of £

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

MOPAC

£70,000

£120,000

£110,000

VAWG STF

£ 490,000

£610,000

£550,000

Total per year

£560,000

£730,000

£660,000

4.    Legal Comments

4.1    Under Section 9 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, MOPAC may make a Crime and Disorder Reduction Grant to any person if they are of the opinion that it will secure, or contribute to securing crime and disorder reduction with the metropolitan police district.

5.    Equality Comments

5.1.    The MOPAC and NHSE Sexual Violence Needs Assesment 2016 repeatedly raised the links between sexual violence and vulnerability. Individuals that experience sexual violence need longer term support, with many needing lifetime support to live with their trauma. There are a range of vulnerabilities that increase the risk of sexual assault. The London Triage model and specialist ISVAs will support victims/survivors of sexual violence through phased interventions and work with individuals who are dealing with layered issues such as mental health, race, gender and disability.

5.2.    Prevention of sexual violence and other forms of VAWG is key.  There is an absence of focus on building resilience in most at risk communities or addressing the causes of increased vulnerability to sexual violence and other forms of VAWG. Much of the patchy preventative work that exists is unfunded and dependent upon provider services responding to requests from third parties. As such, it is increasingly vulnerable to both increases in case load and increasing complexity of case loads which reduces the capacity of providers to respond to such requests.
5.3.    The prevention of VAWG lacks a strategic approach to reduce the overall prevalence of sexual violence or enhance the resilience of those most vulnerable to violence.  The London VAWG campaign will be far reaching in impact and will seek to start those difficult conversations that will lead to societal change.

6.    Background/supporting papers

Two Expressions of Interest