Conservative-led Wokingham Borough Council has awarded its domestic abuse support service contract following a robust competition tender process to Cranstoun.
The £1.5million contract starts on 1 July, and will run for five years.
Cllr Bill Soane, executive member with responsibility for domestic abuse, said: “We’re making this significant investment to help protect the extremely vulnerable, both adults and children, in our communities.
Tackling domestic abuse is a top priority. We know it can happen against anyone and anyone can be an abuser.
It has wide ranging effects on both adults and children, including their health and wellbeing, which is why support services are vital.
“I’m delighted Cranstoun has been appointed to work in partnership with us to provide support to all victims of domestic abuse. They have a wealth of experience and will make a huge difference in our borough. Our immediate priority is to ensure the safe and smooth transition of support services and we’re working hard with Cranstoun to ensure there is no disruption to services.
“I’d like to thank current provider Berkshire Women’s Aid who have worked tirelessly to provide critical victim focused services locally, especially over the past 18 months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cranstoun has vast experience of delivering domestic abuse services across the country for victims and their children as well as supporting those who want to break the cycle of abuse and change their behaviour. Whilst working in partnership with domestic abuse charities, Cranstoun developed and delivered the first full perpetrator intervention programme for substance users in the UK, the Men and Masculinities programme, and expanded the scope of their intervention to hold high-risk perpetrators of domestic violence to account, known, as the Drive programme.
Domestic abuse is a priority area for Wokingham Borough Council and in recognition of this and increasing demands on services, funding has been significantly increased.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality, or background. Domestic abuse does not only occur between couples. It can also involve wider family members, including parental abuse by an adolescent or grown child. It can exist between older siblings, or the wider extended family, including elder or ‘honour’-based abuse.
Investing in the domestic abuse support service is vital to ensuring effective support options are in place and available to protect vulnerable residents in line with the council’s aims to enabling safe, strong communities and changing the way Wokingham Borough Council works for its residents.
The new service would be available to all residents including a focus on increasing accessibility for BAME, male, LGBTQ+ and victims who have a disability or are older.
The services commissioned include:
- a helpline for individuals and practitioners
- access to specialist independent domestic abuse advocates
- outreach, children and young people support, group-based programmes
- refuge support
- perpetrator interventions
Wendy Taylor, assistant director of services at Cranstoun, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver the domestic abuse services in the borough of Wokingham. This will include support for victims to access confidential advice and support and perpetrator programmes that tackle the root of abusive behaviour. We believe in empowering people to make positive changes that lead to healthier and safer lives.”
Currently the council is working with the current provider Berkshire Women’s Aid and the new provider Cranston to ensure a smooth transition and mobilisation of the contract and services.