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Ministry of Defence tackles domestic violence with funding boost

Spurgeons Children’s Charity and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced a partnership to tackle domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in the armed forces for the first time.

The MOD has awarded Spurgeons £268,000 to establish and run the first ever therapeutic programme in the county for armed forces’ families affected by the issue.

Through working with victims and perpetrators, the Spurgeons’ Recovering Together project aims to reduce instances of DVA and to create a safe environment for children to grow up in. The national charity, which has over 150 years’ experience of working with vulnerable children and families; believes early intervention is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcomes. Some of the service will be delivered in partnership with Splitz support service.

Ross Hendry, Spurgeons’ Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the Army Welfare Service and local partners Splitz. Spurgeons has worked with 1500 armed forces families – half of its total service user base – and 50% of those have experienced domestic abuse. We know it takes an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before the victim picks up the courage to report it to police. But victims will tell someone they trust much sooner, like a Domestic Abuse Worker. Our programme will reach out to families at the earliest signs of abuse, and increase the chance of a positive outcome.”

Lucy Thorne, Spurgeons’ Children’s Services Manager said: “Through our work on the frontline we know too many children are experiencing violent and unhappy homes. The impact domestic violence and abuse has on children can be devastating.

It is possible that the level of domestic violence and abuse among military personnel is the same as the general population, however there is some evidence to suggest that military families experience more serious and severe violence.”

A spokesperson for the Army Welfare Service said: “The Personal Support Pillar of the Army Welfare Service in Tidworth is delighted to be involved in the Recovering Together Project. We have long enjoyed an excellent working relationship with both Splitz and Spurgeons and are very excited to have this opportunity to work together on an initiative that will benefit service personnel and their families.”

Recovering Together will provide a safe environment to discuss DVA in confidence and will address a number of the stresses linked to DVA such as fear of speaking out, damage to children and the individual stresses for service families.

The project is funded by the Covenant Fund as part of the Armed Forces Covenant. Recovering Together will save the public purse a minimum of £161,623 over the two year life time of the pilot service.