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VICTIMS of domestic abuse and sexual violence will get extra help from a £500,000 fund set to help local voluntary groups.

Extra funds secured by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness will ensure specialist support reaches victims by helping support services to cope with increased demand and ongoing financial pressures brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.

Supporting victims of domestic abuse trapped at home during the Coronavirus crisis has been a priority across the region. Now, a wide range of charities and organisations are set to benefit from this money. Some have been previously commissioned by the PCC whereas others are newly on board working with the office. All funding will be used to help the vulnerable and those who are most in need across all communities.

Services welcoming this cash boost include Wearside Women in Need, Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services, Streetwise, Community Counselling Co-Operative and Children North East.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We’ve been calling out for this money for victims since lockdown began and I’m beyond pleased that we are now in a position to get it out there and help some of the brilliant support services that need it the most.

“Sadly, for many victims lockdown has made them more vulnerable. The struggle and fear for those trapped at home with their abuser is very real and finding those who are suffering and reaching out to them with the right support can be difficult too. So this funding will help keep some of our valuable support services up and running, helping them to keep on doing all they can – supporting people and saving them from some of the worst experiences imaginable.

“Safe spaces, helplines, web chats – they can all be such an important lifeline. We need to be doing everything possible to make sure victims don’t feel alone, providing them with support and a ray of hope so they know they can escape from the abuse and recover from their experience.”

She added: “I hope this funding is the start of things to come. Supporting those suffering domestic abuse and sexual violence is absolutely crucial but it can’t stop there, there are many other victims who are getting caught up in this this health crisis who can’t get forgotten too. Some young people are being criminally exploited, some old people being subjected to scams – the list goes on. We need to ensure specialist support reaches all our vulnerable victims of crime and I will keep calling on the Government to help fund support in other areas too.”

Michele Deans, Children North East Operations Director, highlighted the importance of this funding after being confirmed as one of the successful beneficiaries of the funding. She said: “We know that there has been an increase in incidents of domestic abuse during this pandemic which is why this funding from the PCC is so welcome and also so essential. It will enable us to increase the range of help we offer to those affected by violence in the home, supporting those affected to find a lifeline for themselves and their children”

The money has been made available through the Ministry of Justice’s Extraordinary Covid-19 Fund.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can report an incident by ringing 101 or visiting www.northumbria.pnn.police.uk. Also in a non-emergency situation you can text the police on 07786 200814.

In an emergency, always call 999. If you dial 999 and are unable to speak, the emergency operator will ask you to dial 55 and to follow their instruction to quickly put you in touch with police.

Help is also available from a range of local support services detailed here.

More information on the fund can be found at www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/police-crime-plan/commissioning-services-grants/


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Northumbria Police, alongside Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness and North Tyneside Council, have praised the effort of officers and condemned the actions of a minority, following anti-social behaviour and disorder in the Tynemouth and Cullercoats area.

Yesterday (Thursday), officers were deployed after a number of reports claiming beach-goers were excessively drinking, fighting and causing general disorder.

Enquiries led to the arrest of eight males aged between 15 and 28, most on suspicion of drunk and disorderly or breach of the peace offences.

Now Superintendent Craig Metcalfe, of Northumbria Police, has commended the response by officers and warns others looking to cause disorder will face arrest.

Supt Metcalfe said: “The onset of hot weather, along with the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions, has resulted in an increase of visitors to our coastal areas.

“However, a small minority have disrupted the fun for others by excessively drinking and fighting with one another.

“The response by officers was fantastic, they acted quickly and their swift enquiries led to the arrest of eight suspects.

“Most residents and visitors who come to our award-winning coastline are respectful and here to enjoy time with their friends and family. Be warned that we will act swiftly and robustly on anyone looking to disrupt that.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “The majority of people seeing the scenes from Tynemouth yesterday have, like me, been left feeling angry and let down. A small, senseless minority have abused the easing of some restrictions, descended on our beaches in large groups and caused unwelcome trouble that spoils things for everyone else.

“I’m pleased the quick response from our officers broke up the disorder and I hope these arrests spell out loud and clear that firm action will be taken against those responsible.”

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “I was extremely disappointed to hear about the behaviour of some at our coast yesterday.

“This was a small minority, but they need to understand their actions cause real concern for our visitors and residents. Our staff are working harder than ever before to keep our award-winning coastline clean and tidy, and a safe place to visit. It simply isn’t acceptable.”

Councillor Carole Burdis, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “I’m proud of the role our teams have played in dealing with the disorder, under very challenging conditions. We have stepped up our patrols and will continue to closely monitor the coast in the coming days and weeks.”

Of those arrested one man, 20, has been cautioned the rest currently remain in police custody.

Anyone who wants to report anti-social behaviour can do so on the ‘Report an Incident’ section of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.


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Phase 1 of the Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioners Violence Reduction Unit concludes at this months end, and phase 2 hopes to build on the hard work and positive change across the force area seen to date.

 Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, launched her Violence Reduction Unit 6 months ago with the objective of ‘improving lives to prevent crime’, and results so far indicate a positive response to the Commissioners vision – a reduction in knife enabled serious violence since the previous year of 18%.

Despite the challenges currently facing the charity and voluntary sector, the VRU continues to operate, ensuring suitable support is available to those who need it – both individuals and organisations.

Kim said: “We have obviously had to adapt to a new way of working during these challenging times, but we stand by our commitment to support the most vulnerable in any way that we can. The lockdown has caused a change in crime patterns and we are responding to this – we will continue to work with providers to ensure the support required is accessible to all.”

Since launching the unit, funding provided has enabled 32 organisations to directly impact over 3700 young people and adults through intervention work with the aim of improving lives to prevent crime.

The PCC pledged to support those most vulnerable and committed £930,000 to fund local services and organisations who would provide a range of intervention and outreach work across the Northumbria area.

Kim said: “When I set up my Violence Reduction Unit I outlined the need for organisations to come together to tackle the effects austerity has had on our society and our support networks, 6 months later and we are starting to see positive signs in response to our work.”

“Through the hard work of my office, Northumbria Police, and the organisations we are working with; thousands of young people have been educated through direct interventions in school and the community, we have developed our insight and understanding on this topic and we are in a stronger position now to expand our work and directly impact even more individuals.”

“Despite the situation we find ourselves in currently, we will build on these early successes and continue to improve lives to prevent crime as we have so far.”

Four key areas were identified that the Commissioner vowed to support; early intervention, youth diversion, mental health, and drugs, alcohol and homelessness. The response to tackling these issues has seen overwhelming support from the police, local authorities and other key partners – an approach which has delighted the PCC.

Kim said: “We know that we cannot solve this issue alone, we need people to come together and use our joined resources to provide a clear support pathway for those most vulnerable.”

“The support structure that was once there for young people is no more due to the cuts the public sector has seen over the years. We are looking to reverse the effects of this, but it is going to take time.”

All six local authorities have benefitted from the funding provided by the PCC, with a wide range of interventions on offer to their communities, including; school based awareness raising sessions, sport themed outreach work, drop in sessions for young people, early years support for families, and support for military veterans with housing and employment.

The Violence Reduction Unit will move into phase 2 post March 2020 following confirmation from the Home Office for another 12 months funding. To follow the work of the VRU, please visit https://facebook.com/northumbriavru.


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Reoffending rates amongst vulnerable young people across Northumbria are falling after funding from the PCC launched the Out of Court Disposal programme – a new way of diverting young people away from a life crime, and instead given high quality mentoring and support.

Despite only running for 6 months, the initial impact is clear – in North Tyneside alone, only 1 of the 37 participants engaged through this programme has went on to become an entrant into the Criminal Justice System. Taking an individual and values based approach is key to the long term success of this project, and one the PCC is keen to encourage.

Kim said: “Through this new way of dealing with offending, and understanding what has happened in that young person’s life that may have led to this, bespoke individual support can be provided by a range of professionals. It is the exact sort of work that will lead to improving lives to prevent crime.”

The project, which encourages the use of the Out of Court Disposals, allows the Youth Justice Services to work with the individuals involved to build a programme of mentoring and support alongside services including; health, education, employment and other third sector organisations.

Northumberland Youth Justice Service, which has seen a 44% reduction in violence against the person offences (Jan – Mar 2018/19 vs 2019/20), has praised the collaborative approach and committed to this way of supporting young people past the funded period.

Cllr Wayne Daley, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland Youth Justice Service has always been passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people, their families and their communities.  This commitment to making a difference informed a new collaborative approach, with Northumberland YJS being a key driver in the development and introduction of the new Out Of Court Disposal Panel right across the Northumbria Police Force area.

 “The new initiative enables the Youth Justice Services to support young people at the earliest opportunity with a swift response to identified problems and has proven to be very successful in reducing further offending, whilst providing support and direction to the young people and their families.”

By understanding what adversity in this young person’s life may have led to this event, the PCC aims to ensure reoffending continues to decrease, along with the number of young people entering the Criminal Justice system for the first time.

Kim said: “By understanding past circumstances and providing tailored support around that, we hope we can have a long term impact on these young people. The work being delivered will only be a success if it prevents these individuals from falling back into crime and offending once their direct support concludes.”

“This approach will not only benefit those involved, but the families of those individuals, the communities in which they live, and also the operational demands on the force. By supporting those who can quickly become repeat offenders at the first opportunity, the burden on the force to deal with these individuals repeatedly over time is removed.”

Since the Out of Court Disposal option commenced, North Tyneside Youth Justice Service have recorded a 63% reduction in first time entrants, clear signs that the approach is working and supporting those involved. Inspector Rob Bosson, who has played a key role in developing this approach in Northumbria, praised the work and highlighted the wider impact on communities and operational demands of the force.

Inspector Bosson said: “The development of this approach highlights the commitment of Northumbria Police and our partners to deliver meaningful interventions which change mindsets and support young people.

“We know from past experience that criminalisation of young people adds to the prospect of further criminality.

“With intervention and diversion work, we have a chance to change that person’s outlook to prevent reoffending and entry into the criminal justice system.

“The Youth Justice Services in the area have been instrumental in the delivery of this project and our strong partnership working is making a real difference to people’s lives.

“This approach is already leading to better outcomes for young people and in the long-term will hopefully see a reduction in demand across all services – all of which will ultimately benefit the communities we serve and are proud to be a part of.”

Given the success and impact of the results during the funded period, the Youth Justice Services have committed to continuing to use the Out of Court Disposal option where appropriate, and work with the PCC and Northumbria Police to reduce reoffending and first time entry.


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More than 1,000 students have been educated on the chilling impact of knife crime after a phenomenal artwork came to the region.

The Knife Angel departs the region tomorrow, following a month long stay in Gateshead that has seen impactful workshops delivered to nearly 40 schools, youth groups and colleges. Through the workshops, more than 1,000 students have heard Samantha’s story and listened to the lasting damage suffered by the Madgin family following the horrifying murder of 18-year-old Samantha in 2007.

Samantha’s Legacy, ran by Alison & Carly Madgin, the mother and sister of Samantha, have been present at the Angel every day since its arrival on 30th January, delivering the workshops, engaging with visitors to the monument, and ensuring Samantha’s story is heard far and wide.

The month long stay, supported by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police, Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils has seen high engagement and foot fall since its arrival.

Carly said: “This month has been overwhelming. The reaction and support we have received has been incredible. While there has been many tears throughout the month, I know Samantha will be looking down on us, smiling and proud of the work we are doing.

“Everyone we have engaged has been so respectful – the feedback following our sessions has been moving and emotional, but it’s important young people hear our story and learn from it.”

The workshops delivered by the family are hard-hitting, detailing the horrific events that led to the murder of Samantha Madgin, and the effects it had on the family and still has to the day.

Students attending the workshops are also informed on the wider legal ramifications of carrying a knife by Northumbria Police and the services available to young people who may need help and support in relation to this issue.

Alison, whose daughter had only given birth 68 days before being losing her life, spoke emotionally about the work the charity has delivered this month and the impact they hope to have had.

She said: “I am extremely passionate about supporting young people. When we campaigned for the Knife Angel to come to the North East, we wanted to use it to reach young people and help them understand the impact knife crime can have.

“Through our sessions, even if we have changed just one person’s thoughts on carrying a knife, then it has been a success. No family should have to suffer like we have.

“Seeing the region come together this month, supporting our message and sharing Samantha’s story has been amazing. The opening ceremony, where we had families who had lost someone to a knife share their heartbreak, should be enough to deter anyone from carrying.”

 The visit of the Knife Angel, a monument made of 100,000 knives, has been supported by a range of organisations, including the Police & Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

Kim said: “I am so proud of Alison and Carly, and the work they have put in this month. One victim of knife crime is one too many, and understanding what causes people to think they have to carry a knife is critical to tackling the issue. We want to get in there and prevent crime tacking place, giving everyone in the region the best chance in life.

“No family should have to suffer as the Madgins have, and through my Violence Reduction Unit, we are working hard to ensure that young people are given a chance to do something with their life. That means finding them alternatives to crime and targeted work on those who are already caught up in violence and gang culture. If we support young people we can reduce crime and save lives. “

The civic departure of the Knife Angel will take place at 5pm on Thursday 28th February at its location on Performance Square outside Sage Gateshead. It will then depart the region the following day and bring to an end its stay in the North East.


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Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has revealed the life-changing organisations which will benefit from nearly £1m in Violence Reduction Unit funding.

The specialist Violence Reduction Unit was set up earlier this year by the police commissioner in a bid to ensure Northumbria remains a safe region, with a team dedicated to preventing violence among at risk teenagers and adults.

30 organisations across the Northumbria area have been awarded a share of £930,000 as part of joint efforts to reduce violent crime, ensuring much needed investment in vital youth and community services suffering after ten years of austerity.

The chosen projects will focus on ensuring that the violent crime seen in other cities does not become a reality in the North East. The Police Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit will at first focus on early intervention, youth diversion, mental health, and drugs, alcohol & homelessness.

Projects benefiting from the funding include:

  • The Foundation of Light’s Kicks Town scheme, using sport to give young people worthwhile activities.
  • Increasing the reach of the YOLO project across the Northumbria area. The scheme works with 8-14 year-olds who are at risk of slipping into a life of crime and prevents them from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, knife crime and serious youth violence.
  • Changing Lives’ street support officers, helping address the issued which lead people to begging and becoming at risk of being a victim or perpetrator of serious violence.
  • A Newcastle United Foundation scheme dedicated to helping young people avoid violent behaviour

The Violence Reduction Unit will build on the techniques first seen on the streets of Glasgow, where police, councils, the NHS and charities worked with communities to treat violence as a public health emergency. This hugely successful approach saw at risk people targeted early in order to prevent crime, and is credited with a 50% reduction in some violent offending.

The 30 projects receiving funding will commit to this  public health approach to crime reduction, working  with Northumbria Police, six local authorities, health, education, and other service providers to better understand the root causes of violent crime.

Launching the VRU funding, Kim McGuinness said: “By establishing a Violence Reduction Unit we are saying loud and clear, we will not accept rising crime in our region. Northumbria is not a violent place, it’s safe and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep it that way.

“I’m incredibly proud that so many local organisations, from charities to housing providers, have quickly come together with local councils and our NHS and committed to the goal of preventing crime before it happens. They are making the changes necessary in our region to give people opportunities, improve lives and divert people from crime.

“Violent crime is a symptom of inequality, and like a contagious disease it spreads if we don’t treat it. By taking urgent measures now we can prevent this. Ten years of austerity has shown that when you cut public services such as youth services, Sure Start and help for those with addiction or mental health needs, crime rises.

“The funding I have provided will help people in the short term, but this is something we need the government to commit to long term. We need a long term fix to solve deep-rooted issues.”

Funding for the Violence Reduction Unit was secured by the Police Commissioner from the Home Office. At present funding is only in place until March 2020, and the Commissioner has called on all political parties to commit to providing a dedicated interventions fund from next year onwards.

The Commissioner’s VRU has the long term vision of reducing violence by providing a clear support route for individuals and families. Its success will depend on organisations coming together to make tackling violence everyone’s problem. As part of that approach the Commissioner will work with a strategic board to ensure dedicated organisations from across the region can come together to share their expertise and resources.


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