Newcastle City Council have appointed ‘Thirteen Care and Support’ to provide an integrated domestic violence and abuse accommodation and outreach service in the city following a competitive tender process, in accordance with procurement legislation.
Thirteen Care and Support will provide the service in partnership with Newcastle based charity Changing Lives. Thirteen Care and Support is part of the Thirteen Group, working throughout the North East and in North Yorkshire and currently delivering domestic violence and abuse accommodation services in Middlesbrough and Durham.
The new service, which will start in October 2016, will be delivered from purpose built supported accommodation which is currently under construction following additional capital investment of £1.6m by the Council. Through this new facility, we will be able to increase the number of specialist units of refuge accommodation in the city from 11 to 14, one of which is fully DDA compliant. The new self-contained accommodation means that women and their children will have private space to be a family, in mainly two or three bedroomed flats, whilst also having the benefits of access to communal areas including a playroom and garden. The new service will be staffed 24 hours a day, providing a telephone service offering a single point of contact for those who may need advice, signposting to other services or who may need to be admitted into the service.
In commissioning this integrated domestic violence and abuse service, the council is continuing to commit to shielding the most vulnerable people from the impact of public service budget cuts, despite the budget pressures facing the council.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Joyce McCarty, said: “The award of this contract demonstrates our determination to protect and support the most vulnerable despite the pressures we face from government cuts and I am delighted that we will be working with Thirteen Care and Support and Changing Lives. I am very confident that they will provide vulnerable people and their children with help and support that is shaped around their needs.
“In the last year 6,375 incidents of domestic violence or abuse were reported to the police in Newcastle, involving 3,898 victims. These are shocking statistics.
“For many women this represents a major crisis in their lives. A time when they and their children need intensive support and a place of safety so they can get their lives back together.
“We are determined to put the right support services in place and we have listened very carefully to existing service providers and domestic violence survivors so that we can be confident that our services are shaped around them.
Their views have helped inform the design of the new accommodation which will feature separate family units giving women and their children the opportunity to establish and live a normal family life in a way which respects their rights and beliefs.”