Norfolk businesses and organisations were urged yesterday to pledge their support to help victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.As well as the six week courses a follow up victims support group will also formed and a personal safety plan for every victim drawn up.
It is hoped that each donation of £3,750 will cut down on the spiralling economic costs of abuse - with each incident of serious domestic abuse assault costing the police, justice system and health service at least £104,000.
And empowering-communties.org also hopes that by helping victims their children will not be drawn into the cycle of abuse when they grow up.
The launch of the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Reduction Partnership at Great Yarmouth saw a call go out for companies and groups to hand over £3,750 each to provide support and assistance to victims of abuse.
Each set of £3,750 given to the partnership will be used to set up six week domestic abuse survivors courses across the county to help break the cycle of abusive relationships.
The courses, run by empowering-communities.org, will show up to 14 abuse victims of both sexes how to spot early signs of abuse in relationships and how to leave abusive partners without coming to harm and then re-build their lives.
Two pilot course schemes are to start in Yarmouth and Norwich in January and February and the founder of empowering-communities Yarmouth police officer Gary Pettengell hopes enough groups will come forward to fund another dozen courses in Norfolk next year.
PC Pettengell said: “We have put our cards on the table. Now we need someone brave enough to come forward to take the first step in supporting us.
“We need to find an innovative and sustainable way to provide a long term delivery of programmes to the survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
“We are creating the partnership with the aim of breaking the cycle of abuse. In 90% of domestic incidents children are present and they are more likely to develop harmful patterns in life.”
Although it is only in its fledgling stages the partnership has won the Essex and Suffolk Water's community impact award for 2009. A copycat scheme has also been set up in Lithuania through PC Pettengell's strong links with members of that country's population who live in Yarmouth.
As well as the £3,750 membership donation scheme, people can support the partnership by becoming corporate members for £59 a year or become an associate member by making a voluntary contribution.
Anyone interested in supporting the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Reduction Partnership should email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 01502 537719