Huge rise in demand to help families of violent crime victims

13 charities in Suffolk have been boosted by funds to help tackle domestic violence

Restitute has ben 'overwhelmed' with referrals for its services - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A group working with victims of violent crime in Ipswich says it has seen an "exceptional rise in demand" for services.

Restitute has been left "overwhelmed" by the number of referrals it has received and is now planning to extend its project.

The organisation – a not-for-profit Community Interest Company – supports third party victims of crime: the parents, carers, partners, siblings and loved ones of adults and children who have survived sexual abuse, sexual violence, domestic violence and other serious violence.

Restitute, which was founded by Cath Pickles, receives referrals from Suffolk Constabulary, social care, probation, and other groups such as Suffolk Rape Crisis and Fresh Start New Beginnings, as well as self-referrals.

In just two years it has worked with 70 families and has now drawn up a plan to extend its work in the community and schools to help those caught up in violent crime.

Cath Pickles in Southwold
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Cath Pickles, who founded Restitute - Credit: Nick Butcher

It is seeking £10,000 from Ipswich Borough Council to bring in a further worker.

The group said: "Ipswich has particularly high demand and high intensity need, with the rate of violence and sexual violence 31% higher than the rest of Suffolk."

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It said has seen a "huge rise in demand for services" particularly during the pandemic as lockdown has made the symptoms of survivors of sexual and violent crimes worse and has increased their anxiety and challenging behaviour.

In documents submitted to the council, Restitute said: "In our first year, we aimed to support between six to12 families and create an evaluation to prove the need.

"Instead, we were overwhelmed with referrals and have supported over 70 families in two years. Repeat referrals from social services, ISVA, police, healthcare and other VCSE organisations have shown that not only is there a huge demand for our services but that the work we do is effective and has a real impact."

Recruiting a dedicated support worker would support more victims with one-to-one support, benefits forms and checks, trauma-informed parenting advice, practical support, local solutions, therapeutic support and treatments.

It would also enable targeted outreach in Ipswich working with GP surgeries and schools/colleges to identify those most vulnerable to ensure they are aware of the services available to them.

The borough's five area committees will decide the funding over the next few weeks.