Parents affected by domestic abuse will be supported through the Family Drug & Alcohol Courts, thanks to £48,500 funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley.
The funding will be used to employ a full-time key worker and costs associated with forensic work at the Family Drug & Alcohol Courts (FDAC) for Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire.
Domestic abuse is a major factor in a significant number of cases referred to FDAC and this funding will allow them to provide one-to-one support for parents.
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “We are impressed with the work that has been taking place in the Family Drug & Alcohol Courts and were delighted to be able to support them with this funding.
“It will pay for a specialist key worker who will support families where domestic abuse has been a factor in their case. This role will work across all cases held by FDAC in Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire.
“Domestic abuse should never be tolerated and we appreciate that quite often these sort of cases are complex. We hope that by giving this funding we can stop domestic abuse happening and support families thereby enabling children to live safely and not in fear.
“We are passionate about helping victims which is why we run our Victims First service. Victims of domestic abuse, or any other crime for that matter, are encouraged to get in touch with us for help. More information on how to refer into Victims First can be found on our website victims-first.org.uk.”
Jenny Swift, Team Manager – Milton Keynes and Bucks FDAC, said: “Previously we have been entirely funded by Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire councils but this year we have OPCC funding to expand the team which is brilliant news. This new role will include work with those who have experienced domestic abuse and those who perpetrate it.
“There are occasionally cases where a more specialist assessment is needed by a forensic psychologist to help make decisions and understand risks. The funding will also cover these assessments as well as the key worker.
“FDAC runs in a very different way to the usual family court proceedings and we aim for a less adversarial and more problem solving approach to resolve issues of child safety. Intensive support is offered to parents whose use of drugs and/or alcohol has significantly impacted their ability to care for their children.
“Parents usually have a variety of other difficulties which also impact on their parenting, such as experience of mental health problems, domestic abuse, loss and past trauma. The team aims to offer a holistic approach to supporting parents, first to achieve abstinence and then to recognise and understand the other issues affecting them and their ability to meet their children’s needs.
“The funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley will allow us to expand the support we can give and we’re hugely grateful to be given it. It will directly have a positive effect on families across Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire.”