Two leading charities working to prevent violence against women and girls have joined forces to double the impact of support available to victims and survivors in North Yorkshire.
The Halo Project, an award-winning specialist service provider supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) victims and survivors of illegal cultural harms, such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and honour-based abuse, has partnered with Yorkshire’s largest domestic abuse and sexual violence charity, IDAS, to intensify the level of support offered to victims and survivors across the region.
Both charities have seen a significant rise in referrals since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and, with further restrictions being introduced, recognise the need to work collaboratively to ensure all victims and survivors are aware of the support available to them – and that when they do come forward, they are getting support that is appropriate and meets their specific needs.
The Halo Project charity, a national charity based in neighbouring Cleveland, provides BAME specialist victim support including refuges and independent Halo Homes for those fleeing abuse, while also offering outreach support to service-users in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Durham, Darlington, Northumbria and now, North Yorkshire.
The specialist service has been provided with Ministry of Justice funding via North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner to provide Halo Project’s culturally sensitive provision to BAME victims and survivors across North Yorkshire and provide advice, guidance and support to both victims and the area’s key stakeholders.
Yasmin Khan, founder of the Halo Project charity, said:
We are delighted to work in partnership with key agencies so that we can help improve the understanding and complexities victims within the BAME community experience. The increasing demand for specialist services has presented a number of challenges and we are keen to address the growing demand for services in North Yorkshire.
A spokesperson for IDAS said:
IDAS is the leading specialist domestic abuse service in the region, providing emergency accommodation, practical and emotional support to over 15,000 people every year. We are proud to be working in partnership with Halo to ensure that all survivors and victims of domestic abuse, including victims of cultural harms, such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour based abuse, can access the support they need, tailored to their individual circumstances.
This partnership is important because it will ensure that people affected can benefit from the joint expertise of two established and highly regarded charities as well as reassuring victims and survivors that the support they will receive is informed by a culturally sensitive approach. We would urge anyone who is concerned about their own situation or for someone they know to get in touch.
The partnership is also being supported by North Yorkshire Police, with its Lead for Safeguarding, Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, saying:
To have IDAS and the Halo Project working together and combining their skills and expertise to offer enhanced support to victims in North Yorkshire is great news which is fully welcome at North Yorkshire Police.
We know the current circumstances present a real challenge to those living with abuse and that the current national lockdown can make victims feel isolated and cut off from help and support. To hear that two charities have committed to working together to ensure essential services and support are available to all victims, hopefully sends a reassuring message to anyone who is experiencing any form of domestic abuse. There are people who understand your own personal situation, who can help and support you and they are here and waiting to help you.
North Yorkshire Police are also here for everyone throughout the national lockdown and beyond. You can report domestic abuse, honour-based abuse, forced marriage or female genital mutilation to police on 101. If there is any threat of immediate harm or danger always dial 999 and we will respond to you.
The most important thing is to reach out to seek help and support and not to suffer in silence.
If you or someone you know is at risk of abuse, or you are a professional requiring information, advice or guidance, please call Halo Project on 01642 683 045 or get in touch with IDAS’s North Yorkshire helpline on 03000 110 110. If you are in immediate danger, always call the police on 999 and press 55 for the silent solution if you are unable to talk.