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First Light to lead £7.2 million contract for domestic abuse and sexual violence services in Cornwall

South West charity First Light together with national children’s charity Barnardo’s have won a £7.2m contract to deliver vital services to support people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly who have experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The seven-year contract is described as “transformational” and has been awarded by Cornwall Council on behalf of the Safer Cornwall partnership and jointly commissioned with NHS Kernow.

Starting on 1 July, First Light and Barnardo’s will deliver several enhanced services to support thousands of adults who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse as well as the children, young people and families who are affected.

The work includes a single point of contact for domestic abuse in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, domestic abuse and sexual violence training, healthy relationships education, domestic abuse crisis response, individual advocacy, therapy and recovery programmes for victims as well as behavioural change programmes for offenders and perpetrators.

There will also be a new dedicated website for domestic abuse and sexual violence as well as awareness raising campaigns to support victims in reporting incidents.

It is thought to be the first time such a bold and ambitious domestic abuse and sexual violence service has been commissioned and subsequently won by a local southwest charity.

Chief executive Tom Dingwall said: ”I am thrilled that the Safer Cornwall Partnership have chosen First Light to provide this transformational new service.

“It is absolutely testament to the professionalism, passion and determination of our teams who go the extra mile every day for people affected by abuse within our communities.

“I am particularly delighted to have been able to partner with Barnardo’s. They share our vision and values for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and have a track record in providing first-class services to children and families affected by domestic abuse.

Barnardo’s regional assistant director Oliver Mackie said: “This new integrated service is bold and ambitious. It aims to make domestic abuse and sexual violence everybody’s business and to end domestic abuse in any form, ensuring every child’s right to a safe childhood.

“We look forward to working with our partners and communities across Cornwall to listen to what works and be brave about doing things differently, finding new solutions and ending the cycle of abuse that blights so many lives.”

During 2016 to 2017, there are thought to be at least 20,000 victims of domestic abuse living in Cornwall, but of these around 7500 reported to the police.

Of 5,800 incidents of rape or sexual assault, just 955 reported to the police.