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Police and Crime Commissioner project improves access to support for BAMER communities

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has published a report on its project to help make Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services more inclusive to Black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee (BAMER) communities.

Funded by the Home Office and delivered in partnership with service providers in the Thames Valley, the project was driven by the belief that early intervention and awareness-raising can help increase the number of individuals from BAMER communities identified as being affected by VAWG and to help address the barriers preventing access to support. It included a range of activity including data collection and population mapping, peer review activities and engagement directly with BAMER communities, including peer support groups and working with clients on a one-to-one basis.

Specific outcomes of engagement work included:

  • increased awareness of abuse so that women were able to identify abusive behaviours and recognise the signs of abuse.
  • improvements in service delivery where more women from ethnically diverse backgrounds were accessing services. An increase in ethnically diverse men accessing services was also noted.
  • increased empowerment by providing information and breaking down language barriers through enhanced cultural sensitivity and appropriate use of interpreters helping raising awareness of abuse and prompting disclosures.

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner said “We have over 134,000 non-native-English speakers speaking more than 20 languages in the Thames Valley.  We know from the uptake of services that many women from BAMER communities who have experienced violence such as domestic abuse will not be receiving support.  There are many reasons for this and this project has been successful in giving us an understanding of the needs of these communities, as well as helping to drive improvements in service delivery.

“The work undertaken has identified challenges and successes to inform best practice and has begun to initiate change, however this is just the beginning. The BAMER (now BAED, Black And Ethnically Diverse) Partnership Board, set up in delivering the project, will now continue with an action plan to address recommendations from the evaluation.”

Liz Jones, Domestic Abuse Lead for Oxford City Council said: “The project enabled ethnically diverse women to freely talk about their experiences in a safe space.  Their voices and participation will be given a platform to make the changes necessary to meet their needs.”

Support workers engaged with 33 community groups and 68 clients on a one to one basis from 37 different ethnic identities.  Community based activities included cooking or craft sessions, religious and cultural events, trainings, as well as intensive and holistic support alongside practical advocacy. 

Sessions benefited from having support workers present who speak a number of languages and could offer additional one-to-one support in a more private setting. It also explored internal and external barriers to accessing support including honour and shame, fear and intimidation, control, failure to recognise abuse, language, insecure immigration status, racism and unconscious bias.

One individual involved in delivering the programme noted: “The project has widened both my own knowledge of the experiences/barriers experienced by BAMER communities and this has had an impact upon the wider knowledge of the entire team”.

The full BAMER Project Report and Executive Summary can be found on the PCC website at www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/victims-first/research-and-reports/

 

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Notes to Editors

 

For media enquiries, please contact OPCC.Comms@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk