Hundreds of thousands of funding to help victims of sexual abuse has been secured by police chiefs in the north east.
Figures released this week from the Ministy of Justice have revealed Ron Hogg, police and crime commissioner for Durham, and Vera Baird QC, police and crime commissioner for Northumbria, both secured six-figure payouts to help fund projects working with victims of serious crime.
Mrs Baird secured a total of £306,405.52 for two projects - an early intervention service for victims of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, which received £262,488.02 and a project which aims to identify and support children and young people who are considered vulnerable to sexual exploitation, which received £43,917.50.
Mr Hogg was granted £142, 814 for four projects - one supporting victims with mental health problems received £40,766, £32,048 was granted for three new support staff for victims of rape and sexual abuse, a £45,000 videolink between Durham County Court and the sexual assault referral centre was created along with a new £25,000 for a victim suite in south east Durham.
Mr Hogg said: “From the outset I’ve been very concerned about sexual violence and abuse and the need to have sexual exploitation workers on the force.
“Operation Yewtree and Savile have sharpened our awareness of what exactly is going on in our communities and the need for us to be on the front foot.”
Mrs Baird said she chose areas which require funding to help safeguard those at risk and on Tuesday Mrs Baird urged the government to do more to protect young people targeted by adults aiming to ‘groom’ them before subjecting them to sexual abuse - she has raised concerns about a loophole which means police must prove adults have contacted youngsters twice before being abused.
Victims of grooming are among those who could be set to benefit from the funds granted to Mrs Baird.
She said: “Online chat rooms can be dangerous places for young people and I’d urge parents to regularly check the activity on their home computer.
“Special settings can be put in place to give added protection.
“Here in Northumbria, the police will continue to do all they can to tackle this issue head on and if anyone has concerns about this issue I’d urge them to contact the police.”
She previously said: “This will further enhance the links between the police and specialist services providing a service to children who are at the greatest risk of harm.
“It is about helping these young people stay safe.”