Grant to help tackle domestic abuse in North Yorkshire

Gazette & Herald: Sue White from Soldier On Sue White from Soldier On

AN ORGANISATION which helps ex-forces members said a grant would help tackle domestic abuse in North Yorkshire.

Soldier On started about four years ago as a security consultancy to help unemployed ex-forces members, and will soon join forces with Remploy to supply stewards to sport stadia.

Sue White, from the charity, said the organisation aimed to help not just the ex-servicemen and women, but their families too, as difficulties in adjusting to civilian life could lead to problems in the home.

Sue said: "We have always supported anyone we come across and 18 months ago we met PCSO Chris Simpson, a veteran of the armed forces he joined the project and we started looking at the amount of ex forces personnel committing crimes around York and North Yorkshire, it is shocking to think that these people are being drunk and disorderly as they try to settle back into a community that fails to understand them and in which they feel they do not fit."

In January, Sue was invited to a parliamentary review of the needs of the ex-forces community in the justice system, by Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, which Sue said helped "get ourselves noticed in all the right places".

Sue said: "We attended the review and have put forward evidence to back up what we understand of offending behaviour in our group, and the ways early identification and intervention are key for veterans, that could be built into existing systems in prisons and custody suites."

The organisation has since started a project to count the number of ex-servicemen and women in prisons across Yorkshire, and are beginning a pilot scheme to help those leaving prison get into employment.

Sue said: "That has started and will help 36 people over the coming months with reviews to assess the impact, We believe we can massively reduce re-offending in our community by understanding the issues people face, barriers to employment and common transitional issues, such as drinking, anxiety and aggression."

The organisation was given £10,000 from the PCC's Community Fund, which will be used to look at the impact of domestic abuse in the family of ex-forces members, and also to set up a support group which works with the Independent Domestic Abuse Service and other organisations to help families affected by this.

Sue said: "The grant gave us some money to help families and opened a can of worms - it's a challenging time for us as a project, but we enjoy that, as most ex-forces people work best under pressure."

To find out more about the Community Fund, go to northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/taking-action/community-fund

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