DOMESTIC abuse victims across north Essex will receive specialist support thanks to more than £500,000 in Government funding.

In response to rising domestic abuse figures, which show reported cases in Essex more than doubled from 12,780 in 2015/16 to 26,030 in 2018/19, the five authorities in Colchester, Tendring, Braintree, Maldon and Chelmsford have joined forces with charities Next Chapter and Open Road to form a partnership aiming to help victims escape domestic violence.

The partnership will work together to provide support for victims with complex issues, such as addiction and homelessness.

Women with mental health issues or those who face barriers such as sexuality, disability, ethnicity or immigration status will be referred to specialist services.

More specialist, trauma informed support will be provided, particularly to those who are not living in refuge accommodation.

Funding will also help pay for secure accommodation and access to support services for women and children looking to live independently.

Figures show Colchester and Tendring have the highest number of domestic abuse victims in Essex.

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor responsible for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: “While domestic violence can happen to both men and women, the statistics show women are at significantly greater risk, with one woman in four experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes and four times more women than men were killed by their partner or ex-partner.

“I am delighted we have received this funding which will enable us to build on the support available.

“It not only supports the ambition of a Better Colchester, but also a better life for any woman and her children in the area suffering domestic violence.”

Over the past two years Next Chapter has supported more than 1,800 women in the community and more than 180 women and 220 children in the refugee itself.

Colchester Council led on the successful funding bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The £507,000 will enable the partnership project to run through to March 2021.