Firm ends support for domestic abuse victims due to financial restraints

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 April 2018

Weston Soroptimists with Dame Joan Collins. Picture: Weston Soroptomists.

Weston Soroptimists with Dame Joan Collins. Picture: Weston Soroptomists.

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A housing association which provides support to victims of domestic abuse has ended its contract, giving North Somerset Council 45 days to find another provider.

The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) is the parent company of Gemini Services which provides accommodation, training and support to women, men and children affected by domestic violence.

Domestic abuse campaigner Tara Newley Arkle has hailed the move ‘abominable’ and says it will put people’s lives at risk if the service is lost.

Tara – daughter of Joan Collins – worked for Chapter One, which provided the service before SAHA.

She said: “I worked for Chapter One for two years and I know what a vital service it is. Lives will be put at risk if this service goes. SAHA has given the council 45 days notice, which is the legal minimum requirement. I think it’s abominable.

“I know Gemini will do everything in its power to support the very vulnerable people it helps.”

A SAHA spokesman said: “Our contract with the council was due to come to an end at end of May.

“After significantly lengthy and careful consideration, we found unfortunately the service was not financially or strategically viable for us to continue, so made the difficult decision not to continue the contract.

“This is a vital provision for the county and we are pleased the council’s intention is to keep a service for victims of domestic abuse in the area.”

A council spokesman added: “Gemini Services has been providing excellent support to families affected by domestic abuse in North Somerset for several years.

“Although Gemini’s parent company has decided it does not wish to continue with this contract, North Somerset Council remains fully committed to the provision of high quality support for anyone affected by domestic abuse in the area and we are currently exploring all options to ensure there is as little disruption to service users as possible.

“We would like to thank the Gemini team for their dedication to this important work during this time of uncertainty and reassure anyone affected by domestic abuse they will continue to receive the support they need.”

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