LANCASHIRE has been given £7million by the government to boost support for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The additional money will strengthen existing services and to bolster Lancashire's programme of placing specialist support in health settings.

The cash, awarded by the Ministry of Justice, will benefit a wide range of local organisations and services over three years.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisers will now be based at every hospital trust in Lancashire.

The grant will also roll out a specialist domestic abuse training, support and referral programme for GP practices.

Lancashire Police Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: "Tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence is as a key priority and I have invested in the creation of a dedicated rape and serious sexual offences team within the constabulary to tackle this type of crime, to target offenders and to ensure victims get the justice they deserve.

"Ensuring that victims have access to specialist, face-to-face support is equally important and this funding means that we can now further enhance services across the county.

"Placing support in health settings and ensuring that hospitals and GP practices are aware of the support available has proven hugely successful.

"Health settings are a place of safety meaning that victims may feel more confident to talk about what has happened to them.

"The money will also see additional support workers joining services across the county which will ensure that anyone affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence can access support that's right for them, whenever and wherever they need it."

Jane Pemberton, director for community nursing at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The work being carried out by our Independent Domestic Violence Advocates to support vulnerable men and women experiencing domestic abuse is so important and in some cases life-changing.

"In the last three months alone, they have supported over 130 people.

"This funding will be used to recruit an additional advocate, helping us expand our service and provide safe, personal and effective care to more people victims and survivors of domestic abuse."

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “It’s great to improve the support available across East Lancashire for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“This new money will mean anyone affected by these crimes will be able to access to the help they need within a few short miles of Rossendale and Darwen.”