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Domestic violence group said social workers cannot fill the void when it closes

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 March 2011

L-R: Le Mac (administrator), Sue Kenten (chief exec), Heather McAdam (counsellor) and Linda St Louis (project manager)

L-R: Le Mac (administrator), Sue Kenten (chief exec), Heather McAdam (counsellor) and Linda St Louis (project manager)

Archant

A domestic violence support group which has lost its funding said social workers do not have the time or skills to help victims when it closes.

The Amali Project offers therapy and legal help for Tower Hamlets women and children who have been traumatised by domestic violence.

During an open day last week to highlight their cause, experts said social workers will not be able to fill the gap when the project closes in April.

Testimonials from several women who had been savagely attacked by their partners included one victim who said the project saved her life.

The council said last week it is not renewing the group’s £157,000 a year funding because the work can be carried out by social workers.

Linda St Louis, project manager, said: “We’re talking about women and children who are completely traumatised. Social workers would need to be trained in therapy and trauma counselling.

“Tower Hamlets has been proactive in making strides in domestic abuse services in recent years and there has been a lot of multi-agency work. We’re now at risk of that disappearing.”

In some cases, Amali has been instrumental in getting women legal support and attending hearings so they can protect themselves and their children from a violent partner.

The project, which started in 2009 and employs two and a half staff, is funded mostly by Tower Hamlets council.

NHS Tower Hamlets, which also provided funding, said this was only ever a one-off sum for two years.

The council said their social care department is consistently rated as good by Ofsted and can “fully support” families currently receiving help from Amali.

A spokesman added: “Our social workers are trained to work with families with a range of complex needs and issues.

“We have numerous social workers who specialise in supporting families affected by domestic violence.”

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