The volunteer-led project, which expanded into Sussex last year, offers a free cat-fostering service for people escaping abusive relationships.
Paws Protect ensures cats are well cared-for until their owners are able to resettle into a new home.
Cats Protection’s Paws Protect Project Manager Beverley Russell said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Safe Space Funding Network, which will fund our Paws Protect work in Sussex for the next 18 months.
“Paws Protect provides a vital service for people who are fleeing incredibly difficult and distressing situations. For many victims, leaving abusive relationships is made impossible as they cannot bear to lose their pets or put them at risk.
“We work closely with refuges and women’s charities so that victims know we are here and able to help. Our volunteers look after cats in their own homes for as long as is needed – normally a few months – giving their owners the peace of mind that they’re being well cared-for and the knowledge that they’ll be reunited.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Cats Protection’s Paws Protect service is a great example of an innovative local project that aims to help victims and protect those experiencing domestic violence.
“Disturbingly, it has become apparent that, within domestic abuse situations, offenders often threaten or even kill the victim’s pet/s as an emotional control mechanism. I am pleased to support a charity that recognises this issue and gives victims the piece of mind they need in order to distance themselves from their abuser and seek help in the knowledge that their pet has been safeguarded.
“I have enjoyed meeting the team here at Cats Protection and listening to the positive impact they have made already to victims of domestic abuse in Sussex.”
The PCC receives a grant from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in relation to local commissioning of victims’ support services. It is this funding that the PCC then grant funds down to the VCSE sector.
Within the Police and Crime Plan (PCP) the Commissioner states a priority of protecting our vulnerable and helping victims to cope and recover from crime and abuse:
The PCC launched this funding network to support the activities of the VCSE sector in delivering services to victims of crime across Sussex which help individuals to cope and recover from the impact of crime.
The Safe:Space Sussex Funding Network and the quality assurance framework within it, monitors benefits to victims, witnesses and the community across Sussex and makes sure services commissioned are the best they can be, as promised in the PCP.