A charity set up to help the male victims of domestic abuse has received 65 referrals since July 2020.
The Paul Lavelle Foundation was set up in 2017 in memory of 50-year-old Paul Lavelle, from Rock Ferry, who was killed at the hands of his violent partner.
It took 10 months of commitment and fundraising to finally become registered by the Charities Commission in April 2018.
The charity is based in Royal Standard House, in Birkenhead, and received an initial £5,000 from the Steve Morgan Foundation in 2020 to fund the launch of frontline services.
This was followed by an additional £69,408 in Community Match Challenge (CMC) funding as part of a joint initiative between the Steve Morgan Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
The CMC award has been used to create a ‘safe space’ for the male victims of domestic abuse, provide one-to-one support, peer support groups and recovery programmes.
Charity manager Sharne Williams had been friends with Paul Lavelle for 14 years before his death and said, “We had no idea he was the victim of domestic abuse until his killer’s court case.
“It was very distressing for his family and friends to hear what he’d gone through in silence and the Paul Lavelle Foundation was set up to try and prevent similar tragedies.
“He had a big group of friends and was a season ticket holder at Everton but his girlfriend isolated him from everybody and he even stopped going to the football.
“After he died we realised there was a huge gap in the system for the male victims of domestic abuse. Since July 2020 we’ve had 65 referrals so we know the need is there.
“However there’s a stigma around male domestic abuse and it’s really important that the victims feel able to speak out.”
Co-ordinator Nicola Cullen had known Paul since they were teenagers and said the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation and DCMS had turned an idea into reality.
“We’re a non-judgemental listening ear,” she said. “We take them on a recovery road in a person-centred way. Some people may come for six weeks but others may stay for six months. We’ve had some really good outcomes.
“The support of the Steve Morgan Foundation has been huge. They helped us to start at the beginning and the Community Match Challenge funding has propelled us down our business journey by two years.
“Reports of domestic abuse soared during the Covid lockdowns and the timing of the funding is perfect because we now have the ability to scale up and meet the need that is there across Merseyside and Cheshire.”
The charity hosted a visit last week from Steve Morgan Foundation trustee Ashley Lewis; director of regional grants Jane Harris; and projects manager Ruth Dixon.
Main image: (L) Paul Lavelle; (R) Before and after pictures of the Paul Lavelle Foundation base