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  • Help and support

Domestic abuse

Improving domestic abuse services
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Everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or abuse, especially abuse coming from a close family member. We’ve supported those working in the area of domestic abuse through targeted funding like Becoming a Survivor (Scotland) and Improving Futures (UK wide), working across the UK to more open funding programmes such as Reaching Communities (England).

Learning from our research into domestic abuse has showed us that:

  1. Domestic abuse services still experience difficulty in measuring the difference their service has made and they have concerns that tools available may be unsuitable or insufficiently flexible for individual services. To help address this issue, we’ve produced a domestic abuse outcome measurement framework report which reviews seven of the available frameworks and how to get the most out of them.
  2. Sustainability remains a challenge for domestic abuse services. Most projects still rely on fundraising or their own sources, with few projects persuading statutory agencies to support their work in the longer term.
  3. There are still gaps in service provision, such as:
    • a lack of joined up approach between the various agencies and services
    • the relative scarcity of services working with perpetrators
    • the need to offer more education-based and preventative services
    • those from minority groups are able to access effective support.

What works

According to our learning, domestic abuse services might find it helpful to think about:

  • Providing services that are flexible and take a user-led approach.
  • Making it as easy as possible for people to access and use domestic abuse services such as considering timings, location and culture and language.
  • Working in partnership with other local agencies such as schools.
  • Building capacity to recruit, train, support and retain staff and volunteers.

When thinking about sustainability, approaches which you should bear in mind include:

  • Partnership working where arranged could be made to share resources, skills and learning such as sharing buildings and back office facilities, or partnering with housing associations to offer accommodation.
  • Volunteering which could help create a degree of sustainability such as volunteers continuing to run peer support groups or using volunteer counsellors to deliver services.
  • Commercial models such as direct provision of accommodation or offering paid-for training to provide a funding stream.

The researchers visited a number of projects which they have written up as case studies. A sample of the case studies can be found below:

  • Just Play - Based in Angus, Scotland and aims to work with vulnerable families and strengthen the relationship between parents and their children through play.
  • Positive Relationships - Set up by Port Talbot and Afan Women’s aid to deliver a prevention programme that aims to break the cycle of domestic abuse.
  • West Hampstead Women’s Centre - Based in London to supports women from all cultures and ages, offering 21 different services under one roof.
  • Men’s Advisory Project - Working across the whole of Northern Ireland the project supports men experiencing domestic abuse and domestic crisis.
  • Gwent Domestic Abuse Services - Working within the borough of Blaenau Gwent, South Wales this project supports both men and women affected by domestic abuse, with a specific programme focused on perpetrators of domestic abuse.