News from Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

Sunday, 19 October 2014

VEV Champion Honoured With Award

The Worcestershire Forum against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence were pleased to recognise the excellent work undertaken by Kiran Robotham for the delivery of the Visual Evidence for Victims scheme (VEV) across Worcestershire.
VEV Champion Honoured With Award
She was presented with a Quality People award by the Forum. VEV is designed to take police approved photographs of injuries or things that have been damaged. Examples being;- Physical injuries, such as bruises, cuts, scratches or pulled out hair. The project can also store photographs securely so that they will be available if you decide to report the crime later on. Images are stored securely for up to 6 years allowing the victim time to decide what do whilst securing that vital evidence. VEV is run by Victim Support with the help of other local organizations independent of the police. Across Worcestershire there are a range of agencies trained as VEV champions, namely:- Stonham, Women's Aid, The Glade, WMRSASC, Safer Worcester, Victim Support, Maggs Day Centre, and Bromsgrove District Housing Trust. Plans for other agencies to take part are in the pipeline. Well done Kiran!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Health Event to Launch New IDVA Service

Health professionals came together last week to hear about a new service due to be launched at Worcester Royal Hospital in September 2014. This exciting initiative will see an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) from West Mercia Women's Aid working alongside A&E and Maternity staff in seeking to identify, support and signpost both women and men suffering domestic abuse to specialist services. The event attended by a wide range of health professionals from both the acute and community settings heard about the devastating effects of domestic abuse and how staff can work together to make a difference. Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Health, which is estimated to cost Health alone £1.7 billion per year.

Adele Mcguigan, Regional Safeguarding and IDVA Manager for West Mercia Women's Aid said "We welcome this joint initiative and this will allow our specialists to work alongside health staff who will take responsibility for signposting and supporting victims." She went on to say "We just need staff to get us that critical consent off patients and we will do the rest"  The initiative will see the IDVA working across the hospital, accessible to all. However, in addition to A&E, Maternity will be feature highly with 30% of domestic abuse alarmingly starting in pregnancy.

Donna Daly Specialist Midwife, part of the working group said "I and my staff are really looking forward to working with the IDVA. Since raising awareness of domestic abuse across the workforce we have seen a rise in referrals and I believe it will allow midwifes to protect women at a time when they are most vulnerable both pre and post birth".

Clare Bush, Matron for Emergency Departments across the Worcestershire Hospital NHS Acute Trust who has been overseeing and driving this initiative said "This is an exciting time for the hospital in identifying, supporting and signposting victims of domestic abuse. My staff are looking forward to working with the IDVA and through the ongoing training have a re-newed focus on making a difference to those that need help and support."  

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Volunteers "Making the difference"

West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 22nd July.  

Many of the services provided by WMRSASC are delivered by volunteers and it is important to recognise the contribution they make to the service and the difference they make to survivors lives.  WMRSASC is incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment of all of our volunteers and made part of the AGM a celebration of this making awards to those who have volunteered for WMRSASC for over five and ten years.  Pictured are four of our longest serving members, Alie, Kate, Kerrie and Andrea after receiving their awards.

Four of the longest serving members
Alie, Kate, Kerrie and Andrea

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Domestic Abuse Victims & Survivors Called to Action by Worcestershire County Council

Worcestershire County Council are keen to complete a needs assessment in order to create a clear picture of the quality and appropriateness of current services to meet the needs of people experiencing domestic abuse and are asking domestic abuse victims & survivors to participate in a survey.

The information you provide will only be used to help the County Council understand how to ensure people are aware of services and to make sure information, advice and support is easily accessible. We also need to plan future services according to needs and emerging trends in patterns of domestic abuse.

The County Council are receiving a lot less funding from April 2015, therefore investment in non-statutory services including services for people experiencing domestic abuse have had their budgets reduced by 50%. Therefore we need your help to prioritise services that make the most of difference to people's lives. We also need to ensure support reduces the need for children to go into care, reduce the risk of injury, adults being in need of protection and break the cycle of domestic abuse.

You must be aged 16 or over to complete this survey, and only complete this if you have experienced domestic abuse and have accessed a service.

This survey will close at 5pm on Friday 18th July 2014.

Please complete the survey.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

'Working without Fear' Campaign launched on National Stalking Awareness Day 2014

The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual  Violence is supporting and promoting the "Working without fear" awareness campaign which focuses on raising awareness around stalking in the workplace as part of National Stalking Awareness day, April 24th. The campaign is to inform employers and employees about how to deal with the issue of stalking in the workplace.

Martin Lakeman, Strategic Co-ordinator for The Forum said: “The issue of stalking in the workplace is far more common than many people think. Research shows that in the UK, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men are stalked at some point in their lives (British Crime Survey 2011). Stalkers can be colleagues or clients - and of those stalkers who are not, 50% will still present themselves at the victim’s workplace. This creates risk not only for the victim but also their colleagues or manager who may have to interact with the stalker if they do turn up to the premises. We want employers to examine whether they have policies and procedures to support their staff, there most important asset”

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked at some point in their lives;
  • 40 per cent of victims are stalked by an ex-partner; crucially, in many cases the partner would have been emotionally or physically abusive during the relationship;
  • Ex-partner stalking cases carry the highest risk of escalation to physical violence;
  • On average, a stalker will contact 21 people connected to the victim. This may include family, friends, employer, neighbours; even, in some cases, the victim’s regular gym or favourite cafĂ©;
  • It is becoming more common for stalkers to use technology like GPS on mobiles, tracker devices or spyware on phones to locate a victim;

Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence. Stalkers who are not related to the workplace often make contact with the victim there because of ease of access or simply in order to cause them further distress.

The 2012 Act created two new offences of stalking and stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm and distress; The new law in England and Wales provides a non-exhaustive list of behaviours that can be viewed as stalking and this includes following a person, publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, monitoring the use of a person via the internet, loitering in any place - whether public or private - contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means.  The perpetrator does not need to be threatening violence before stalking becomes a criminal offence. Under section 4A of the new stalking law, behaviour that causes serious distress is viewed equally as behaviour that involves a fear of violence.

The facts around stalking make for sobering reading :
Martin concluded: "This awareness campaign is really important, the impact on victims of stalking is devastating and sadly we know can have tragic consequences. It's vitally important that employers recognise their role in supporting staff and that victim's know they will be listened to, believed and supported".

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Great Project - Making a difference

The greatest challenge facing us is educating young people about what healthy and respectful relationships are and how to recognise what constitutes an unhealthy relationship. This article seeks to report on the positive news around our new initiative, The Great project. Great stands for Good Relationships Are Equal and Trusting. The following findings come from the early stages of the Herefordshire pilot, but our pilot in Worcestershire commenced in January at Birchensale Middle, Redditch, Ipsley Middle, Redditch, St John's Primary, Kidderminster, Gorse Hill Primary, Worcester and Stanley Road Primary, Worcester.

The GREAT Project - We think abuse is wrong picture
The GREAT Project is being extremely well received by the children, staff and teachers in each of the schools that WMWA have delivered in. To date, they have successfully delivered The GREAT Project to 87 children across three classes.

Evaluation data compiled so far from pupils and teachers in the participating schools detailed above shows:

The GREAT Project
  • At the end of the final session pupils gave The Great Project an average score of 9.92 out of 10
  • 84.62% had spoken to their parents/carers about the project
Changes in Knowledge
  • At the end of the final session 92.31% of pupils felt that The Great Project had changed the way they thought about the differences between boys and girls
  • At the end of The Great Project 88.0% of pupils were able to correctly identify examples of domestic violence.
  • At the end of The Great Project 100% of pupils were able to identify 2 places they could go to for help
 Changes in Attitude
  • Prior to the project 57.69% of pupils felt it was never right for violence to be used in a relationship. At the end of The Great Project 84.62% agreed with this.
  • Prior to the project 30.77% of pupils disagreed with societal gender stereotypes. At the end of The Great Project 84.62% disagreed.
 Changes in Behaviour
  • 96.15 % of pupils reported that The Great Project had made them think about how they behaved with classmates.

I look forward to a further report on the projects progress.