Safer road ahead for victims of domestic abuse

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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THE prospects of domestic violence victims achieving long-term safety will increase thanks to a £35,000 grant.

Every day a number of abuse victims are at risk of being killed or seriously harmed.

The grant from the Lloyds TSB Foundation will allow the Southern Domestic Abuse Service, which is based in Havant, to employ a team of specially-trained advocates to help support these vulnerable people.

The team, called Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs), act as professional case workers to address the safety of high-risk victims and their children.

Serving as a victim’s main point of contact, they work with clients to assess risks and come up with safety plans to ensure they are not attacked again.

The cash will allow the service to be provided to the residents of Havant borough for the next three years.

Officials at Southern Domestic Abuse Service, called Havant Women’s Aid until last year, were delighted. The charity’s motto is ‘You’re in safe hands’.

Claire Chatwin, managing director for Southern Domestic Abuse Service, said: ‘We are very grateful to Lloyds TSB Foundation for making this service possible.

‘It is estimated that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

‘This project will engage with women and men regardless of age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

‘Research shows that IDVAs make a demonstrable difference to the safety of domestic abuse victims.’

The advocates will aim to provide tailored support for between 35 and 40 victims a year.

Miss Chatwin added: ‘The work will provide an intervention at crisis point ensuring the immediate safety of the victim and their children and putting victims on the path to long-term safety.

‘A recent evaluation of IDVA services showed that 57 per cent of all victims supported by an IDVA experienced a complete or near cessation in the abuse they were suffering following around three to four months of contact.’