SafeLives, set up in 2005, aims to stop domestic abuse and make victims more safe.
Recognising the need to find better ways of helping the victims of domestic abuse, SafeLives has trained over 1800 Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), specialists who help victims of domestic violence to become safe. The organisation also ensures a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) in every area; professional agencies who work together to cut domestic abuse.
Over 60% of victims who have been helped by IDVAs and MARACs say that the abuse has stopped as a result of this help.
The work carried out by SafeLives initially focused on improving help for high-risk victims. Its strategy for 2015-2018 commits to a more ambitious programme: finding every family where there is domestic abuse much more quickly, and helping victims and their children to become – and remain – safe. Another aim is to win over policymakers and commissioners, so that the right policies and funding are in place.
A Cry For Health
A recent campaign launched by SafeLives is called Cry for Health.
Working on the premise that health providers must be part of the long-term solution to tackle domestic abuse, the campaign calls on every hospital in England and Wales to have specialist domestic abuse support onsite.
SafeLives carried out research, including evidence from over 4000 victims in hospital and community settings. The findings revealed missed opportunities to identify victims of domestic abuse – particularly the most vulnerable – and that locating a team of IDVAs within a hospital is a key way to address this.
SafeLives is calling for hospital-based IDVAs to be integrated as part of a whole-system approach to support, which include community based specialist domestic abuse services, mental health and health services. The charity believes that this provides a way of reaching the 4 out of 5 victims who never contact the police, as well as providing an opportunity to save money through earlier identification.
9 Out of 10 victims reported improvements in safety following an intervention by a hospital IDVA
Although this would inevitably cost money to implement – at a time of austerity and cuts to the NHS – SafeLives believes that by helping women effectively, money would be saved elsewhere in our public services.
What Can You Do to Help?
- Share the page safelives.org.uk/cryforhealth on your social networks
- Join the conversation on Twitter #CryForHealth
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