Pilot project to support domestic abuse victims in West Sussex

Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at West Sussex County Council, said he hoped the pilot and  innovative research will help victims in West Sussex and eventually support families across the country
Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at West Sussex County Council, said he hoped the pilot and innovative research will help victims in West Sussex and eventually support families across the country

A new partnership to support and protect victims of domestic abuse could put West Sussex at the ‘vanguard of meaningful change’.

West Sussex County Council has jointly commissioned an innovative pilot with the charity SafeLives and other partners to enhance the whole-family approach to providing services for victims.

The partnership will focus on stopping situations escalating, providing support for those with complex needs, children and young people as well as for survivors to recover from the harm, heal and build resilience.

The pilot will include training and guidance for professionals, enhancing skills and supporting agencies to work together to create a culture of engagement with the people and the communities they serve.

The work will be delivered by The YOU Trust, Aurora New Dawn and The Hampton Trust.

Jo Millward, the county council’s service leader for its Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help Service, said: “The county council is delighted to be working with SafeLives and the other partners in this exciting project, which will complement the already established high-risk domestic abuse services that exist within West Sussex.

“Safeguarding whole families from abuse is already one of the council’s key priorities and we are united with everyone involved in this project in our desires to identify anyone impacted by any form of abuse and to support them to receive the appropriate help they need.”

The partnership will focus on:

• Support to stop situations escalating

• Support for the complex needs many people have – often because of, or exacerbated by domestic abuse, such as substance misuse and mental ill health

• Support for people who are still in their relationship or living with the perpetrator of abuse

• Support for children and young people through specialist, age appropriate services

• Support for survivors to recover from the harm, heal and build resilience.

Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are excited that West Sussex is to be one of only two areas in the country to conduct this pilot.

“We hope the innovative research will help victims in West Sussex and eventually support families across the country.”

SafeLives chief executive Suzanne Jacob added: “We’re so pleased to be working with West Sussex County Council, The YOU Trust, Aurora New Dawn and The Hampton Trust to trial these interventions in West Sussex and improve both local and national responses to domestic abuse.

“West Sussex is showing itself to be in the vanguard of meaningful change – refusing to accept that domestic abuse is inevitable or acceptable and recognising that what happens to the parent, happens to the child too.

“We know that 85 per cent of victims of domestic abuse seek help five times on average before they get effective help. This is four times too many. Too often the response to domestic abuse remains a postcode lottery. We owe it to victims, survivors and families to hear them as soon as they reach out, ensuring they receive a tailored response that meets their needs.”

Tonia Redvers, head of hidden violence and counselling at YOU, said: “We were thrilled to be awarded the opportunity to deliver this project in West Sussex. YOU have been delivering services addressing domestic violence and abuse for over 30 years and this is a wonderful opportunity to develop a new team to deliver an innovative response to victims, survivors, children and perpetrators of domestic abuse.”

This project is also being funded by the Big Lottery Fund Women and Girls Initiative, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Peter Cundill Foundation and The Aurum Charitable Trust.

Anyone who needs or is aware of someone needing support for domestic abuse across West Sussex should ring 07834 968539 or 033 022 28181 or email DomesticAbuseServicesCentral@westsussex.gov.uk