Domestic abuse is everybody’s business – council supports awareness raising campaign

Kent County Council (KCC) is supporting a new urgent campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and how to find help and support.

In response to unprecedented challenges faced by domestic abuse services during the Covid-19 pandemic, KCC commissioned the Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (KIDAS) partnership, which consists of Clarion Housing Group, Look Ahead, Oasis Domestic Abuse Service and Victim Support to create and launch Domestic Abuse: It’s Everybody’s Business, a suite of free virtual events aimed at businesses, community groups and individuals to educate, inform and inspire action across the county in a bid to ensure more victims are identified and can find safety quickly and easily.

Taking place from 25 November to 10 December 2020, the events will coincide with the UN 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign, and will enable attendees to know about, understand and act against this destructive social issue.

The pick and mix programme of 16 free online events can be accessed from anywhere, at times to suit varying schedules.

From first introductions to professional development with CPD accreditation for social sector professionals, there is something for every knowledge level and expertise. Sessions are as short as 15 minutes and a maximum of 75 minutes.

Over 2 million people a year in England and Wales experience domestic abuse, with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing this during their lifetime.

Two women a week are murdered by their current or ex-partner and one in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point.

Domestic abuse also affects businesses, causing employees to take unplanned time off work and decreased productivity, costing UK businesses approximately £1.9bn a year.

Lockdown, social distancing and social restrictions heighten the risk for victims.

Kent Police saw a 12% increase in Domestic Abuse related crime reports from March to July this year, compared to 2019 and the Kent domestic abuse services have seen an increase in accepted referrals.

Victims’ lives depend on the ability to connect with routes to safety.

As more and more people work from home, employers have an even greater duty to care for their staff, as abuse may be harder to identify than when employees were coming into an office or work environment.

By everybody making it their business to know, see and speak out, more victims across Kent and Medway can find safety.

Clair Bell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “We have put support for victims who are suffering from domestic abuse front and centre of our Covid-19 response strategy.

“The Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service has been working tirelessly to support those affected by domestic abuse during the COVID pandemic, ensuring that services are available to those affected.

“They have brought together this important programme of free events to increase awareness of the experiences of those affected by the issue.

“We are committed to the safeguarding of victims and ensuring that they have access to support and routes to safety, as well as continuous safety planning, in every district of the county.

“We work collectively with Kent Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the NHS, GP surgeries, health centres, districts pharmacies and supermarkets across the area to ensure a coordinated and widespread support structure is available.

“This new virtual conference will make it easy for anyone and everyone to access information, learn about the strategy and what we can do to support services and work together to eradicate this terrible crime.”

KIDAS partners said: “There’s never been a time when understanding, recognising and taking action against domestic abuse has been more needed, especially with a second national lockdown.

“Our services have all reacted swiftly to the crisis, transforming the way we work to support survivors remotely and rising to the challenge of being available to those who seek help, some for the first time, in the most challenging of circumstances.

“As we all continue to face restrictions to our daily lives and feel the very real effects of the pandemic, home is a very dangerous place for those experiencing abuse and recognising signs something is wrong becomes harder.

“But it needs ALL of us to be knowledgeable, be vigilant and be willing to speak out and up for victims. It’s the only way we can reach those suffering in Kent and Medway.”

To make Domestic Abuse your Business, book today at: www.daeverybodysbusiness.org

For further information about Domestic Abuse: It’s Everybody’s Business and KIDAS and for interview availability: please contact Bryony Bishop bryony@beebeecomms.com or KCC, Justine Wingate, justine.wingate@kent.gov.uk

Anyone experiencing abuse can still access the right services – lockdown rules do not apply if someone needs to leave their home to escape abuse. Refuge services continue to offer emergency space for victims and support is available.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, get help now:

www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk

For emergencies, call the police on 999 (if you can’t speak, cough or tap the handset then press 55 on your phone – the police will know it’s an emergency). In a non-emergency situation, you can call Kent police on 101.

For 24-hour support contact the National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000247.

For non-emergency support and safety planning call Kent & Medway Victim Support on 0808 16 89 111 / email kent.vart@victimsupport.org.uk or use live chat bit.ly/VS-livechat if it is safe to do so.

#DAEverybodysBusiness #KnowSeeSpeakOut

KIDAS deliver the KCC commissioned domestic abuse services across Kent.

Domestic Abuse: It’s Everybody’s Business is aimed at:

  • Businesses
  • Housing providers
  • Health professionals
  • Social workers
  • People working in criminal justice
  • Faith groups
  • Food Bank staff & volunteers
  • Students
  • Education & childcare providers
  • Military personnel
  • Local government employees
  • Support groups
  • Community groups & voluntary agencies
  • Anyone who is interested in creating a safer community for victims of abuse

Domestic Abuse statistics

  • Over 2 million people a year in England and Wales experience domestic abuse (Office for National Statistics)
  • This devastating social issue will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, with 2 women a week being murdered by their current or ex-partner (Office for National Statistics)
  • In 2017, 26,149 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded by the Police in Kent and Medway, with current trends showing that 38% of all violent crime here is categorised as domestic abuse and that domestic abuse makes up 15% of all crime. (The Kent and Medway Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Executive Strategic Assessment 2019, and 2017 data)
  • Kent Police saw a 12% increase in Domestic Abuse related crime reports from March to July this year, compared to 2019 (Kent Police incident case reports March to July 2020) and our domestic abuse services have seen an increase in referrals
  • In England and Wales £1.9 billion a year is lost in economic output due to domestic abuse (Walby, 2009)
  • Domestic Violence incidents account for almost 25% of all reported violent crime, with UK Police receiving a call for assistance once every minute. Domestic violence results in the death of 2 women per week (Office National Statistics, 2019)
  • In the UK, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse (The Equality and Human Rights Commission)
  • One in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood (Radford et al, NSPCC report, 2011)

Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (KIDAS)

The integrated approach of KIDAS means victims can access support wherever they are in Kent and has ensured a consistent response for victims and survivors during the pandemic. A central non-emergencies helpline and 24/7 live chat for Kent & Medway is coordinated by Victim Support, with localised helplines delivered by Oasis Domestic Abuse Service (East Kent), Look Ahead (West Kent) and Clarion Housing Group (North and South Kent). A dedicated website has been set up working with Kent County Council and Kent Community Safety Team, with full information for safety planning and access to support at www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk

Kent County Council

The Council’s domestic abuse strategy sets out our joint vision, priorities and commitments to reduce the levels of domestic abuse, and ensure that where domestic abuse does take place, all those affected get the right support, quickly. The strategy supports agencies and partnerships to design and deliver the most appropriate responses to anyone affected by domestic abuse in Kent and Medway and focuses on preventing and responding through five key priorities. These priorities are:

  • driving change together
  • prevention and early intervention
  • provision of services
  • minimising harm
  • justice, recovery and ongoing protection.

Clarion Housing Group

Clarion Housing Group comprises the largest social landlord in the country, with a heritage dating back over 100 years. Clarion provides good quality and affordable homes for people priced out of the property market.

Housing is fundamental to an individual’s life chances. Without a safe and secure home, the ability to achieve the things others take for granted is severely reduced. Providing a home to 350,000 people, we are uniquely placed to make an even bigger impact. From simply helping people find their feet to helping them get a foot on the housing ladder, Clarion Housing Group changes lives.

Alongside the core housing management service, Clarion provides an enhanced supported housing service for people with a range of needs. These include services for young people, adults with enduring mental health needs, refugee Syrian families, adults with learning disabilities and men and women with substance misuse issues.

In addition, Clarion have been providing domestic abuse services in Kent for a number of years. The domestic abuse service currently delivered in Kent employs 40 specialist support staff across the north and south of the county. As well as providing 80 spaces of refuge accommodation, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA’s) services, hospital IDVA’s and community Outreach services, Clarion uses their expertise to engage with local charities, voluntary agencies and businesses to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the impact it has on individuals and families. Clarion also delivers a range of essential domestic abuse training programmes to professionals including mental health nurses, GPs, the police, local authorities and other key partner agencies.

Website – www.clarionhg.com

Twitter – twitter.com/Clarion_Group

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/company/clarion-housing-group

Look Ahead

Look Ahead offers a wide range of specialist domestic abuse services.

They provide expert care and support to both female and male survivors of domestic abuse in west Kent, enabling individuals to regain their confidence and rebuild their lives.

Look Ahead’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) work in their refuges and out in the community – all with many years’ experience in the field and run support groups and specialist programmes for those who have experienced domestic abuse.

Look Ahead can offer overnight emergency accommodation to those in immediate danger and offer help for domestic abuse survivors who want to stay in their own homes with security measures, including fitting window locks and door bars. Welfare support is also offered with food and travel vouchers provided.

They run cyber stalking advice clinics together with their partner Protection Against Stalking and the Cyber Helpline, offering expert advice on online safety measures, while they are also educating businesses on keeping their employees safe.

At Look Ahead we are also experts in delivering mental health, homelessness, learning disabilities, and young peoples’ services.

Look Ahead supports thousands of people across London and the South East. People coming to stay with Look Ahead have a range of life experiences, but whatever their background, we believe in working in partnership with each individual to empower them to take control of their lives.

Website – www.lookahead.org.uk

Twitter – twitter.com/lookaheadtweets

Facebook – facebook.com/LookAheadFB

Linkedin – linkedin.com/company/lookahead

Oasis Domestic Abuse Service

Oasis supports families affected by or at risk of domestic abuse in East Kent and offers a comprehensive range of services in Thanet and Dover, including 2 refuges for women and children forced to flee their homes. Oasis’s adult services also include community outreach for male and female victims, including an IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Adviser) Service for those at high risk of serious harm, support in the criminal and family courts, groupwork programmes for women who are still in abusive relationships as well as those who have left, a weekly support group, a Peer Mentoring service and an employability programme offering retail experience in our boutique charity shop.

Oasis Domestic Abuse Service works with children and adolescents who have been affected by domestic abuse in their family home, who are at risk in their own intimate relationships or who are already using violence themselves. Oasis delivers workshops in schools to educate young people about the nature of healthy relationships as well as complex issues relating to consent, grooming, exploitation and online safety. They recently launched ‘Oasis Consults’, their consultancy service supporting small local charities with organisational development.

Last year was Oasis’s 25th year of operation; their experience in developing services to meet the needs of the community is longstanding and vast. Oasis are proud to have been chosen as Kent Charity of the Year 2019 at the Kent Charity Awards in recognition of their work.

Website – www.oasisdaservice.org

Twitter – twitter.com/oasisdaservice

Facebook – facebook.com/workingtoendviolenceandabuse

Instagram – instagram.com/oasisdomesticabuseservice

Victim Support

Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting people affected by crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales, and we put them at the heart of our organisation. Their support and campaigns are informed and shaped by those people and their experiences.

Victim Support provides specialist services to help people cope and recover and to empower them to ensure their voices are heard individually and collectively at a local and national level.

These services help people affected by all types of crime and provide free confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for people affected by crime and traumatic events — regardless of whether they have reported the crime to the police or when it occurred and for as long as it is needed.

Most of Victim Support’s services are delivered locally through skilled staff and volunteers who are deeply rooted in their communities. They adapt their services to meet local need and pride themselves on being responsive to local demands. These services are closely linked into the National Homicide Service providing a dedicated, comprehensive service for those bereaved by murder and manslaughter and our national Supportline.

Victim Support are an independent charity and their unrivalled national overview gives them the ability to share best practice and innovate in their services as well as champion victims’ rights from a strong evidence base.

Website – www.victimsupport.org.uk

Twitter – twitter.com/VictimSupport & twitter.com/VS_Kent

Facebook – facebook.com/victimsupport

Instagram – instagram.com/victimsupport_uk

Domestic abuse is everybody’s business – council supports awareness raising campaign was last modified: November 10th, 2020 by Justine Wingate