Unique Dorset Refuge Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Delighted, the YOU Trust celebrates the 1st Anniversary of our independent, unique Dorset refuge. You First, YOU’s Hidden Violence and Abuse Services, operates the refuge in partnership with Sovereign Housing. We thank Sovereign for their continued support for this innovative project. Together, we provide a safe space for those unable to access a traditional refuge.

In contrast to norms, the project supports and provides refuge to men. It also accepts women with teenage boys (over the age of 15), LGBTQ+ couples, and couples fleeing Honour-Based Violence. Further, we provide bespoke domestic abuse support to the community in our group room and drop-in space.

First Year Impact of Our Dorset Refuge

The refuge received more than 30 referrals for accommodation in its first year. Consequently, we supported couples fleeing Honour-Based Violence, women with older male children, and fathers with children. Significantly, this service has provided safe housing for men escaping domestic abuse. This included people in same sex relationships and those identifying as LGBTQ+.

YOU provides individual, innovative services, bespoke to each person. We can support many more people fleeing domestic violence and abuse through our independent Dorset refuge. Amazing partnership work in Dorset has made this remarkable achievement possible. It is also down to the brilliant support we have from so many people and groups in the community.

Tonia Redvers, Head of Hidden Violence and Abuse Services at YOU, said “I am thrilled that working in partnership with Sovereign for many years has resulted in being able to offer safe spaces and individual support to everyone in our communities. We have long advocated for safe accommodation for people unable to access traditional refuges. Sovereign’s belief in our vision has made this a reality.  Further, the Dorset team’s work with national partners such as Karma Nirvana has been very positive.”

Katie Bielec, Service Manager for You First Dorset said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for those who are experiencing domestic abuse and need to leave their homes. We have been incredibly lucky to have such support from our partner agencies and the community to run this refuge. We are proud of the work we have achieved. Without this provision, our clients may have had to stay in an abusive home facing escalating risk.”

Reflecting on the difference that the service has made, residents jointly stated: “Everyone matters. You’re not alone. Everyone feels as if they are valued, regardless of who you are. It gave us hope.”

The Power of Partnership Working and Community Support

Helen Hann, Sovereign Housing Divisional Director, commented on the project. “We’re delighted that the YOU Trust is providing such a valuable service in North Dorset and that so many families and individuals have been supported with safe and secure accommodation, regardless of sex or gender, thanks to this initiative.

“This site emphasises Sovereign’s commitment to working with valued partners in the provision of housing for people with specific support needs. We’ll continue to work closely with the YOU Trust and other providers in the future.”

We welcomed Councillor Roger Carter, Town Mayor for Blandford, to the service. Following his visit, he said: “Many people are aware of refuges for women – sometimes with children – who have suffered intolerable abuse and need safe places to recuperate and, with targeted help, rebuild their lives.

“What is less well known is that there are many vulnerable men who have also suffered similar abuse and require the same safe places and the same help. We are fortunate in Blandford, long known for its friendliness and hospitality, to have such a refuge run by the YOU Trust that does just this.

“It was a great pleasure for me to help them celebrate being open for a year and to witness first-hand the wonderful work they do rebuilding lives. I wish the refuge continued success, perhaps with proper government recognition, in the years to come.”

Reaching You First

Over the last 4 years across Dorset, You First has supported more than 4,000 women, men and children. We’ve done this whilst also providing guidance and support to family and friends. Whereas traditional refuges might exclude you, our Dorset refuge might offer a solution, depending upon your circumstance.

You First’s dedicated team will help anyone experiencing domestic violence and abuse in Dorset. Anyone wanting advice and support can call the 24-hour free phone number, 0800 032 5204. If you know or suspect someone lives with domestic abuse, You First can give you advice on how to support that person.

In an emergency, call 999.

Addressing Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse

As the new provider for Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse and Sexual Crime services, You First faces real challenges. For example, the number of sexual offences recorded on the Island was four times higher in 2018 than 2003. Over the same period, stalking and harassment offences grew by more than 14 times. Together, police recorded 1,366 such offences for the year ending September 2018. Often, these occur within a relationship. Clearly, there is a great need to face these issues head on.

Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse – It’s Not OK

Sadly, the number of people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence is much larger, due to chronic under-reporting. Many groups and campaigns have pressed these issues to the public. As a result, the subject has become less taboo. Notably, the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership is supporting events for one such campaign this week.

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week seeks to give victims a voice and to highlight that It’s Not OK. It’s Not OK for people to commit these crimes; It’s Not OK that people affected by sexual abuse in a relationship feel unable to access help; and, It’s Not OK for any of us to stand by and allow this to continue.

Individuals, organisations, and voluntary agencies are using the hashtag #ItsNotOK on social media. Through this, they are sharing their stories, information, and details of related events. If you would find it helpful, please explore these posts.

Developing Our Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse Services

While we are professionals, we passionately believe that stopping sexual violence is everyone’s business. A new definition of domestic abuse in the Government’s draft domestic abuse bill and community-based approaches offer hope. The YOU Trust has secured grant funding to bring two proven programmes to the Island.

Firstly, the funding will help us to reach people affected by sexual violence in isolated communities. The Dragonfly Project, which we have run in Dorset, works to weave a network of support within the fabric of a community. To this end, people and businesses receive training to become befrienders, or champions. In that role, they listen and offer support, providing victims with the information they need to move forward.

The second of these new additions is the growth of Hampshire’s Making Safe Scheme. Under the scheme, where risk-appropriate, security measures are added to one’s home. As a result, those who might otherwise have to flee due to risk of domestic violence can instead remain in their home. This offers cost-savings for agencies and local authorities. But, most importantly, it lessens the disruption of the lives of the people and children affected by domestic abuse, whilst keeping them safe.

Where to Turn

If you think you might be or suspect someone else might be experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, we can help. Whether you just have questions, or you need support, our team will be glad to assist.

Call 0800 234 6266, or e-mail youfirstIOW@theyoutrust.org.uk.

Finally, if it is an emergency, dial 999 immediately.

£1.3m Grant As Government Reveals Domestic Abuse Bill

Domestic Violence Grant Funding for The YOU Trust from MHCLG

Government Releases Landmark Draft Domestic Abuse Bill

Domestic abuse is a traumatic crime that often occurs where safety should be taken for granted. For example, in one’s home or in a once loving relationship. It makes home a place of danger, not safety – even without physical harm. The government’s recently published draft Domestic Abuse Bill recognises these hidden threats. For the first time, the statutory definition of domestic abuse would include coercive control, manipulation, and economic forms of non-physical abuse.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said: “The draft Domestic Abuse bill recognises the complex nature of these horrific crimes and puts the needs of victims and their families at the forefront.”

This is an important step because it would bring the law closer to the reality people live with. Likewise, it will help agencies to better protect people affected by domestic violence.

£1.3m MHCLG Grant for Domestic Abuse

The YOU Trust has helped to secure £1,297,125 to support those experiencing domestic abuse in Hampshire, Dorset, and the Isle of Wight. YOU were part of an innovative project bid led by Hart District Council.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government sought bids that would keep domestic abuse victims safe in their own homes. They also focused on early interventions and preventive measures because this is key to achieving lasting change. The grant will continue and grow the successful Making Safe Scheme, launched in 2015.

Under the scheme, YOU Trust outreach workers add security measures into homes where someone is at risk. Firstly, the MHCLG grant funds an 18-month extension of the scheme. Secondly, it brings the effective practice to Dorset and the Isle of Wight. Finally, it allows new initiatives to be tried.

YOU’s Dorset-based Isolated Communities Engagement Project (Dragonfly Project) will expand to West Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The project builds support into the community, empowering victims and enabling earlier intervention. A bespoke Health team will work across hospital and GP surgeries, and out in the community. We hope that victims will come forward, confident in finding the support they need due to the new definition laid out in the draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

Additional bed spaces will be available in refuges within all three counties for those who need to flee. Further, YOU has opened an independent refuge for single men, men with children and couples escaping domestic abuse. Another benefit of the funding is that it pays for 22 additional health workers, domestic abuse specialists, and refuge workers.

Why Funding Matters

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said: “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime, which shatters the lives of survivors and their families. It is our duty to ensure survivors can seek help by providing the support they need to restart their lives.

Through providing specialist accommodation and access to employment, this fund will make sure local authorities and charities can provide a strong safety net for anyone facing the threat of abuse in their own home.”

Tonia Redvers, Head of Hidden Violence and Counselling Services at YOU said, “We are thrilled that our work continues to receive national recognition whilst we work so well with our local partners. With local funding reducing and the threat of diminished refuge bed spaces, this funding is vital to ensure there is a place for anyone who needs help and support or is escaping violence and abuse.”

If domestic abuse affects you, access free, confidential support by calling:

Hampshire 0330 016 5112

Dorset 0800 032 5204

Isle of Wight 0800 234 6266

In an emergency, please dial 999.

EASTLEIGH MP BRINGS JOY OF CHRISTMAS TO CHILDREN IN REFUGE

For women and children displaced from home by domestic violence, the holidays can be anything but happy. Taking safety in refuge, the familiar comforts and entertainments taken for granted by so many are not a primary concern. But everyone who celebrates Christmas deserves to share in the joy of the season, even if only as a brief respite from a very challenging situation.

On 23 December 2018, MP for Eastleigh, Mims Davies visited women, children, and workers at a refuge in Hampshire which is run by You First, the domestic violence and abuse service of The YOU Trust, working across West and North Hampshire, and in Dorset.

Christmas Cheer

The Minister for Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness had an opportunity to bring some of Santa’s finest gifts to the refuge for all to enjoy following a chance run-in with Father Christmas at a recent meeting with representatives of the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA). The BTHA – with Santa’s authorisation! – donated a selection of board games and toys, which MP Mims Davies delivered to the refuge, along with some tasty treats.

Funded primarily by Hampshire County Council, You First Hampshire provides free and discreet support, advice, and refuge to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Refuge services nationally face significant challenges due to a gap in resources to meet a sadly large demand and individuals’ complex individual needs.

Nationally during 2017/18, 39% of all referrals to refuge ended in access whereas in West Hampshire this figure was slightly lower, with 31% of all people referred taking up the offer of a space. However, West Hampshire is excellent at maintaining engagement with people referred for refuge spaces (91%) and being able to support people with no recourse to public funds (94%) compared to the national figures (49% and 68%, respectively).

On MP Mims Davies’ visit, Tonia Redvers, Head of Hidden Violence and Counselling Services at YOU said,

YOU have been delivering domestic abuse accommodation services for over 30 years and are so grateful that, each year, the community gathers around to support women and children who are living in refuge over Christmas. This year, Mims visit, and the support and generosity of our community, will make a significant difference to children who are living away from their home.

Being safe sometimes means being unable to speak with family or friends, and that is especially hard at this time of year when so many families come together. Knowing that someone cares means so much and helps us to support children and their mums over the festive period.  Mims has been a great supporter of YOU and our domestic abuse services. It is wonderful that she is able to visit us again, and allow us to say a great big Thank You all so very much for bringing a little cheer during the festive season

Mims said,

It was such a pleasure to embrace the holiday spirit with the women, children, and workers at the refuge. We all share a wish for a brighter future, free from fear of domestic violence. Refuge services offer a safe haven on the journey toward that goal, and we should all take time to think of those who are unable to be home for Christmas.”

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Hampshire can access free, confidential support by calling 0330 016 5112. In an emergency, please dial 999.

Talking about Social Prescribing in Portsmouth

Ellenor Gray, the Manager for our new Social Prescribing and My Time Service in Portsmouth appeared on Express FM to chat with Miles Henson about how this service can support you. We have worked in the city for over 30 years, so are passionately Portsmouth, too.

My Time

My Time supports carers, helping them to have a break, as we know caring can be quite challenging. Our staff and volunteers are flexible. They  will work with you to create a plan of activities and outings that your loved one might like to do on a good day. We will also plan alternatives for quiet days.

Social Prescribing

The Social Prescribing service helps people with their mental health. The approach prescribes a holistic response to people’s needs through an alternative activity rather than medication. They support people whose health and wellbeing are affected by financial pressures, social isolation or lack of confidence.

Check out the link below to hear her speak and to find out more information!

https://www.expressfm.com/programmes/podcasts/business-express-with-miles-henson/episode/ellenor-gray-from-my-time-and-social-prescribing/

Would you like to refer to one of these services? Visit their page for contact details: http://theyoutrust.org.uk/service/social-care-services/

Portsmouth to receive share of £4.5m to help tackle social isolation

Portsmouth is to receive a share of nearly £4.5m government funding for an innovative scheme to help tackle social isolation.

Local charity The YOU Trust, supported by NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Portsmouth City Council, are one of just 23 programmes to receive funding from the Department of Health and Social Care Health and Wellbeing Fund.

The new service will be run by the trust and offer what is known as social prescribing – which aims to support people with a range of social, emotional or practical needs by improving their mental health and physical well-being.

Nicola Youern, the trust’s Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to bring this funding to Portsmouth and to work with GPs across the city to support the health and well-being of their patients. At a time when the NHS, local GPs and councils are facing enormous pressure, innovative approaches to public health are needed.

“People are experts in their own lives, but can become isolated because of health or other personal circumstances. This is all about empowering people to explore their options and decide on a plan that’s right for them.”

Cllr Matthew Winnington, the council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said: “The needs of our city are changing – social isolation has a huge impact on both individuals and health and social care systems.

“We’re thrilled that this scheme has secured funding. Not only will it make a difference to local people, it’s also an exciting opportunity for the statutory and voluntary sector to work together to build something better for the future.”

The service is expected to start this autumn and will build on the work achieved by the Action Portsmouth (a project run by Action Hampshire) signposting service, which has successfully signposted hundreds of people to a range of community resources that provide social, emotional or practical support, including art and dance groups, housing advice and lunch and gardening clubs.

Dr Linda Collie, the CCG’s Chief Clinical Officer, said: “We would like to formally thank Action Portsmouth for delivering this signposting service with such commitment over the last few years.

“GPs and other health and social care professionals will be able to refer patients to the service. The YOU Trust team will work with individuals to agree goals tailored to their needs – whether that’s attending a local luncheon club, learning a new skill or volunteering.”

New partnership to support families living with domestic abuse in West Sussex

Written by SafeLives:

28th June 2018

National domestic abuse charity SafeLives and West Sussex County Council are pleased to be working with The YOU Trust, Aurora New Dawn and The Hampton Trust to pilot new approaches in West Sussex to support individuals and whole families experiencing domestic abuse.   

We know, through our work with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, that there are inconsistencies nationally in the support available for people experiencing domestic abuse. Over the next three years, this new partnership will trial innovative approaches, creating a much needed national database to fill the gaps in the response to domestic abuse and amplifying the voices of those who are rarely heard.

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

We recognise that nationally, services are often only able to respond to part of the picture around domestic abuse. At the heart of this pilot is a commitment to work in partnership with existing services across West Sussex to enhance the response for individuals and whole families.

The interventions will form a package of support, taking into account the needs of each person experiencing domestic abuse and offering a tailored response. 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.

This work builds on SafeLives’ Beacon approach: creating lasting change by seeing the whole picture for the whole family.

SafeLives Chief Executive, Suzanne Jacob said: 

“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% 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. 

“For the last two years we’ve worked incredibly hard, alongside our expert partners and hundreds of victims and survivors to identify some of the inconsistencies that exist nationally in the response to domestic abuse. The learning from this pilot will help us develop ways of reducing these inconsistencies so that every person affected by domestic abuse – no matter who they are, or where they live – can receive the right response to make them safe and well.  

“The appointment of The YOU Trust, Aurora New Dawn and The Hampton Trust signals the next stage in the development of this work. We look forward to working together to help more victims, survivors and children become safe sooner.”

Jo Millward, West Sussex County Council Service Leader – 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. 

“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.” 

 in partnership with  

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.  

“We are equally thrilled that our consortium bid with Aurora and Hampton Trust was the winning bid as we have worked together with proven outcomes over many years. Both our consortium partners have been involved in the development of SafeLives’ Beacon approach: Aurora New Dawn were an expert partner supporting SafeLives in the research and development of this project, while The Hampton Trust are currently working with SafeLives in West Sussex to deliver Drive, a pilot project to challenge and hold high harm perpetrators to account for their behaviour. This new project has given us the opportunity to bring to West Sussex our combined expertise and to work closely with existing services to deliver these researched interventions to address domestic violence and abuse. 

“We know that a whole family approach, working with women, men and children, whether they are victims or perpetrators is vital to create a safe environment for individuals and families to improve outcomes and help people thrive.” 

This project would not be possible without substantial funding from West Sussex County Council, Big Lottery Fund Women and Girls Initiative and further funding from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Peter Cundill Foundation and The Aurum Charitable Trust.