This is an important service in the health sector where we are able to reach and support many hidden victims who do not necessarily report to the police. While they may not report to the police, many victims are accessing health services for one reason or another and while they are in hospital it is crucial to offer domestic abuse support before a situation escalates. Therefore, a significant part of the project is to train NHS staff to be more aware of domestic abuse. The training staff receive includes how to ask if someone is experiencing abuse, how to encourage disclosures, spotting the signs of domestic abuse whether physical or behavioural, and how to offer a referral for support. We understand that it can be hard to talk about abuse and this is something our advocates are trying to change across Hampshire Hospitals.
We hope that the government and healthcare sector recognise the value of having domestic abuse advocates within hospitals and other health settings. This project has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented further abuse from happening. We believe it’s an essential service for victims and we couldn’t be prouder of our staff involved in this project.