A new service that aims to tackle domestic abuse in Somerset launches in April 2023. Somerset County Council’s domestic abuse service, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS), incorporates new investment in safe houses and additional support to victims, people causing hard and children throughout Somerset.
Cllr Adam Dance, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Public Health, said:
This is a strong and timely step forward in Somerset’s ability to support victims of domestic abuse.
Police data shows that in Somerset, 38.7% of all violent offences are domestic abuse related. We also know that there has been an increase in the number of domestic abuse related deaths in Somerset since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
By commissioning specialist support for people experiencing domestic abuse, their families, and those who cause harm, we are working to stop the cycle of abuse and prevent repeat offending, while offering essential safety planning for those in the highest need.
Tonia Redvers, YOU Director, responsible for domestic abuse services and leading YOU’s domestic abuse teams said:
We are thrilled to have been awarded the contract to lead the domestic abuse teams across Somerset. This contract means we can build on the work we started during COVID in 2020 to support adults and children victims and survivors. This contract includes our work with people causing harm, and new interventions such as, building an animal fostering scheme, volunteers, and a Survivors Voice Forum. The team are excited to continue their work in Somerset with our new colleagues at Julian House and Fearless.
In the first week of May, the support hub will open its doors to everyone, and offer one-on-one support between 5pm and 8pm. It’s also launching a number of pop-up hubs across the county offering more people face-to-face support. These hubs will be located at:
Chard Library, Holyrood Street, Chard, TA20 2YA – every 2nd Thursday of the month 10-1pm
Wincanton Library, Carrington Way, Wincanton BA9 9JS – 1st Thursday of every month 10-1pm
Frome Library, Justice Lane, Frome BA11 1BE – every 3rd Thursday of the month 10 -1pm
SIDAS will be working with schools, businesses and other organisations to increase awareness of the signs of domestic abuse and how to respond to it.
The contract for the service was awarded to providers last year, following a rigorous procurement process. It will ensure Somerset County Council is able to provide sufficient safe accommodation and support for women, men and children experiencing domestic abuse.
There are five elements that have been awarded to three organisations:
- Central Hub – The You Trust – Providing a place of contact for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. The Central Hub will coordinate those peoples’ support, ensuring they get the best service
- Children and Young People – The You Trust– Specialist support for children and young people who have experienced or witnessed abuse
- Advocacy and Support – The You Trust – Providing one-to-one and group support for victims of domestic abuse
- Safe Accommodation – Julian House – Providing an increased range of safe accommodation options for people of all genders with or without children who are fleeing domestic abuse
- Counselling for adults and children who are in Safe Accommodation – Fearless
James Dore, SIDAS Strategic Manager from PARAGON, said:
We are pleased to be working with Fearless and Julian House, to provide this new and expanded service. Working together we will be able to help more people than ever before.