Our aim is simple, we aspire to live in a world that is free from domestic abuse, sexual violence, and stalking and harassment and we are committed to helping to stop these behaviours. We do this by offering community and accommodation based support to victims and survivors and also to people using harmful behaviours in their relationships. We work with adults and children, individuals and families.
Who we are
We are a dedicated and diverse team of people, some with lived experience and some with learned experience. We are passionate about what we do together with women, men, and children who are living with abuse. Our foundations are in supporting women, starting with a refuge in Portsmouth supporting women and children along with single women’s safe houses where we could support women more effectively if they had additional complexities such as substance misuse or mental ill health.
In 2010 we changed our model to meet the changing face of domestic abuse and opened our doors to male victims. We embraced our learning and working with women and men from diverse communities and increased our knowledge about how domestic abuse can be affected by intersecting issues such as BAME, LGBTQ+ and where you lived. Many of our teams work in rural communities, where people face very different circumstances than in urban areas.
We grew and developed in response to knowledge gained, information received, feedback from clients, volunteers, commissioners, other stakeholders, and staff. Along with our own learning from the training we received and went on to deliver. We are part of a national network of accredited domestic abuse services, ensuring all we do is based on the needs of each person we work with and underpinned by national best practice.
Where do we work?
We currently work in West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset, and Somerset.
We have a range of refuges and safe houses, including accommodation for men, fathers with children, women with older male children, and people who self ID where a traditional refuge is not right for them.
We also have a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) safe house where we support women who are at risk of exploitation and violence.
Our team are able to offer a large range of support interventions, contact us to see what we do in your area:
- Refuge and Safe Houses
- Target Hardening (helping you stay safely in your own home)
- Whole family support
- Stalking advice and support
- Securing legal options
- Practical and emotional support
- Accredited recovery groups
- Range of educational groups
- Accredited perpetrator programme (people causing harm)
What we do (adults)
Each member of You First has a passion for working with people in a trauma informed way, working with you as an individual. We will:
- Work with you to identify your strengths
- Work with you to understand what you want
- Ensure you are central to your own safety and support
- Ensure that safety remains central to all we do
- Advocate for and with you at meetings
- Work in partnership with you and others to achieve your goals to live safely
- Be effective and trustworthy
What we do (children and young people)
We have a team of specialist children and young people workers within all our teams, they will:
- Talk to you and your parent/carer (if appropriate) to understand what you want
- Work with you on a regular basis through a range of activities to help you come to terms with your experiences
- Attend meetings with you and advocate on your behalf where needed
- Help your parent/carer understand the impact that violence and abuse has had on you
- Give you a space to talk
What we do (people causing harm, perpetrators, and instigators)
We have a team of specialist workers who engage only with the person causing harm, whether as an adult within their own intimate relationship or as a young instigator causing harm at home. We know that many people who use harmful behaviours in their own relationships are not happy with their behaviour and want to stop. We can help:
- Our team will talk with you and explore your behaviours
- Young people will work with our specialist young persons’ team
- Adults will work with our Behaviour Change team
- We have a range of individual sessions and group work
- We will complete an assessment with you, discussing your behaviours and what you want to change
- We can contact other people you live with and support them, too