As family law lawyers, we provide a range of specialist legal advice to our clients surrounding relationship breakdowns. Involved within that skill set is recognising those vulnerable individuals (and their families) needing advice and support to protect their safety and wellbeing.
Vulnerable individuals often have a range of complex needs and have experienced multiple types of abuse. We advise clients about the options available to them:
- Whether urgent Court action is required
- Safety planning and whom should be involved in this
- Consideration of whether a place of safety is required (how can this be provided)
- The different routes for personal protection (through the police and criminal courts or through the civil/family courts – Domestic abuse can affect anyone)
- The availability of Legal Aid/cost involved,
- Whether a warning letter is appropriate,
- Whether they need signposting to one of the domestic sexual violence and abuse support services.
- Specialist counselling – including couple counselling or individual, housing advice, debt advice, financial advice/benefits advice.
Knowledge of which services are available to provide support to the individual and their family in the community over and above our legal advice, is key. Being able to work in partnership and signpost our clients to appropriate services, which complement and extend the service we provide our clients, helps to bring about a positive long term outcome for our clients.
Our local Domestic Sexual Violence and Abuse support services provide a range of specialist support, including Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs). They offer support for emergency situations, offering and/or coordinating places of safety and providing trauma sensitive services. They assist the individual to access services appropriate to their needs and support them through the Court process; Criminal and Civil/Family Courts, assist accessing mental health services/children’s services/housing/specialist counselling and offer general support.
Local support services offer short term and medium term support and remain available for further support if required. They work with statutory, voluntary and community Agencies and Services to target prevention, early intervention, recover and support and protection. They deliver multi-agency training to members of the statutory, voluntary and community sector, to make sure that they can identify and respond appropriately and effectively to individuals who are experiencing violence or have suffered sexual abuse. They offer training to victims of domestic abuse to help them identify abusive behaviour (changing pattern courses). They also provide help and support through Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes to individuals who have accepted that their behaviour is inappropriate and that they are perpetrators of domestic violence, as well as offering tool kits and training sessions to schools and pupils.
Some of the key Domestic Violence Sexual Abuse support services are charities, funded through fund raising, funding bids, Big Lottery Projects, donations, some Local Government contracts for services. These charities can only provide services if they have the funds available.
How we help
To assist a few of our local independent charitable Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse support services we hold a cream tea fundraising event two or three times a year. The events help to raise the profile of the support services and are an opportunity for people to meet in a social setting. They build relationships and links with professional and those interested in promoting a “system that protects and supports anyone experiencing domestic sexual violence and abuse and challenges and holds to account people who perpetrate domestic sexual violence and abuse”. This is one of the ambitions for Devon Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse (DSVA) Alliance.
For the past few years, our chosen Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Support Services have been Splitz, SAFE and SEEDs. Sadly, SEEDs, like a lot of services, has now ceased to exist, so we now support Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Service in their stead.
Splitz Support Service
Splitz provides “domestic abuse support services and has a key role in shaping strategy and policy through participation in local strategy groups, domestic abuse forums and lobbying local, regional and national government”. They offer “one to one support to adult victims of domestic abuse who are at medium and high risk of harm of domestic abuse. The risk level is based on the DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Honour Based Violence) risk assessment”; manage the process of referral into the places of safety; offer the Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme to promote change in abusive/harmful behaviour; tool kits for schools for healthy relationships; “one to one support for children and young people who have been exposed to domestic abuse and/or are experiencing domestic abuse in their own relationship either from a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a family member”.
Tel 0345 155 1070/ Enquiries: [email protected]/ www.splitz.org/devon-services
SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) offer a wide range of services to support victims of domestic abuse in and around Devon. SAFE offers services to accommodate the whole family. They offer Court support, one to one support, counselling, staying safe/safety planning; provide Pattern Changing Course to victims of domestic abuse, support for children and families.
Tel 030 30 30 0112 / www.safe-services.org.uk
Devon Rape Crisis
Devon Rape Crisis offers confidential, professional support to survivors of rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. They have offices in Torbay, Barnstaple and Exeter and offer appointments in 24 other places. They work with old trauma and terror. They agree the aims and pace with the individual.
Helpline 01392 204 174 / email: [email protected]
We have also given donation of Advent Calendars and Easter Eggs to North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA), which has been running for 41 years. This domestic support service provides refuge to women and children and offers support and help; IDVA services; pattern changing course; Grow Together course.
Tel 01271 370079 / email [email protected]
If you or someone you know needs help, information or advice in respect of domestic abuse, please call Susan on 01392 457162.
- Devon County Council https://new.devon.gov.uk/dsva/]
- Devon’s domestic abuse helpline 0345 155 1074
- Rape Crisis helpline 0808 802 9999
- National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247