A NEW approach to supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse has been launched in West Sussex.
The three-year programme adopts a whole family approach and has been developed by survivors of domestic abuse.
The partnership between West Sussex County Council, UK-wide domestic abuse charity SafeLives, and specialist frontline services makes West Sussex one of only two areas in the country to pilot the work.
The West Sussex Connect project will provide a package of support for individuals and families experiencing domestic abuse, helping people recognise the signs of abuse before it escalates and offer a range of new interventions to address needs.
Specialist support will be given to children and young people as well as those with complex needs, such as substance misuse and mental ill health. Support will also be given to people who are still in a relationship or living with the perpetrator of abuse. As part of the work, a project is also underway to work directly with perpetrators to challenge their behaviour and encourage change.
Cllr Debbie Kennard, the county council’s cabinet member for safer stronger communities, said: “We are delighted to be working with SafeLives and other partners on this innovative programme which will develop complete care pathways to support victims and help them recover from harm. West Sussex Connect will enhance the established high-risk domestic abuse services we already offer to some of the most vulnerable people in West Sussex and will be driven by their voices throughout.”
The three-year West Sussex Connect pilot officially began last week with a launch event in Chichester. Representatives from each of the partners gave speeches around the work, including Rachel Williams, a SafeLives Pioneer and domestic abuse survivor.
Talking about the project, Rachel, pictured below, said: “As a survivor myself of domestic abuse and violence, whilst I was on my own journey to freedom, no one ever asked me what ‘I’ wanted.
“Some services presume that they know what is right for those sadly finding themselves on similar journeys, without actually taking the time to ask them. I am elated to say that Connect is a result of asking what the victims and survivors want and need.”
The work will be delivered by The YOU Trust, Aurora New Dawn, The Hampton Trust and the eight Connect members of staff.
To get support for domestic abuse across West Sussex, phone 07834 968539 or 033 022 28181 or email: DomesticAbuseServicesCentral@westsussex.gov.uk. Dial 999 in an emergency.