The support needs of people who have experienced domestic abuse: a report for Cumbria County Council

Snell, Laura, Grimwood, Tom and Goodwin, Victoria (2021) The support needs of people who have experienced domestic abuse: a report for Cumbria County Council. HASKE. (Unpublished) Item availability may be restricted.

[thumbnail of (2021, Oct) The support needs of people who experience domestic abuse_Report.pdf] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License CC BY-NC

Download (538kB) | Contact the author

Abstract

Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE) was commissioned by Cumbria County Council to explore the lived experiences of people who have experienced domestic abuse and received support in safe accommodation across Cumbria, along with the experiences of those who chose not to, or were unable to, access support in accommodation-based settings.

Methodology:
This project involved three stages:
1. Scoping conversations with leads in Cumbrian organisations providing safe accommodation and support for people who have experienced domestic abuse.
2. Qualitative interviews with people who have experienced domestic abuse and accessed supported accommodation across Cumbria, along with those who have accessed support that was not accommodation-based.
3. Online survey of frontline workers who provide safe accommodation and support to people who experience domestic abuse across Cumbria.

Findings:
In the qualitative interviews, the participants (n=7) described their experiences of domestic abuse, which included physical and sexual abuse, economic abuse, emotional abuse, controlling and coercive behaviour. They then discussed their experiences of the support they had accessed.
• The participants described the different types of support they received from statutory and non-statutory organisations across Cumbria, which consisted of practical support with housing; education about domestic abuse; legal advice and financial support; counselling and therapy; peer support; advocacy support; and support for children.
• It was evident that the participants felt that the support they received from the various service providers across Cumbria had a positive impact on their lives.
• At the same time, common limitations of support included inconsistency of service provision, a lack of joined-up processes which meant having to retell their stories to each organisation they engaged with, and a perceived lack of compassion from staff they worked with.
• Participants suggested that service providers need to raise the general public’s awareness of the types of support and safe accommodation available to people fleeing domestic abuse, and ensure that they have access to free financial and legal advice, including information about legal aid. There were further suggestions around the need for more resource-intensive improvements, such as introducing 24-hour staffing of safe accommodation, and a women’s refuge in West Cumbria.

The survey of service providers was completed by 23 respondents who worked at the frontline of delivering support to people who have experienced domestic abuse.
• 83% of the survey respondents felt that the current support provision does not meet all the needs of people who have experienced domestic abuse; in contrast, only 17% of respondents felt that the current support provision met service users’ needs.
• Views varied on support across the regions of Cumbria. Respondents reflected positively on services in the Carlisle area, while there were mixed responses in the more rural areas of the county.
• The survey findings show that many service providers assess the support needs of someone who has experienced domestic abuse by undertaking a DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-Based Violence) risk assessment. 65% of respondents indicated that they complete a needs assessment/support plan/action plan with their clients and then make referrals as appropriate. The assessment process was typically described as a verbal or written conversation with the client, during which the service provider will “make observations”, “listen to the client” and “build up a relationship with trust with the victim.”
• The service providers identified several factors that enable them to provide appropriate support to people who have experienced domestic abuse, such as knowledge and training, empathy, adequate funding and resources, partnership working, and the service user being ready to engage with support.
• The survey respondents identified several challenges when supporting people who experience domestic abuse, such as: providing access to suitable accommodation and support, long waiting lists, a lack of funding, staffing issues, working with other services, and service user engagement.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: HASKE
Departments: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Depositing User: Laura Snell
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 10:20
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2022 11:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6569

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item