NSPCC calls for the law to recognise children as victims of DV

Data suggests that around 250,000 children currently living with domestic violence in England but they are not treated as victims. The NSPCC is calling for a change in the law to recognise the life long effects of experiencing DV in the household as a child.

They commented that the current proposals “ignore the effect growing up in abusive households has on children” and leaves them without support.

The NSPCC said the situation could be legally recognised in the government’s Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper. A consultation closed in May 2018 but the government have yet to publish the outcome of this consultation. A further argument is  that giving children legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would allow increased use of protection orders, help professionals intervene and authorities to provide trauma services.

You can read more here.

England hospital admissions for addiction soar as treatment budgets are reduced



Jonathan Ashworth (Shadow health secretary) UK.

The Guardian has reported that more than half of the local authorities in England have cut their budgets for alcohol and drug treatment, even though admissions to hospital for problems related to addiction are soaring, say MPs.

Liam Byrne, the chair of the cross-party parliamentary group for children of alcoholics, and Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, have both spoken of the trauma of growing up with an alcoholic father. They are among a number of MPS who are challenging the cuts.

The data comes from a freedom of information (FoI) request by Byrne to local authorities, which are responsible for drug and alcohol treatment in their areas while stuggling to provide recources with huge cuts to budgets.

Bryne commented “Every child of an alcoholic comes to learn the brutal hard way that we can’t change things for our parents, but we can change things for our children,”.

This data has been indicating that alcohol-related hospital admissions are up by 13%, which constitutes 39,000 more in 2018 than in 2009. This is occuring alongside alcohol treatment budgets being cut by 4%.

You can read more here.

DRIVE Project domestic abuse intervention year two results published

The Drive Project launched in April 2016 and is being piloted in three areas across England and Wales from 2016-2019. It is being developed and run as part of a partnership between Respect, SafeLives, and Social Finance in collaboration with the PCCs, local authorities, and service providers, and delivered by DVIP (division of Richmond Fellowship), Hampton Trust, Safer Merthyr Tydfil, and the Change Project.

Drive targets the perpetrators of domestic abuse and improves outcomes for victims and children. The key objectives are to: reduce the number of serial perpetrators of domestic abuse; reduce the number of repeat and new victims; reduce the harm caused to victims and children; intervene earlier to safeguard families living with high-harm domestic abuse.

The University of Bristol, acting as independent evaluators for the pilot, have now reported on their second year findings from Drive. The aim of the University’s first year’s feasibility study was to determine whether the intervention could be safely delivered and ensure that sufficient data could be captured to enable evaluation. The Year 2 evaluation is an interim report assessing outcome findings to date and developing a deeper understanding of the model. The Year 3 evaluation, which is currently underway and due at the end of 2019, will focus on a full evaluation, over the three-year pilot period, of outcomes, process, and cost-benefit analysis.

Indicative findings are continuing to be positive, demonstrating that Drive is reducing harm to victims and children by targeting perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Please click here to read the executive summary that highlights these key findings.

UK Government tendering for the development of a training for professionals working on DV

The Secretary of State for the Home Department in the UK is tendering for the development of a written training pack to support frontline professionals working with people who may be victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse who are also experiencing alcohol misuse. The frontline professionals and practitioners that this training pack will support are those working in domestic abuse or alcohol treatment services, GPs and police. Levels of knowledge and experience of domestic abuse, alcohol misuse and the interplay between them is likely to vary between professionals in these groups, depending on the primary role and focus of the service in which they work.

The purpose of the training materials is to:
• raise awareness of the impact alcohol misuse can have in relationships where domestic abuse is present;
• encourage practitioners to actively seek to identify where alcohol misuse and domestic abuse are co-occurring and to give pointers on signs, risk assessment and responses covering both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse; and
• encourage greater join-up between alcohol and domestic abuse services and engagement by GPs and police through the incorporation of these materials into training and practice.

The closing date is 12th February 2019.

To find out more click here.

New report published detailing accounts of survivors of multiple disadvantage including domestic abuse

The report ‘Hand in Hand’ was co-produced by peer researchers with the charities AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) and Agenda, the alliance for Women and Girls at Risk, for the National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage.

The peer researchers were made up of 11 survivors of domestic and/or sexual abuse. The report is based on their interviews with women facing ‘multiple disadvantage’ – who have experienced violence and abuse, and continue to face issues like homelessness, mental ill-health and substance use.

The report found 1/3 of the women involved had received a mental health diagnosis, just under a 1/3 described using drugs to cope with their situation and 1/4 reported that social services were involved with their children. Chlo Winfield (a peer researcher on the project) commented that:

“Our report paints a bleak picture for the most disadvantaged women – with too many falling through gaps due to service failures, cuts to support and ever-increasing thresholds for getting help,”