Supporting Domestic Violence and Abuse Victims During Crisis
Even in the midst of crisis, charities, large and small, keep supporting their beneficiaries. Not only has volunteering and fundraising changed, but also the societal needs. The focus has often shifted on the mental health issues associated with isolation, but less so on some other issues of living under lockdown. The cases of domestic violence and abuse, traumatizing, both mentally and physically have become a bigger issue.
Established in 1989, NIDAS is an independent specialist charity delivering Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) intervention and prevention services to the whole family across Ashfield and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. The charity supports families experiencing DVA from crisis-to-recovery by reducing the immediate risks they face and preventing further abuse from taking place, including the possibility of serious harm or even homicide.
NIDAS take a non-directive, non-judgemental approach, focusing on the safety of the whole family (aged from 5 years and above) and the choices available to all of them. These services include:
- Family Team – a specialised team in approaching and supporting the whole family
- Children and Young People’s Team – they provide specialist support using creative and age-appropriate techniques, tools and strategies.
- Court Team – the above are complemented by the Civil and Family Court Service which supports individuals, and their families/dependents, through complex, lengthy legal processes and systems.
The Family Team supports families who are the most vulnerable and at risk of experiencing DVA across Ashfield and Mansfield at the earliest stage possible, by helping them to identify unhealthy behaviours within a relationship in order to reduce harm, repeat victimisation, specialist support through the Family Courts and the impact DVA has on parents, children and young people. The aim is to make a lasting difference by breaking the cycle of abuse and preventing future incidents from occurring by delivering client lead services based on the needs, wants and choices of the whole family together.
How is the charity still supporting its beneficiaries?
It has been reported that helplines are seeing an increase in demand. However, local services are not seeing an increase in direct calls from the victim as they can’t make the calls due to fear of being overheard. Instead, charities such as NIDAS are seeing an increase in support for other ways. Practitioners are seeing more support being needed to families where there are child contact arrangements and the restrictions are increasing risk to parents who are wanting to keep children in one household for safety reasons. Another issue that NIDAS encountered is when children are residing with the perpetrator. Women have returned to the relationship to be able to see their children on a daily basis and have now resumed the DVA relationship they had already left. Practitioners are still supporting families through video and telephone chat using smartphones to enable them to still offer a programme of support.
Practitioners have also been creating resource packs to send onto clients following their sessions to aid them to have further understanding and knowledge of the session content. NIDAS have also created a COVID-19 safety pack which helps friends and families of victims of DVA to support them and understand the extreme added pressure they may be under. There have also been resource packs created for Children & Young People full of safety advice, games, and activities to support mental health and anxiety.
People should know that charities are still supporting people in need. NIDAS practitioners are also working to ensure that there is not to much pressure being put on victims of DVA to leave/end the relationship due to the increased DVA presence in the media. Victims of DVA well often live under extreme measures of control and isolation and it is important to ensure communities understand that.
NIDAS are expecting an increase in demand once restrictions are lifted and people are able to leave the house to access support. However, with the help of the public, the charity will be able to respond to more victims of DVA and provide immeasurable support to the families.
Leanne McGachan| Family Intervention Lead at NIDAS