A new approach to domestic abuse services in Somerset aims to break the cycle of abuse, reduce repeat offending and offer stronger support for victims and families.
Somerset County Council’s domestic abuse service – Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) – launches its new service this week (1 April) which will incorporate additional investment in safe accommodation and support to victims, perpetrators and children across Somerset.
Cllr Adam Dance, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Public Health, said: “This is a strong and timely step forward in Somerset’s ability to support victims of domestic abuse.
“Police data shows that in Somerset, 38.7% of all violent offences are domestic abuse related. We also know that there has been an increase in the number of domestic abuse related deaths in Somerset since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By commissioning specialist support for people experiencing domestic abuse, their families, and those who cause harm, we are working to stop the cycle of abuse and prevent repeat offending, while offering essential safety planning for those in the highest need.”
The new wider service will offer a more holistic type of support, with interventions for anybody, of any risk factor, whose life is impacted by domestic abuse that they are experiencing or have experienced in the past.
From the first week in May, the support hub will be physically opening its doors between 5pm and 8pm – allowing people to access one-to-one support in person. In addition, the service is launching a number of pop-up hubs across the county allowing the public to get in person support in their area. To find a hub location near you got to the opens in a new windowSomerset Survivors website.
SIDAS will be working with schools, businesses and other organisations to increase awareness of the signs of domestic abuse and how to respond to it.
The contract for the service was awarded to providers last year, following a rigorous procurement process. It will ensure Somerset County Council is able to provide sufficient safe accommodation and support for women, men and children experiencing domestic abuse.
There are five elements that have been awarded to three organisations:
- Central Hub – opens in a new windowThe You Trust –
Providing a place of contact for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. The Central Hub will coordinate those peoples’ support, ensuring they get the best service
- Children and Young People – opens in a new windowThe You Trust–
Specialist support for children and young people who have experienced or witnessed abuse
- Advocacy and Support – opens in a new windowThe You Trust
Providing one-to-one and group support for victims of domestic abuse
- Safe Accommodation – opens in a new windowJulian House
Providing an increased range of safe accommodation options for people of all genders with or without children who are fleeing domestic abuse
- Counselling for adults and children who are in Safe Accommodation – visit the opens in a new windowFearless website
James Dore, SIDAS Strategic Manager from The You Trust, said: “We are pleased to be working with Fearless and Julian House, to provide this new and expanded service. Working together we will be able to help more people than ever before.”
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality or religion – and help is available to anybody experiencing it. Domestic abuse remains an under-reported crime, particularly among male victims, older victims, and young people.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, then help is available via the opens in a new windowSomerset Survivors website or by telephoning 0800 69 49 999, between 8am – 8pm.
In an emergency you should always dial 999. If you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can register with opens in a new windowemergencySMS.net. Once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.