Ealing Council is reminding residents that help for survivors of domestic abuse is available in the borough from both the council and its partners that have been commissioned to support people.
The council is working with two independent domestic violence advocate (IDVA) services, Advance and Southall Black Sisters, to offer residents in the borough support for those who are experiencing abuse.
The council says that while domestic abuse can happen to both men and women, “tackling male violence against women and girls (MVAWG) is a top priority for the council” though it also adds that men who are survivors of domestic abuse can also speak to and get support from Advance.
Emily, an IDVA from Advance explains the work IDVAs do for people. She said: “IDVAs are trained specialists who provide support and advocacy services to victim-survivors. Disclosing their abuse is just the start of a victim-survivor’s journey. They often have to engage with various complex and sometimes conflicting agencies, such as housing and social care, which can leave them stuck and confused. An IDVA helps victim-survivors to navigate those systems and services by focusing on their needs and wants and empowering them to use their voice.”
Emily revealed how IDVAs work to support people in helping them to recovery. She added: “IDVAs work within a multi-agency framework, supporting victim-survivors to improve their safety, understand their rights, and signposting them to resources and services, such as counselling and group activities/workshops, to aid their understanding of healthy relationships and their journey to recovery.
“Advocates play a hugely important role in the lives of victim-survivors at a vital time. What is extremely satisfying about this role is the process of how a victim-survivor initially has come to be in a situation they would have never foreseen they could ever leave. Also, a successful ending of a victim-survivor process is when s/he begins to reflect back on their own journey and smile with joy. IDVAs also play a vital role in saving children from further abuse.”
Emily added that the person needing support will get the support if they come forward. “It is very important that the victim-survivor wants support, even when they have not acknowledged abuse is happening. Without this, it is very unlikely that it will be a successful ending to their story. It is also important that victim-survivors and the IDVA understand trauma-informed care, and that an IDVA is the most appropriate service. For example, if a victim survivor is having anxiety attacks, it is vital that the correct mental health professionals are involved, as well as an IDVA.”
To find out more about Advance or to refer yourself for help, Ealing residents can call Advance on 07984 110 750 or email: EalingReferrals@advancecharity.org.uk