New services offer support to domestic abuse victims in Hastings

LG 100614 Silhouette. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141006-124158001
LG 100614 Silhouette. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141006-124158001

Social care and health charity ‘change, grow, live’ (CGL) has launched two new services to offer further support to those experiencing domestic abuse in Hastings.

Both of the services are commissioned by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of ‘Healthy Hastings and Rother’, a scheme that was set up to tackle health inequalities in the area as part of the wider East Sussex Better Together programme, which is transforming and integrating health and care in East Sussex to achieve the best possible services for local people.

The existing CGL Hastings and St Leonards service is introducing a hospital-based Health Independent Domestic Violence Advisor as well as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor to work with GP surgeries in the area. This will form part of a new IRIS domestic violence model (Identification & Referral to Improve Safety) which is being adopted at the service.

The Home Office, National Institute for Care and Health Excellence and the Government’s VAWG strategy have all recommended the evidence based IRIS model in relation to domestic violence and abuse.

Dr Susan Rae, GP at Silver Springs Surgery in St Leonards and clinical lead for the Healthy Hastings and Rother programme, said: “The growth in domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a national cause for concern.

“In addition to dealing with the human cost of DVA there are significant implications for health and care services both in terms of staff time and financial costs. Nationally, the estimated cost of DVA to hospital, ambulance, GP and prescription health care services is estimated at £1.7 billion.

“Locally, in Hastings and St Leonards, the number of DVA incidents grew by 63% to 1,468 in 2014-15 compared with the previous year. Hastings also has the highest level of DVA crimes per 1,000 population, when compared with East Sussex as a whole, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.”*

CGL will work with partner organisations RISE and Survivors Network, under the umbrella of the Portal Domestic Abuse Partnership, to ensure the best service can be provided to those who need support. The services, which will be officially launched in December, will operate from the Conquest Hospital and 18 GP surgeries in Hastings and St Leonards.

Mark Moody, Executive Director of Social Care and Health at CGL said: “Working in partnership with multiple agencies is the most effective way to approach the issue of domestic violence and abuse. It is a complex issue which requires sensitive handling by a range of social care and health professionals.”

CGL has successfully operated a domestic violence and abuse support service across East Sussex since 2000.

The new services will also provide training to health and other professionals within the hospital and GP surgeries, to enhance their knowledge and skills in identifying and understanding the complexities of domestic violence and abuse, meaning each person’s needs can be met effectively and safely and that victims are referred quickly into specialist safety support.

Mr Moody added: “These new initiatives create an important opportunity for GPs and our local hospital to respond effectively to patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse.”

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