Our invaluable Independent Domestic Violence Advocate services

Our team in Kingston has been busy preparing for our latest IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocates) service which opened its doors on 1 April 2018, and will operate alongside our refuge provision in the area, which itself launched in late 2017.

The one-stop-shop service will initially offer 150 survivors of abuse IDVA support to navigate the criminal justice system; at Refuge we know from our other services that where our IDVAs support a woman through to the conclusion of a court case, three-quarters of these cases end in guilty verdicts.

The new hub in Kingston will offer survivors of domestic violence a single point of access to a spectrum of specialist services and allow them to obtain all the tailored support they need under one roof.

In addition to the IDVA service, an early intervention worker will engage with 14-17 year olds in the borough and there will be child support for those below this age group. A peer support group, a model which has proven beneficial to its participants in other of our services, will also run from the hub.

Richmond IDVA service recognised with award

Meanwhile in the neighbouring borough of Richmond, two members of our IDVA service and three members of the local police force were awarded Borough Commander commendations for their work supporting a client at high risk of homicide to secure a conviction against her perpetrator. Over 100 people attended the ceremony in March, including the Mayor of Richmond and local resident, the actor Tom Hardy!

Chief Inspector, Karen Duckworth, spoke at the event and praised the team who “demonstrated a determination to put the victim at the heart of what we do as multi-agency partners and to prioritise victim safeguarding to remove and reduce the substantial risks they face.”

They “helped to maintain contact with the victim throughout the criminal justice process,” she added, “and motivated and supported her through a successful judicial outcome.”

The two Refuge IDVAs* supported the client for a period of 18 months not just through the criminal justice process but also with issues like housing. In addition to their securing the conviction and sentencing of the perpetrator, the local housing association changed its policies as a result of the case and their work.

This rare recognition from the police force is a testament to their invaluable work supporting a vulnerable client and the close and trusted relationship they developed with other agencies. As one of the two IDVAs herself notes, Refuge “staff are doing work like this all the time and don’t necessarily get commendations, this just reflects the work we are all doing on a daily basis”.

Find out more about our IDVA services here

(*names are not disclosed to protect the identities of our frontline staff)

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