Everyone has the right to be safe in their own home
What if home was a place of fear, not a place of safety?
That is the reality for the estimated 1.9 million adults who experience domestic abuse every year in the UK – 100,000 of whom are at high risk of being seriously harmed or murdered.
We know that some victims need to leave their homes, accomodation-based services are a vital aspect of domestic abuse provision. However, of those receiving support for domestic abuse, only around 20% access a refuge. There is one person that is making home a place of fear: the perpetrator. So why do we expect the victim to leave their home and community? There is a clear need to support people to stay safely in their own homes.
We need to stop asking "why doesn't she leave?" and start asking "why doesn't he stop?". Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (Idvas) and other specialist support workers based in the community play a crucial role in this process.
That's why we're calling on every candidate in the general election to sign our pledge, and fight for their local Idvas.
What is an Idva?
An Idva is a specialist professional who works with a victim of domestic abuse to develop a trusting relationship. They can help a victim with everything they need to become safe and rebuild their life, and represent their voice at a Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (Marac), as well as helping them to navigate the criminal justice process and working with the different statutory agencies to provide wraparound support.
The impact of an Idva
Following support from an Idva service, at the closure of their cases:
• Nearly 60% of victims reported cessation of abuse
• 84% of victims reported feeling safer
• 81% of victims felt their quality of life had improved
Two out of three Idva services tell us they don't have access to sustainable funding. Idvas are overworked, undervalued and underfunded. If we're going to keep more people safe at home, this has to change.
We're calling on every parliamentary candidate to sign our pledge and fight for the Idva services in their area. We'd like them to sign a copy of our pledge card, and show their support by sharing a photo.
In Scotland, this type of support is provided by an Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate (Idaa). We're asking candidates in Scotland to sign our Idaa pledge.
- Spread the word on social media: use the hashtag #SafeAtHome
- Tweet your local candidates and ask them to sign the pledge. If you're not sure who your candidates are, take a look at this handy list.
- Go to your local hustings and ask candidates if they will make domestic abuse a priority
No one should live in fear. Domestic abuse is not acceptable, not inevitable – and together, we can make it stop.