Our history and impact: from Caada to SafeLives
SafeLives emerged from an urgent need to find better ways to help victims of domestic abuse.
We were set up as Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (Caada) by Diana Barran, our chief executive, in 2005. At the time, a handful of small charities were trying out new ways to help domestic abuse victims. Their ideas for multi-agency working and advocacy for victims produced astonishing results. Diana set out to spread them nationwide, so more victims could benefit. It’s an approach we're still following today.
The big idea was to start from risk. If you understand the level of risk that victims face, those at high risk of serious harm or murder can get the fastest help. This was different to most domestic abuse services at the time.
Today, as a result of our work, victims in the most serious danger get help first.
We pioneered the use of the Dash risk checklist, which all police forces and many other agencies now use to see how much danger a victim is in. We’ve trained more than 2000 Idvas – specialists who help victims become safe. We got professionals to work together to cut domestic abuse, setting up a Marac meeting in every area. And we are informed by the lived experience and insight of survivors; amplifying their voices in all we do.
Our approach works: more than 60% of victims who get help from Idvas and Maracs tell us that the abuse stops.
But there’s so much more to do. That’s why we support everyone dealing with domestic abuse. We advise and train people and organisations, including police forces. We gather evidence to understand what’s working. And we spread great new approaches across the UK.
My initial contact with the Idva was earth-shattering, she asked very specific questions in exactly the right areas and I couldn't believe how much she understood my situation.
I needed my Idva to literately negotiate with all these people on my behalf… grab them by the scruff of the neck and make them understand the situation, which she did.
I received so much support because of the Marac. Without it, I’d still be in a violent relationship now.