SafeLives practitioner survey
Idvas and domestic abuse practitioners work tirelessly to support victims, survivors and children. We are determined to champion that work and the need for all professionals to be properly supported and funded. Each year, at the request of the Home Office, we collect the number of domestic abuse professionals in the country and their experiences and challenges.
In 2017-18 we found that we need 300 more Idvas to support people at the highest risk of serious harm or murder. We used this information to call for greater Idva provision as part of our response to the Domestic Abuse Bill consultation.
On the 21st January 2019 we'll be launching our fifth practitioner survey. We'll be collecting data on the number of Idvas, Outreach workers and Young People's Violence Advisors (Ypvas) across the country. We hope that with your support we can highlight gaps in provision and the challenges faced by services. We will then use this information to advocate for greater investment, resources and awareness into the work of Idvas and all domestic abuse professionals.
Key Findings from the 2017-2018 survey
Although the number of Idvas has slightly increased since last year's survey, we still don't have enough. We still need nearly 300 more Idvas to support everyone who is at high risk of serious harm or murder.
Nine police force areas have less than 50% of the recommended Idva coverage, three of whom have only 33% or less.
Click the maps below for more detail on each police force area
We need specialist services
According to practitioners, provision of a range of specialist services would make the biggest difference to victims and survivors of domestic abuse in their area.
This includes services that are tailored to the needs of marginalised communities:
‘[We need] More funding for LGBT Idvas. … This is a dangerous level to be operating at.’
Practitioners also highlighted a lack of mental health support, which is vital for those recovering from the effects of domestic abuse:
‘More counselling services. The Idva role is often fast paced and is centred around reducing clients risk - Idvas do not have the capacity to provide the restorative work required to assist victims or survivors of domestic abuse on the long-term’
We need to support children and young people
We know that domestic abuse has a devastating and long-term impact on children. SafeLives Insights data estimates that at least one child in every class starting primary school has been living with domestic abuse for their entire life – and services don’t have the resources to support them.
‘There is ever increasing pressure on our service to provide support to children who have witnessed domestic violence as so many services that were supporting these families previously have been cut.’
We need to stop asking ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ and start asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’
As well as keeping victims, survivors and their children safe and helping them to rebuild their lives, we need to tackle the root of the problem: the perpetrator. Professionals in our survey were clear that there needs to be intervention to challenge perpetrators to change.
‘By the time they - perpetrators - get into the criminal justice system they don't want to engage. We need to catch and manage behaviour earlier.’