Survivors of Domestic Abuse are welcomed by us. WDVAF wish to establish a victim’s focus group with the aim of enabling survivors to advise and inform us, and our partners, of their experience and expectation having suffered domestic and/or sexual abuse, and any barriers to reporting. We are intent on ensuring that the ‘victim’s voice’ is central to service delivery. Dr Emma Bond’s University College Suffolk (UCS) recent report recommends that services need to be ‘based on evidence-based practice and be user-centred in both their design and delivery to meet the needs of those that require them’. – ‘Understanding Domestic Abuse in Suffolk‘ – A study of the experiences of survivors. March 15. WDVAF wish to ensure that the recommendations of this report do not fall by the wayside, and that survivors who have suffered abuse not only have a voice, but are privy to the work that directly informs the response, attitudes and reactions of those who serve them.
Those who have suffered crimes of abuse are mostly hidden and their needs are often unknown and /or unidentified. We have the benefit of a qualified and experienced Independent Domestic & Sexual Abuse Advisor to work with this group who has heard many accounts of how victims have not only been abused by their perpetrator, but then go on to feel they become ‘victims of the system’. They often feel misunderstood, disbelieved, confused, frightened and stereotyped by their support services.
Survivors are rarely consulted, present at staff interviews, or part of training delivery; this needs to change. We will provide a safe and supportive environment for victims involved in the group to participate and ensure training delivery of our work to both the Statutory and Voluntary sector.