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‘Guardian angels’ placed in hospitals for victims of domestic abuse

Dedicated Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) have been placed in hospitals across West Mercia to provide victims of domestic abuse with early support.

Recognising the success of this as a service, following a pilot a few years ago in Worcestershire and Shropshire, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has delivered on his promise to support victims by increasing the funding allocated to Women’s Aid to allow it to be introduced across the whole of the region.

On top of the existing IDVA service in the community, the new contract will place advisors in the following locations: Hereford County Hospital, Worcester Royal Hospital, Alexandra Hospital (Redditch), Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital (Telford).

It has been found that four in five domestic abuse victims don’t report the abuse to the police[1], so having these advisors in a place where victims may go to allows for early intervention and support. It was also found that by co-locating the IDVA services with a hospital can significantly improve the health and wellbeing outcome for victims of domestic abuse[2].

PCC John Campion said: “It is so important that victims of domestic abuse are getting the support they need early on, and I remain committed to ensuring that that happens. The sooner services like Women’s Aid can intervene, the better.

“The new locations for the IDVAs will be invaluable. Survivors who have been supported by the service have previously said that they felt ‘safe’ and ‘protected’ and that they saw their IDVA as their ‘guardian angel’.”

Sue Coleman, Chief Executive for West Mercia Women’s Aid, said: “The new IDVA service will have the opportunity to work alongside health professionals. We have been discussing with hospital managers how to best ensure that hospital staff can call upon IDVAs, to support patients who disclose their experience of abuse, whilst in the safe and confidential hospital environment.

“Women’s Aid has piloted work in hospitals in the past, and it was extremely successful. We are really pleased to now have the capacity to develop this work in the longer term, and know that the presence of IDVAs in hospitals will make it possible for more people to feel safe and confident in asking for help with domestic abuse.”

[1] British Crime Survey

[2] Safe Lives report

Issued on: Wednesday 31st July

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