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News from Shared Lives Plus

Friday, 02 March 2018 12:12

Could you develop Shared Lives for people who have experienced domestic abuse?

Expressions of interest – for Shared Lives schemes in the South West, South East, London, East and West Midlands

During 2013/2014 Women’s Aid reported that 31% of referrals to refuges were turned away because of a lack of space. 1 in 5 people who experience domestic violence are homeless.

The aim of this project:

We want to test a new model of Shared Lives for women who may have experienced domestic abuse and who may also have additional vulnerabilities or complex needs. It will show that Shared Lives can provide alternative, sustainable accommodation for those seeking refuge from domestic abuse which reduces disruption and improves safety, particularly for those women who are not suitable for refuge accommodation. If successful, this offer would be rolled out nationally.

The main outcomes of this project will show that the people using Shared Lives:

  • Are better able to break the cycle of abusive relationships due to the stability a Shared Lives arrangement brings
  • Grow in confidence and self-belief and can make choices and changes to how and where they live
  • Show a marked improvement in their general health and well-being and specifically in a reduction of medical interventions in their lives
  • Are eventually able to live independently in a safe environment
  • Increased choice for women when planning their exit strategy
  • An opportunity to move to more independent living once the immediate crisis/danger has passed and which will help survivors reintegrate with their communities with expert wrap around support.

 Partner organisations

The project activity will be undertaken in partnership with SafeLives who will bring their expertise and experience in the field of domestic abuse, ensuring the safety of victims and Shared Lives carers is paramount at all times. As experts in the field SafeLives is aware of the urgent unmet need for many people accessing safe accommodation, particularly those with complex needs or other barriers to accessing refuge.

 We are looking for three Shared Lives schemes to become pilot sites for this project. The pilot schemes, with funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will work closely with the Domestic Abuse project Development Officer to help to:

  • develop and co-produce a domestic abuse support offer that compliments existing local service models
  • recruit and train new and existing Shared Lives carers,
  • train and upskill Shared Lives workers in supporting people who have experienced domestic abuse.
  • make 18 new Shared Lives arrangements which support people who have experienced domestic abuse
  • Work with SafeLives, local domestic abuse services and other relevant partners to build a joint, locally sensitive community response
  • Participate in workshops and seminars to share learning from the project
  • Contribute to the co-production of written guidance, business cases, etc. to demonstrate the outcomes of Shared Lives support to this group of people including cost effectiveness
  • Engage with local stakeholders, commissioners, etc.

 Funding for Shared Lives Plus and SafeLives Domestic Abuse project 2017-2020

Shared Lives Plus have been awarded Tampon Tax funding to develop and pilot a Shared Lives support offer to people who have experienced domestic abuse. Working with SafeLives, the project will run until March 2020.

Each scheme will receive up to £9000 in year one, £7000 in year two and £5000 in year three to contribute towards funding the development of this offer.

Shared Lives Plus have seconded Natalie Blagrove from SafeLives to lead this project. The project is being managed by Sue Eley, Development Manager.

Background to the project

The Women’s Aid annual survey 2014 describes 20,736 referrals to domestic violence services during 2013/2014. Of those staying in a refuge, more than half of victims were identified as having a mental ill health (55%), 13% were identified as having alcohol issues, and 13% drug misuse. More than one in four victims in a refuge had either planned or attempted suicide (27%), or self-harmed (26%).  There were 17% of victims identified as having a disability, 7% as having a physical disability and 4% with a learning disability (Insights Refuge National dataset 2015/16).

SafeLives cite in their latest statics that of those who are high risk domestic violence victims, 40% have mental health problems and 20% use drugs and/or alcohol.

‘Making the Links’ (Violence Against Women Research Group, Bristol and Warwick Universities, 2005-2008) reported 7% of women accessing domestic violence services had a physical or sensory impairment and recommended: ‘a comprehensive range of support services should be developed to meet the needs of abused disabled women’ recognising ‘the need for higher levels of focussed support’.

The above illustrates the need for increased domestic abuse accommodation options and in particular services to support those who are vulnerable and have complex needs. This project proposes to offer a new alternative to traditional services and fits with the intentions of the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, Home Office 2016.

Interested? Read on…

If you would like your schemes to be considered to be a pilot area with this project, please indicate:

  • Any experience of working or contact with domestic abuse victims and services
  • Ability to diversify Shared Lives support and commitment to development,
  • Senior management sign up
  • Identification of ambitious but realistic targets, based on existing experience and relevant track record in this or related area of work
  • Value for money and clarity on budget and resource needs. Grants of up to £9,000 in year one, £7,000 in year two and £5,000 in year three will be awarded with a target of supporting 18 people who have experienced domestic abuse per scheme during the life of the project
  • Commitment to being active members of a community of interest and generating and sharing learning
  • Commitment to equalities and interest in reaching overlooked groups.
  • Participation of people with experience of domestic abuse in co-design and co-production (and longer-term commitment to recruiting Shared Lives carers with lived experience).

As a condition of the grant please confirm that you are willing to:

  • Share information and learning produced from this activity with the evaluators and with Shared Lives Plus for the purposes of developing relevant tools and resources for the sector:
  • Complete the State of Shared Lives survey
  • Use the new Shared Lives Monitoring tool ‘My Shared Lives’ and any additional monitoring tool that may be considered useful.

If you would like to express an interest for this project, please reply to Sue Eley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the information above by Wednesday 7 March 2018.

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