Tuesday 3rd January marked the first anniversary of NIDAS. Over this first year, we have seen the service develop and offer so much to people experiencing domestic abuse.
Norfolk Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (NIDAS) was created in a response to what was needed in Norfolk. In 2020/21 we asked people with lived experience of domestic abuse and many professionals (those within the domestic abuse sector as well as those who work alongside) what they felt were the gaps in the then, current domestic abuse service offer.
They told us:
A county wide service is needed, equal access to the same level of service no matter where you lived in the County.
NIDAS is available across the County. NIDAS is based on standardisation of support. Clients will be offered the same level of support across the County. NIDAS looks to end the ‘post-code lottery’ of domestic abuse in Norfolk.
A service which has easy access to support. Clients and professionals found it difficult to find contact details and how to make referrals when they are not even aware of what level of support is available within their district.
NIDAS has one phone number, one electronic referral route and a text messaging service. NIDAS is the ‘one front door’ for domestic abuse support. Over this past year, NIDAS has had many self-referrals which a reflection of one number, one front door is encouraging people to make direct contact with the service.
A service to be flexible to the needs of clients and not passed from one worker/agency to another dependant on the level of risk at any one time.
NIDAS IDVAs continue to support their clients as their risk changes. NIDAS supports medium and high-risk cases. If a client requires ongoing support when their needs change and risk is assessed to be at standard, IDVAs will support them to transition into the most appropriate service.
Once the immediate crisis has passed, this is when the support is needed the most. It can be difficult to know if there are any recovery programmes available as these are not always available when needed.
NIDAS has 3 dedicated Community Development and Group Recovery Facilitators who are delivering group recovery programmes. Over the past year, The Freedom Programme has been delivered as well as a new, exciting recovery programme; Victims of Intimate Coercive Experience (VOICE) has been offered and the feedback has been great! We are looking forward to this New Year where a rolling offer of VOICE and other programmes will be offered to groups of women, men and people from the LGBTQ+ communities, when they need it.
The support for Children who have been affected by domestic abuse is difficult to find.
NIDAS Family workers support children and young people (5-18) to help them process what they have experienced. In January 2022, NIDAS provided 3 Family workers. Over the past year, funding has been expanded to be able to provide Family workers across all districts, which equates to FTE 7 Family Workers.
Most clients are referred into a domestic abuse service by a professional. How can we equip front line professionals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to ask about domestic abuse and safely respond to disclosures?
NIDAS Community Development and Group Recovery Facilitators (some of who are also qualified and experienced teachers) are in place to offer regular, consistent training. Over this year, 7 training sessions of Domestic Abuse Stalking and Honour Based (DASH) risk assessment has been delivered to NIDAS funding partners and NIDAS Domestic Abuse Champions. The New Year will see a variety of regular tailored training sessions to NIDAS funding partners to offer consistent, learning and development training packages to equip professionals to respond to domestic abuse.
NIDAS Domestic Abuse Champions have been brought together with a successful networking event where they were able to hear some inspirational guest speakers. NIDAS will continue to hold regular networking events as well as regular training events to provide our Domestic Abuse Champions with the skills and knowledge required for their role.
Over this first year, we have already seen the service grow and develop.
We are excited NIDAS has recruited for Norfolk’s first dedicated LGBT+ IDVA who will working alongside LGBT Norfolk to break down barriers which are seen to be within this community when disclosing domestic abuse. NIDAS is currently recruiting for a Diverse Communities IDVA.
NIDAS already has a Male IDVA who regularly manages a caseload of many male victims, but we know there are many male victims who remain hidden.
Year on year, together we will do all we can to encourage people to access support, by whatever pathway is safe for them. It has been evident over this first year, when someone is ready to talk, NIDAS is there for them.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported NIDAS in this first year and NIDAS will continue to grow and develop.
We look forward to seeing what we can all do to support people on their journey to their freedom.