Women’s Aid NEL Reports On A Year Of Success 2021-22

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Women’s Aid NEL Reports On A Year Of Success 2021-22

Wow, what a year!

2021/22 was a year Women’s Aid NEL was proud and privileged to be able work with and support literally hundreds of people across North East Lincolnshire.

The statistics we presented at our Annual General Meeting are a recognition of the essential support we provide, helping victims of domestic abuse in our area, changing lives and giving survivors a future to look forward to.

Out of the 530 domestic abuse victims referred to us, 512 were women and 18 were men. Yes, we help male victims of domestic abuse too!

Domestic Abuse Takes Many Forms

Most probably think of the physical when thinking about domestic abuse and while that does account for a large percentage of cases referred, each client will probably be experiencing more than one type of abuse.

Emotional and mental abuse, numbers the biggest percentage of cases, with financial, physical and sexual abuse, harassment or stalking coming in after that but whatever form is being experienced, non of it is acceptable and nobody should have to live with it and that’s when Women’s Aid makes the difference. The stories told by abuse survivors, some of which are described in the annual report, humble us when we realise the impact the services we provide is having on the lives of those suffering.

The Refuge

Our refuge is a safe house, in an undisclosed location, where women and children fleeing from domestic abuse can live free from violence and last year we gave refuge to 72 service users.

Children have their own fully equipped and staffed space and activity room at the refuge, called The Hideout where our children’s workers can offer emotional and practical support. They also organise activities, events, support sessions, children’s meetings and much more and last year we were able to support 82 children at the refuge.

Outreach

Our outreach workers provide a range of information and options to victims of domestic abuse, such as safety planning, housing, solicitors, benefits, networking and other practical support such as bolts, locks, alarms etc.

Staff can meet with victims of domestic abuse to talk to them about all the options available, including looking for refuge space for women or other temporary accommodation, if the situation requires it. Victims can also be supported to access other parts of the country if the abuse is severe and leaving town is the only option.

Other advice and information about issues such as housing, debt, benefits, solicitors, the local area and services is available too and last year we supported 106 outreach clients, 101 women and 5 men through this scheme.

Outreach support workers can also support victims from minority groups and from rural areas.

We also run The Freedom Programme three times a week, both face-to-face and on Zoom (during term time), which is a 12-week programme that helps women and girls to understand more about how tactics, behaviours and rules are used to gain control in relationships.  It also helps women and girls understand more about beliefs held by abusive men and how these are used to gain power and control over the victim.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, 228 women attended these sessions and we’re delighted to be able to report that typical feedback from attendees includes comments like ‘life changing’, ‘Freedom saved me’ and ‘I can’t thank you enough’, comments that make us realise just how important the work we do actually is.

User Satisfaction

In fact out of 90 ‘satisfaction surveys’ returned from the Women’s Aid service in North East Lincs, when asked the question ‘Has the support received made a difference to your life?’ 87 said ‘Yes, a lot’, 3 said ‘A little’ and nobody at all answered no!

Funding and Charity Shops

A huge part of our funding comes from the success of our three charity shops, which last year provided over £375,000, around 35% of the total. Staffed by 93 out of 107 of our wonderful volunteers, these shops and volunteers are the lifeblood of our service.

Other funding, which keeps the service afloat, comes from a mixture of Housing Benefits and Rents, Project Grants, Housing Related Support Benefits, Earned Income, Donations and Fundraising, all vital elements of our funding model.

Domestic Abuse Awareness and Training

Finally but by no means least, a little known aspect of our ‘earned income’ comes from the delivery of Domestic Abuse Awareness and Training, through a series of ‘Domestic Abuse Workshops’, covering a range of associated subjects. These workshops are delivered to professionals, partner agencies and businesses, among other organisation and last year alone we delivered 74 workshops to 1344 attendees, with 91% of those attendees who returned survey forms describing the training as ‘Excellent’.

Overall last year, 2021-22 was an extremely successful year for Women’s Aid NEL and we’re delighted and humbled to have been able to change so many lives for the better and raise awareness of the issues and consequences of Domestic Violence in North East Lincolnshire.

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