16 days: Safe to talk

safe to talk puzzle pieceWorking together against domestic violence and abuse

We ACT because they… deliver a multi-agency approach to respond to domestic violence and abuse.

Safe to Talk (Coventry Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership) is a partnership of different organisations tackling domestic violence and abuse in Coventry.

The partnership has a number of member organisations who work together on initiatives to raise awareness, support women and children experiencing violence and challenge perpetrators. The organisations include: Refuge, Safe and Supported Partnership (a partnership between Panahghar and Valley House), Fry Housing Trust and Barnardo’s.

Together, they provide a wide range of services, including a freephone helpline; email support; advice, emotional support, and practical assistance with benefits or support at court; support for children; and support for perpetrators.

Within the partnership, Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, provides the community support service. This includes support for court procedures, emotional support, help finding safe accommodation and support for children, help accessing counselling or mental health services, and help accessing benefits and information about financial issues. The partnership provides specialist support LGBT and for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities.

One of the services provided by the partnership is supported accommodation. Much more than a place to stay for survivors of domestic violence and abuse, the supported accommodation offers practical support with parenting, money management, legal and criminal justice issues, physical and mental health, housing, and education and training.

Safe to talk also offers support specifically for children and young people in Coventry who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. This service, run by Barnardo’s and known as Defuze, involves emotional and practical support to children and young people, giving them a space to talk about their experience, increase their confidence, and improve their safety. This can be through one-on-one services or through group work. There is also a children’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) service to support children and young people through the legal system and advocate on their behalf.

In addition, Safe to talk offers a perpetrator programme called Brighter Futures for those who want to change, which is run by the Fry Housing Trust. The programme helps perpetrators to better understand their behaviour and its impact on others, take responsibility for this, and change.

If ratified and made law in the UK, the Istanbul Convention would ensure each of the individual services the partnership provides:

  • Free telephone helpline [Article 24],
  • Legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment [Article 20],
  • Support for children [Articles 22, 26],
  • Support for perpetrators [Article 16],
  • Refuges [Article 23], and
  • Specialist support services, including for LGBT and for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities [Article 22].

The Istanbul Convention recognises the importance of having a joined up, integrated approach to tackling violence against women and, if ratified and made law, would strengthen partnerships like Safe to talk if it was made law in the UK.

ACT: Sign the Petition to ratify the Istanbul Convention and protect partnerships like Safe to talk and their services

SUPPORT: Find out more about what the work of Safe to talk and how you can help