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Primary Care Service: Ending Abuse in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

There’s a powerful transformation happening behind the scenes in GP surgeries. First Light, an organisation committed to supporting those affected by domestic and sexual violence, is leading the way with a groundbreaking initiative that’s redefining the role of medical professionals in aiding victims. We’re excited to share the remarkable story of this pilot scheme that’s extended until 2025, ensuring that help is never out of reach for those who need it most.

The journey began two and a half years ago when we identified a crucial gap in the services provided by GP surgeries. We realised that this was a unique opportunity to connect with individuals who were suffering in silence, trapped by domestic and sexual violence. Julia Morris, a dedicated Domestic Abuse Support Advisor, explains, “A lot of the GPs admitted they don’t have the time to talk to people, and once they’ve asked that question, they haven’t got the confidence to know where to signpost people who are experiencing abuse.”

We decided to take action, and the results have been nothing short of transformative. By providing specialised training to health professionals, we equip them with the confidence to ask those difficult questions, making them aware of the extensive support available and streamlining the referral process. Julia adds, “So, they refer people into our service, we risk assess, meet with them, and move them onto the appropriate support.”

In 2022-2023, over 14,000 individuals reached out to us for support, this was a 15% increase from the previous year. Over 11,000 individuals were supported for domestic abuse and/or sexual violence in Devon and Cornwall alone. Anne Toms, Team Manager for Domestic Abuse at the Safer Futures service, includes, “I think the referrals speak for themselves because they’re constantly increasing, but the most important bit is that people are really engaging with us and being signposted off to recovery.”

As our program continues to grow, we are branching out into safeguarding efforts. We are now actively participating in critical meetings, such as the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, as we drive our mission forward. This approach ensures that individuals not only receive immediate help but also have a support system in place for their long-term recovery.

Our training courses are designed to foster early intervention, enhance understanding, develop response skills, and provide support and guidance. Julia shares, “With a lot of people, we’ve made such a difference. They’re not accessing the GP quite so much because we’re actually tackling the cause, and the relationships with the GP clinics have been fantastic.”

In a world where countless individuals suffer in silence, our initiative is changing the narrative. Our profound impact is echoed by feedback from GPs, surgeries, and health professionals, who emphasise that this service provides a lifeline to those who may have never accessed support before. Julia sums it up beautifully, saying, “By this service, we’re giving those people a voice.”

As this pilot scheme extends until 2025, the future shines a little brighter for those who have suffered in silence for far too long. It’s a beacon of hope in Cornwall, one that reminds us that transformation is possible when we unite with a shared purpose – to protect, support, and empower those in need.

 

If you would like to learn more about our Primary Care training, contact us on:

0300 777 4 777

[email protected]

Safer Futures Helpline Lunch and Learn Webinar 28th November

We are holding a FREE Safer Futures Helpline Webinar on the 28th November that we would like to invite you to join. 

This Webinar will provide you with clear up to date information regarding the Helpline, the amazing work they complete, their referral processes and capabilities.

We will talk about when, how, and why to refer into Safer Futures and First Light through the Helpline, and what support the person you are referring in can expect.

This will be a Lunch and Learn session from 12:30 -1:30 so feel free to join with your cameras off, take your lunch whilst you watch, and have an opportunity to join in conversation or ask questions at the end.

On completion of the Webinar, you will receive an attendance certificate, as well as a leaflet detailing all the information we have shared, opportunities to access further training, tools such as referral guide and more.

We hope you can join us and learn more about our Helpline, Click Here to sign up.

Please share this with anybody you feel it to be relevant to.

 

 

 

Empowering Change: (Un)Healthy Relationships Conference in Cornwall

On Wednesday, October 11th, Safer Futures’ First Light was invited to participate in the “(Un)Healthy Relationships: Do Not Ignore the Signs” conference in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The event focused on preventing harm and addressing the root causes of unhealthy relationships, domestic abuse, sexual violence, and violence against women and girls. It was an enlightening and empowering day that emphasised the urgency of collective efforts to combat these issues.

The conference brought together a remarkable lineup of speakers, each dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of unhealthy relationships and violence against women and girls. Their stories, expertise, and insights shone a light on the need for sustained action in Cornwall and beyond.

Safer Futures’ Impactful Work

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity for Safer Futures’ First Light to showcase the impactful work they have been doing. They shared the outcomes of their primary care pilot, a groundbreaking program that offers support to those affected by domestic abuse. The conference attendees were deeply moved by Caroline’s story, a brave survivor who used the GP referral program to escape years of domestic abuse, find safety, and reclaim her voice.

Caroline’s* story is a testament to the power of such programs and the strength of survivors. The Safer Futures Service, through their GP referral program, is providing a lifeline to those trapped in abusive relationships, offering a path towards healing and safety. Their work is invaluable in ensuring that no one suffers in silence and that there is a way out of abusive situations.

In addition to the GP referral program, Safer Futures also discussed their “Healthy Relationships Foundations Program,” which is delivered in partnership with Barnardo’s. This initiative aims to equip individuals with the tools and knowledge to foster healthy relationships and prevent violence against women and girls. Education and awareness are vital components of the fight against domestic abuse and violence, and this program plays a crucial role in achieving that.

The (Un)Healthy Relationships conference was a source of inspiration for all attendees. It showcased the dedication and passion of individuals, organisations and charities committed to making a difference. It also emphasised the importance of unity and collaboration in tackling the pervasive issue of unhealthy relationships and violence against women and girls.

The Road Ahead

As we reflect on this empowering event, it’s essential to recognise that the work is far from over. The stories shared at the conference, including Caroline’s, serve as powerful reminders that there is much to be done. Ending violence against women and girls and fostering healthy relationships requires sustained effort, awareness, and advocacy.

*Name changed to protect anonymity