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Coercive Control – Emmerdales new storyline

While soap operas tell fictional stories, they often focus on storylines that tackle serious issue affecting real people. Emmerdale’s latest storyline focusing on the abusive relationship of Belle Dingle and Tom King show the real impact of coercive control.

Tom and Belle’s back story.

Tom and Belle recently got married, but their relationship quickly becomes toxic. Tom starts abusing Belle both physically and emotionally. He also uses technology to manipulate and control her. This portrayal shows the dangerous patterns that exists in some real-life relationships.

Understanding Coercive Control

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that goes beyond physical violence. It’s about power and manipulation. The abuser gradually chips away at the victim’s independence, making them feel trapped and powerless.

 

We had the opportunity to discuss this topic on BBC Radio Cornwall. We talked about the signs of coercive control and why seeking help is crucial. You can listen to our conversation below.

Remember, even though Tom and Belle are fictional characters, their story reflects a very real issue. There is always help available, you will be believed, you will be heard, and you will be supported.

Clare’s Law – BBC Spotlight

In a recent interview on BBC Spotlight, Lyn Gooding, the Chief Executive of First Light, discussed the significance of Clare’s Law in combating domestic violence.

Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), empowers individuals to seek information from the police concerning the potential risk posed by their current or former partners. The process involves a thorough examination of police records and partner agencies’ insights to ascertain any history of abusive behaviour or violence. Should the checks reveal concerning findings, the police may disclose this information to the applicant, underlining the rights encapsulated within Clare’s Law: the right to ask and the right to know.

 

The Right to Ask: This provision enables individuals to proactively seek information regarding their partner’s background, particularly if they suspect a history of abusive behaviour. Notably, one can also make an inquiry on behalf of a close friend or relative who may be at risk, although disclosure isn’t guaranteed depending on the circumstances.

The Right to Know: If police investigations uncover a partner’s alarming past, they may opt to share this information with the concerned individual to mitigate potential risks.

 

Clare’s Law emerged as a response to a critical loophole in the legal framework, which allowed domestic abusers to conceal their violent or abusive history. Tragically, this lack of transparency proved fatal in the case of Clare Wood, whose name the law honours. Clare was a victim of domestic violence, unaware of her partner’s past. Her father, Michael Brown, spearheaded a relentless campaign for change, culminating in the establishment of Clare’s Law. Today, it stands as a testament to the power of advocacy in safeguarding lives and preventing future tragedies.

Lyn Gooding underscores the community’s pivotal role in leveraging Clare’s Law. She emphasises that it’s not solely the individuals within a relationship who can utilise this legislation, friends and family members also hold the power to seek crucial information if they have concerns about a loved one’s safety.

While Clare’s Law equips individuals with vital information, Lyn Gooding emphasises the importance of exercising caution on any information found. Confrontation may increase risks in abusive relationships. Instead, she advocates for seeking guidance from organisations like First Light on navigating the complexities of abusive dynamics and devising safe exit strategies.

For those seeking to utilise Clare’s Law, the process begins with making a DVDS application through the official channels provided by the police. By taking this proactive step, individuals can gain insights that may potentially save lives.

Clare’s Law symbolises a beacon of hope in the fight against domestic violence. By granting individuals the right to access vital information, it empowers communities to break the cycle of abuse and create a safer, more supportive environment for all.

To request information under Clare’s Law and make a DVDS application, visit the link below.

https://www.police.uk/rqo/request/ri/request-information/cl/triage/v2/request-information-under-clares-law/

Criminal Justice and You: guide for victims and witnesses

Criminal Justice and You is a helpful resource from the Criminal Justice Board and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. This tool aims to make the legal process easier to understand and to provide support throughout.

It explains each part of the legal process in a simple way. You’ll hear from professionals who work in different parts of the system, which helps you understand what they do and how they can help you.

The website also gives you access to helpful resources and links.
These resources are there to support you at every stage of the legal process.
Helping you feel confident as you go through the legal process.

Visit: Criminal Justice and You to access useful videos and information to help you understand how every step of the criminal justice process will affect you.

First Light Voted as Venton’s Charity of the Year

In an inspiring start to 2024, First Light has been named Venton’s Charity of the Year through a public vote on social media. We are delighted to announce that, among five deserving charities, the people of Cornwall have chosen First Light to be the recipient of Venton’s support throughout the year.

Venton Conference Centre & Accountancy Practice, a prominent Newquay-based business, located just seconds away from the A30, has a diverse client base throughout Cornwall. The response from the communities of Cornwall was overwhelming, reflecting the deep-rooted support for First Light’s mission to provide assistance to those affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in the voting process. It is truly heartening to witness the outpouring of support from the people of Cornwall,” remarked Lyn Gooding, CEO of First Light. “This nomination by the public and selection as Venton’s Charity of the Year is an honour that will significantly contribute to our efforts in reaching and supporting more individuals across Cornwall.”

First Light delivers the Safer Futures Service for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, offering integrated support to those impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. The partnership with Venton is anticipated to strengthen these services, ensuring that the essential support reaches those who need it the most.

Lyn Gooding further expressed, “It is hard to put into words how honoured First Light and our team are to be nominated by the public and chosen as Venton’s Charity of the Year. This recognition is a testament to the impactful work we do across Cornwall, and Venton’s support will help us extend our reach and provide essential assistance to more individuals in need.”

Venton, dedicated to providing professional events and accountancy services, that are tailored to individual needs, aligns seamlessly with First Light’s commitment to supporting survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The partnership signifies a shared dedication to making a positive difference in the community.

Sophie Turton, Venton Conference Centre Manager, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “The team at Venton are absolutely thrilled to be supporting First Light as our chosen charity of the year. The public’s response to our vote was utterly amazing and we were so pleased to see such a positive response!  It’s a first for Venton to partner with a Cornish charity and host fundraising events, however the team are buzzing with excitement and looking forward to working with this deserving charity, for what is set to be a great year for First Light and Venton alike.”

Healthy Relationships and Toxic Behaviours – LoveActually Campaign

Join the #LoveActually Campaign: Empowering Healthy Relationships and Combating Toxic Behaviours (#HRTB)

This new campaign aims to empower individuals to cultivate healthy relationships while raising critical awareness about sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Our primary goal is to create a collective impact. We want to encourage open conversations about healthy relationships and shine a light on toxic behaviours.

 

How You Can Get Involved:

  • Join our webinars: We will be hosting free webinars during February and invite you to come along.
  • Share Your Stories: Encourage your community to participate in photo-sharing.
  • Social Media: Use the hashtags #LoveActually and #HRTB to amplify our collective voice on social media platforms.

 

Free Webinars:

Book here for Modern Rape Culture*Thursday 8th February @10:00 to 11:00am – Delivered by First Light

Book here  for Explore the 10 Signs of a Healthy & Unhealthy Relationship*Monday 19th February 14:00 to 15:30 – Delivered by Barnardo’s

Book here for Training overview and introduction*Wednesday 28th February @10:00 to 11:00am – Delivered by First Light

*Please note, these webinars are not suitable for anyone under the age of 16.

 

We invite everyone to actively participate in the campaign by:

Share photos holding signs depicting what love looks like in a healthy relationship or what you love about your partner.

Let’s Spread Love and Awareness Together this February

By joining the #LoveActually Campaign, you become an integral part of a movement that strives to create positive change in our communities. Together, we can empower individuals, break the silence surrounding toxic behaviours, and foster a culture of love and respect.

 

For inquiries, collaboration opportunities, or if you are interested in hosting a webinar and want more information, please contact us at [email protected]

Let’s make February a month of positive change and empowerment. Together, let’s say #LoveActually!

First Light chosen as Program’s Charity of the Year

We are excited to share that First Light has been chosen as Program’s Charity of the Year for 2024. This collaboration follows the success of Program’s Safer Exeter campaign, launched in February 2023, which encouraged people in Exeter to intervene safely if they see harassment in a public space, and promoted free bystander intervention training, led by the Safer Exeter Partnership.

Caroline Orr, Marketing Director at Program, expressed the team’s commitment to positive impact, stating, “We are thrilled to be partnering with First Light. This is an incredibly important issue which we want to help tackle, and we look forward to contributing to the important work that First Light does for our communities.”

Program, an Exeter-based positive impact marketing agency, will extend their support to First Light by providing free brand, PR, and marketing services throughout the year. The aim is to increase the reach and impact of First Light’s crucial services dedicated to supporting women and girls in the community.

Lyn Gooding, CEO at First Light, conveyed gratitude for Program’s support, emphasising the shared goal of building a future free from domestic abuse and sexual violence. “Together, we are building a future free from domestic abuse and sexual violence, ensuring every voice is heard, and that our communities thrive in safety. This collaboration is more than just working together, it’s about making a real difference in tackling a crucial issue.”

Christmas Operating Hours

Swindon and Wiltshire Services

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service

The ISVA service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The ISVA service operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The SARC will remain operational over the Christmas period and will still be providing immediate support and aftercare for survivors of sexual violence.

Please note*

Our Crisis Workers will still be on call 24hrs a day, throughout the Christmas period, for advice or to book forensic medical appointments, on 01793 781917.

The SARC Office will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The SARC office operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

Devon Services

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service

The ISVA service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The ISVA service operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

Plymouth Counselling

The Plymouth Counselling service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The Plymouth Counselling operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

 

Cornwall Services

The Safer Futures service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December, our helpline will be operating during office hours only.

The Safer Futures operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 9am to 5pm

Thursday 28th December 9am to 5pm

Friday 29th December 9am to 5pm

Saturday 30th December 9am to 5pm

Sunday 31st December Closed

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

Safe Spaces

The Safe Spaces service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December, our helpline will be operating as usual.

The Safe Spaces operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 9am to 9pm

Thursday 28th December 9am to 9pm

Friday 29th December 9am to 9pm

Saturday 30th December 9am to 1pm

Sunday 31st December 1pm to 5pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

If you need urgent support, the following numbers are available 24/7 to help you.

National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999

National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

If you are in danger,

please dial 999 immediately, or 101 for non-emergency

Pledge4Change: 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls

#Pledge4Change: 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls

From November 25th to December 10th, we invite you to be part of the 16 Days of Action, a powerful campaign to end violence against women and girls. We are making three vital pledges, under the hashtag #Pledge4Change for the coming year. Violence has no place in our society, and it’s time to bring about lasting change. Join us, pledge your support, and let’s be part of the solution.

 

Pledge One: Create Change #WeSeeYou

Our first pledge focuses on raising awareness. We urge you to speak out against sexual and domestic violence and abuse. It’s time to challenge common misconceptions and myths surrounding these issues.

Let’s speak out on toxic attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence. By addressing these issues head-on, we can make a difference.

 

Pledge Two: No Voice Left Unheard #WeHearYou

Our second pledge is all about amplifying the voices of women and girls. We’ll share their stories, inspiring change, and challenging perceptions. By doing this, we can transform attitudes and make sure no voice goes unheard.

 

Pledge Three: Empower Everyone #WeBelieveYou

The third pledge focuses on creating safe spaces. We’re committed to supporting organisations in creating safe environments where victims of violence can disclose their experiences without fear.

We’ll provide resources, conversation starter packs, and support to empower you to talk openly about abuse and violence with your loved ones. We’re also forging new alliances and collaborations to ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.

 

Get Involved:

Here are some easy ways for you to get involved and make a difference during the 16 Days of Action:

Spread Awareness: Share our messages on social media. Your voice can reach far and wide, making more people aware of this critical issue.

Engage in Conversations: Talk about the importance of ending violence against women and girls with your friends and family. A simple conversation can have a profound impact.

Donate: Contribute to help us continue our work. Your support goes a long way in making our mission a reality.

Take the Pledge: Commit to supporting our three pledges or create your own and help create real change. By taking a stand, you become a part of the solution.

Stand with us during these 16 Days of Action and beyond. Together, we can ensure that everyone has the right to feel safe. Let’s put an end to violence and make the world a safer, more inclusive place for all.

Together, we can make a difference.

#Pledge4Change #WeSeeYou #WeHearYou #WeBelieveYou

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.