Jen is the Outreach IDVA for Cornwall. The role supports clients who are experiencing domestic abuse and are at a high risk, but who also need support with other complexities like complex mental health needs, drug and alcohol dependencies, homelessness or offending behaviours. These complexities can make it much more difficult for people experiencing abuse to access mainstream services, which can have strict eligibility criterie.
Jen works closely with We Are With You, supporting their staff with domestic abuse cases, triaging clients into any services they may need, and taking cases on.
The Outreach role is extremely collaborative, and the team work with many partners across the statutory and charitable sector.
They work with Outreach team within Cornwall Council, so that when navigators and outreach workers contact the team with concerns, Jen will go out to meet the clients and triage them into referral services. A key part of this work is cultivating relationships with people and building trust. As Jen is often working with people at the most difficult time of their lives, trust is a key element of their relationships to clients and ensuring they get the proper support they need.
The outreach team also work with the Rough Sleeper operational group – offering them advice and guidance around domestic abuse.
In addition they sit on the on HVLS liaison panel, who work with people experiencing homelessness, working out the next steps, offering support with access to services. The panel group is made up of Mental Health professionals, clinicians, psychiatrists and other people working in the field.
It’s hard to list all the people they co-work with, but in addition to the organisations above they run drop in sessions and have good working relationships with;
- adult social care
- local One stop shops
- Local police forces
- women’s centres
- rehabilitation facilities and more.
- They can also triage referrals onto therapy or other professionals.
It’s an extremely varied role which ranges from talking to people and trulyhearing them, offering advice, and if necessary removing people from high risk situations.
Jen often works with people who experience added complexities in day-to-day life and in accessing services to meet their basic needs. This means advocating for people is a critical part of the role.
Why do you think your role is important?
Jen has worked with vulnerable people with additional complexities before and wanted to stay in this area. This is a group of people who can very often lose their voice and become a number, figure or even a nuisance. These people are going through something anyway – and are an exceptionally vulnerable group to domestic violence. But advocating for them allows us to give them their voice back. People need to feel listened to and heard.
It’s also critical to work with the police to change that culture. Mainstream services can often cut people off with strict criteria and stigma makes this more severe, so it’s important toJen to work to break down that stigma.
Jen also always tries to maintain the availability and access to be able to give those clients the time and attention they need. Providing a link for them to access the services they have a right to access, and being a consistent source of support.
Why First Light?
It’s a challenging role. But those people need our support the most so it’s so rewarding.
I wanted to work in this field as I have personal lived experience, and I’ve specialised in safeguarding and working with complex women in other roles. It’s a dream job, merging the client base I love working with, with the areas I want to specialise in. I want to help the people who need it the most. Very supportive environment and that makes all the difference.
To speak to one of our Outreach team, call our helpline on 0300 8 777 4 777