THE work of Cheshire Domestic Abuse Partnership in protecting and supporting families exposed to domestic abuse has been celebrated at a special event at 11 Downing Street, hosted by Government Minister Rosie Winterton.
The Partnership’s work was short listed in the ‘Achieving More through Partnership’ category of the Local Innovations Award scheme which is designed to recognise outstanding innovation and effectiveness.
It was praised for its excellent work, particularly in relation to helping children and young people.
The Cheshire West and Chester Partnership make sure that the combined resources of statutory and voluntary agencies are used effectively for local people.
Councillor Lynn Riley, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive Member for Area and Community Services said: “When people experience domestic abuse their whole lives can be shattered. Having a joined- up approach is essential for recovery and we’re very proud of our local services which enable people to get back control of their lives.”
Thinking ‘family’ is what makes the difference to the Partnership’s effectiveness. Any agency which comes into contact with a family is trained to undertake a risk assessment and think about the safety and needs of the children as well as the adult survivor.
Judith Gibson, Strategic Co-ordinator said: “An invitation to Number 11 is quite an honour.
“Our overwhelming emotion was one of privilege, not just in representing the many agencies which work together in the Partnership, but in representing the thousands of women, men and children for whom domestic abuse is a daily experience.
“As staff we support their determination to get a better life for their families – the really hard work in surviving abuse is all theirs.”
Safeguarding concerns are referred to Children’s Services while children and young people can access therapeutic or change programmes and are supported in schools through the work of the Safeguarding Children in Education teams.
The judges were particularly impressed by the cost-effectiveness of the Domestic Abuse Family Safety Unit, a service employed by the Council, co-located with Police and funded through partnership members.
Equally vital are local refuges who continue to provide accommodation and outreach support which help women and children to recover as well as to be safe.
The Partnership’s most recent venture is the development of a recovery programme called Gateway, which can be used with groups of men or women. Working together with Children’s Centres the pilot programmes have been very successful and show that survivors are often best placed to help one another.
If anyone has concerns about domestic abuse they can phone a 24 hour free national helpline 0808 2000 247. In working hours they can get in contact with the Family Safety Unit on 01606 351375 who will make sure they get the most appropriate local service.