Bradford district’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy 2021-2024
Last year, the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Board and Community Safety Partnership in Bradford launched their Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy. The strategy explains how the many professional partner organisations in our district will come together to ensure adults, children and young people can live free from harm caused by sexual violence, coercion and domestic abuse in their relationships.
Our work will centre around:
- Prevention and early intervention
- Supporting survivors and their families
In this filmed online event, Ruth Davison (former manager of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Team) and Richard Padwell (Superintendent, Bradford Division, West Yorkshire Police) launch the Bradford district’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy (2021-2024).
At Staying Put we provide a range of support services for individuals impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. Services are offered from a single point of contact, a helpline called the One Front Door and include both community and accommodation based support.
Our team of frontline workers (IDVAs/ISVAs) work across all risk levels, offering sanctuary services alongside practical and emotional support. Working alongside the MARAC and the criminal justice system in order to protect those most at risk and help hold those responsible to account.
Sexual violence is a relatively new area of support for us, however, we have a Lead ISVA, along with two part time ISVAs that are fully trained and experienced in supporting clients through the criminal justice system.
For many years the recognition of sexual violence has been through a telescope with a limited field of vision. The new legislation takes us nearer to a 360 perspective, recognising many other ways that people experience sexual violence on a daily basis, and finally saying – no more. The opportunity to participate in the ‘Acting on the Act’ event, which highlighted important legal legislation about the breadth of sexual violence, is part of broadening that field of vision, about what is simply not acceptable and now criminal.
I’m delighted to be part of the dialogue which this event promoted and look forward to seeing how we can work together to ensure the conversations continue where they are most needed.
Acting on the Act
Working closely with partners, Bradford Council’s DASV team are holding a series of learning events called ‘Acting on the Act’. In short, with partner organisations, we discuss how we take the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 from paper and embed the law into practice.
As part of the Sexual Violence Awareness Week (Feb 2022), we welcomed around 110 professionals to our first ‘Acting on the Act’ learning event, sharing knowledge and training on the Domestic Abuse Act and how it works in practice in relation to sexual violence. These learning events are about taking time to reflect and implement the new learning around the Act into our day to day work as professionals.
The Domestic Abuse Act came into force in 2021, and important changes in legislation were made to help provide further protections to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Today we focused on the key elements of the act that relate to sexual violence. Specifically, the new offence of non-fatal strangulation, the extension to revenge porn offence and the clarification of ‘rough sex’ defence.
We were joined by an outstanding panel of professionals in the sector, including West Yorkshire Police, Victim Support, Staying Put, Bradford Rape Crisis, Lotus Project, and the Local Authority DASV training team. This panel helped guide us through these legislative changes, and also inform us as to the services already available to support victims of sexual violence.
To help us put these legislative changes into practice we explored the new legislation in the context of some existing case studies. We were able to see how these case studies could have been different under the new act, and how services may now respond in these instances. As we move forward with this new learning in light of sexual violence awareness week, we are committed to working together in the district to improve our practice and see better outcomes for victims of sexual violence.
During this meeting we identified some key areas that we will share with our district Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Board to ensure that this conversation generates some next steps to target some of the issues raised which included:
- How we ensure that key messages are shared with children so that we have a consistent preventative strand to our work.
- Ensuring that we keep discussion going as case law and practice develops.
- How to address the gap in our perpetrator offer when we cannot reach the threshold for charge.
- How we keep staff safe when working with perpetrators who use coercive and controlling behaviour.
- How we communicate information to people who have a learning need or disability.
- Whether we need to develop information about the impact of strangulation for professionals and victims.
So what is next?
The Acting on the Act event is one in a series of events that will look at how we implement the Domestic Abuse Act in our district. Future events will focus on the following themes:
- Children as victims of domestic abuse
- Housing victims of domestic abuse
- Coercive control and new measures in court
To register your interest in the mailing list for future events please contact the Domestic Abuse team.
Domestic abuse resources
External reports on DASV
Resources for schools
Resources about hard-to-reach communities
Resources about learning disabilities
16 Days of Action
In 2021 the Bradford District Domestic Abuse Housing Strategy was launched. This strategy sets out Bradford’s three-year plan for the provision of relevant safe accommodation and support for victims of Domestic Abuse, including children as victims.
Legislative changes under the new Domestic Abuse Act will be implemented locally to support the strategic approach in this document. The Domestic Abuse Act has mandated that Local Authorities have a duty to house victims and survivors and their children within safe accommodation that provides robust support.