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Specialist support from Domestic Abuse Advocates

by Jonathan Kearney

Domestic abuse is a key priority for Knowsley Council and its partners. A range of support is provided to those seeking support to help them to escape the cycle of abuse.

Support is provided through the Council’s Domestic Abuse Advocates. We spoke to Michelle, who has been a Domestic Abuse Advocate for almost three years, to find out more about her role and the support she provides.

 What support can residents expect if they are allocated a Domestic Abuse Advocate?

A Domestic Abuse Advocate will establish safe contact with the client to introduce themselves and explore any immediate risks posed to the victim/survivor and take any immediate action to decrease risk and increase safety.

This may include target hardening which looks at increasing the security of the home address such as changes to locks.

The Advocate can support with access to legal advice and applying for relevant protective orders – protecting you from the offender. They will also support the victim/survivor through the process including attending court, requesting special measures such as screens in the courtroom and a side room to wait in.

Every client will be provided with a personal safety plan which will be reviewed regularly to reflect any changes in circumstances or risk.

Referrals can be completed to partner agencies for specialist support including Adult Social Care, The Listening Ear (counselling services), Thrive Mental Welling and  Change Grow Live (drug, alcohol, debt and mental health support).

There’s also a Domestic Abuse Advocate who is located within the Housing Solutions Service so housing information, advice and support can also be provided.

Clients can expect to be respected, listened to and emotional support is offered throughout.

Advocates are led by their clients in terms of what support and advice is offered and can decide if they feel they no longer need help from an Advocate at any time.

How long does the support last for?

 This can vary in terms of individual need, choice, and level of risk. Cases will be reviewed regularly to check progress and if risk has reduced.

 How can people access support?

 Individuals can contact The First Step in the first instance or discuss with any other professional such as a GP, Health Visitor, Social Worker, teaching staff, Adult Social Care regarding completing a referral on their behalf.

Whatever your situation, you are not alone and help and support is available through:-

Knowsley Council Safer Communities Service (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
0151 443 2610
Enquiries.safercommunities@knowsley.gov.uk

 The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
0151 548 3333

 Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
0151 443 2600

 Savera UK
0800 107 0726

 National Domestic violence Helpline
0808 2000 247

 Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327

 LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428

Remember to dial 999 in an emergency.

What feedback have you received about the support you’ve provided?

 Clients feel validated, listened to and their concerns treated seriously and sensitively.