The contract for the Worcestershire Domestic Abuse Service (WDAS) has been awarded to a partnership between West Mercia Women’s Aid (WMWA) and Rooftop Housing Group.
This service is funded from the Public Health Grant to Worcestershire County Council.
The new service brings together the existing WMWA team with colleagues from Rooftop, who have taken on the service previously provided by Stonham Home Group in the county. The new WDAS will include a strong focus on working in partnership, using supported volunteering opportunities to harness the knowledge, skills and newly-acquired confidence of service users as they move into independence and self-reliance. In this way, service development and future shaping can be directly influenced by those who understand users’ needs from their lived experience.
The new WDAS will continue to operate the single ‘front door’ to domestic abuse services through West Mercia Women’s Aid Helpline 0800 980 3331.
The refuges in Worcester and Kidderminster are also a key feature of the service and continue to provide emergency accommodation for women and children.
The Male Victim service previously run by Stonham will continue to be delivered, and a new Male Victim Helpline number will be set up in the near future. In the meantime, male victims can continue to access services through the WMWA Helpline number.
The new WDAS will continue to support women and children in the community, and satellite accommodation units will be a feature of the service, going forward. The work of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates with ‘high risk’ victims will continue as part of the wider domestic abuse provision in the county.
All current service users of both WMWA and Stonham services should expect their service to continue without interruption.
John Smith, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council, said: "I am delighted that this new partnership will make sure that services for the victims of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, continue to be available for those who need them. I am sure that these organisations will continue to provide the best service they can for our communities, recognising that victims of domestic abuse are particularly vulnerable. This service will ensure that people can move on with their lives in the most positive way possible."
Sue Coleman, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid, said: “Women’s Aid already works closely with West Mercia Housing, who own the current refuges. Partnership with Rooftop brings on board another big player in the local social housing arena and – with it – the potential to get domestic abuse at the top of the agenda for all social housing providers in the region. We are looking forward to building on the good practice that has developed in Worcestershire in recent years and developing an increasingly responsive and effective service for people from all communities whose lives are compromised by coercion, abuse and violence in their closest relationships. “