Leicestershire County Council Public Health funds specialist support services for those affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence, and has recently undertaken recommissioning of those services ensuring they remain the best response to local need. The new service model, developed with partners including Police and Crime Commissioner, Leicester City and Rutland Councils, was shaped by engagement sessions with people who use services, public consultation, and data from previous years.
The new contracts will be in place from 1st April 2022. The new service system will consist of:
- Helpline and Engagement Service provided by Free from Violence and Abuse (FreeVa)
- Domestic Abuse Locality Service provided by Living Without Abuse (LWA)
- Sexual Violence Support Service provided by FreeVa
- Leicestershire Safe Accommodation Support Service provided by Womens Aid Leicestershire Limited (WALL)
The contact number to access any help, support and advice remains the same existing helpline number, 0808 80 200 28 which is a freephone number hidden from bills. The service will be available 7 days a week, although initially weekend hours may be reduced due to staff recruitment and training.
To streamline access to services, advice and support there will no longer be a separate ’professionals’ telephone number. All calls will be managed through the main freephone number and response tailored to need.
The main difference is that the existing UAVA (United Against Violence and Abuse) consortium will no longer exist beyond 1st April 2022. However, the service providers who make up UAVA will remain, and having considerable local experience and knowledge, will continue to deliver specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse services across Leicestershire.
The ‘frontdoor’ and access to help and support for domestic abuse and sexual violence is via the Helpline and Engagement Service where initial support and advice and assessment will take place. As appropriate service users will receive further ongoing support from the relevant services (including 1-2-1, groupwork both face to face and via digital platforms, refuge and dispersed accommodation), this will be co-ordinated by the Helpline and Engagement Service.
It is anticipated that there will be very little difference noticed by people accessing and using the new services as most of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’. Our providers have worked together for a number of years and fully intend to continue to work together to deliver a whole service system.
Over the coming weeks more information, including a new website, will be launched and FreeVa, LWA, and WALL will be delivering information sessions to update partners on the new services. The existing UAVA website will remain for several months and will redirect visitors to the new website to ensure continuity of support.
Living Without Abuse (LWA) www.lwa.org.uk
Womens Aid Leicestershire Limited (WALL) www.wa-leicester.org.uk
Free from Violence and Abuse (FreeVa) www.freeva.org.uk
Further additional support services are being commissioned across Leicestershire with funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Communities, and Housing (DLUCH) to support local authorities meet their new statutory requirements within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Plans are currently being finalised.