Assertive Outreach is Cyfannol Women’s Aid project, working in partnership with Gwent Police. The project began in 2018, following a successful pilot which found that individuals experiencing domestic abuse engaged more with officers when a support worker was present. The team provides support to victims of domestic abuse at the point of crisis across Gwent. Support workers are based at police stations with officers and attend domestic abuse call outs, giving a joint response to incidents of domestic abuse.
It was identified that a more specialist approach was needed to help vulnerable victims within the community. In July 2021, the project was expanded to include a specialist young person crisis intervention support worker, which is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Within this role I provide support to young people aged between 16 to 24 at the time of crisis and I also provide ongoing support to ensure that young people are linked with the appropriate services. This intervention helps young people to be safer and feel more supported when leaving abusive relationships.
When supporting young people, I use a variety of different methods to help with engagement. This could be at their home, a safe place within the community, over the phone or via text or email. I speak to the young person to understand what they are comfortable with, ensuring that they understand that they are in control of what happens next. I will discuss their relationship with them, complete a risk assessment and find out what their wants and needs are. I will formulate a safety plan with the young person to ensure that the plan is achievable and tailored to their needs. I will also discuss ongoing support needs whether this be refuge, specialist domestic or sexual abuse support, mental health, housing or specialist drug and alcohol support.
My goal when supporting young people is to help bridge that gap between the police and support services. I want them to feel heard when reporting a crime or seeking advice, knowing they will be taken seriously and believed. I want young people to feel empowered to make their own choices for them and their family, having the knowledge of what support is available to them. At that point of crisis, it can be incredibly overwhelming, so to have someone who can spend the time to explain the process and go through their options with them is really important. Many of the young people I speak to are shocked about how much support and help there is out there for them.
I am passionate about effecting positive change for survivors of domestic abuse and am extremely proud of the role that I do and the work Assertive Outreach do as a whole to make a positive difference within our community.
To find out more about our community-based support services, please visit our community page.