A new toolkit to help health professionals identify and respond to domestic abuse victims in England launched this week.
Glow was one of eight pathfinder pilot sites to work with health professionals from various sectors to develop their response to domestic abuse, with the findings directly informing the toolkit.
The pilot project was set up by several national organisations, including IRISi, Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse, AVA, Imkaan and Safe Lives, to help transform the way the sector, including the NHS, responds to victims and to help identify them sooner.
Dentists and mental health workers were the focus of Glow’s pathfinder project. The team ran sessions about domestic abuse and the role of dentists in helping spot possible victims to eight dental practices across the county.
The project also saw 13 mental health professionals become domestic abuse champions over two intense days of training. The attendees were shown how to identify and respond appropriately to domestic abuse and disclosures, including looking at the controlling tactics used by perpetrators, the dynamics of an abusive relationship and challenging common beliefs and. The second day was focused on how to confidently train colleagues to also spot the signs.
Over the year, the project identified 61 potential victims of domestic abuse, all of who went on to get support from Glow.
Now, the findings and challenges the team faced have been used to shape the ‘toolkit’ for health services, which includes findings from the eight pilot projects on how to best respond to victims.
Hayley Ferns oversaw the Glow project: “I am so incredibly proud that we got to play our part in trialling and shaping this hugely important project.
“Around 85% of victims seek help 5 times from professionals before they get effective support. So by training NHS staff who are likely to come into contact with someone they suspect may be a victim, how to respond to the situation safety, we can help more people sooner.
“We’re looking forward to training more dental practice staff and mental health professionals later this year.”