At Anxious Minds, we already support around 500 victims of domestic abuse per year in our adult counselling service. The Empowerment Project has been created to widen the forms of support we offer to victims of domestic abuse not only to offer counselling services but to educate and provide both victims of domestic abuse and the next generation of young adults with the tools to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, to set appropriate relationship boundaries and to offer legal support and advice to victims enabling them to both unchain themselves from abusive relationships and to provide an early intervention in order to save the lives of young women.
Our dedicated in house legal advice and support service will be based at our three dedicated Drop in Wellbeing and recovery centres located in the heart of our local communities at Blyth in our New women only centre opening November 2020 and Wallsend and Meadow Well at our Drop-in centers . Our centres are open and accessible to anyone in our community and will offer talking therapies, domestic abuse awareness sessions, drop in informative presentations such as legal and practical information sessions and group support sessions as well as 1:1 support and counselling.
Our Project Lead, Claire, is a Qualified Family and Domestic Abuse Solicitor. Her experience in dealing with matters is that many young women are often afraid and reluctant to access support and legal advice at early stages and often are not equipped to recognise the early signs of an abusive relationship. Young women more often than not only access support in response to emergency situations causing them to flee their homes and following incidents of violence involving the Police. Although domestic abuse education and support via local women's refuges there is a need for a support system that educates before matters escalate to fleeing the family home.
The loneliness of abuse often starts at the beginning of the relationship with abusers isolating their victims, not only physically but emotionally. As a result, victims then often feel too disconnected from other relationships to tell anyone else, especially close friends and family members, what is happening. It is important that victims know they are not alone and by offering support in a number of ways we can provide assurance, education and skills to victims to enable them to open up about their experiences in safe spaces and provide them with valuable information and resources to enable them to move on with their lives as stronger and more resilient individuals.
The lasting impacts of domestic abuse on the survivor include mental, emotional, physical, social and financial. The effects are also felt by children of the family who may have been harmed by either witnessing or being subject to domestic abuse.
Wider social benefits of providing early intervention support and education around domestic abuse therefore include promoting positive self worth and self esteem of victims and young women, reducing the intervention costs for Police, health and other service responses and reducing the need for time off having to be taken by survivors from paid employment and caring responsibilities.
Please help us end the cycle of domestic abuse in the North East.