Hospital staff mark Domestic Violence Awareness Week

Friday, 25 November 2016

To mark Domestic Violence Awareness Week staff at Southmead Hospital have been working with advisors within the organisation to put the matter under the spotlight.

Independent Domestic  and Sexual Violence Advisors (IDSVAs) from charity Survive, work with the team in the Emergency Department, providing training to staff and supporting patients who disclose that they have been the victims of violence.

The IDSVAs have also been working with staff in maternity to ensure they understand the signs of domestic violence and know what to do if someone reveals they affected by domestic violence.

Southmead Hospital Staff and advisors mark Domestic Violence Week

More training sessions were held in both parts of the hospital during Domestic Violence Awareness Week and the IDSVAs set up a stall in the Emergency Department to provide information about the support that is available for men and women who are affected by domestic violence.

In the last quarter 57 victims of domestic or sexual violence were identified through the Emergency Department and almost half were considered high risk.

IDSVA, Faye-Marie Stockden, has been working with the Emergency Department since the new hospital opened in May 2014.

She said: “I am so passionate about this project within the hospital.

“The people here are incredible and it is because of their support that the project has been such a success.”

Emergency Department consultant, Adam Brown, said: “Every episode in ED linked to domestic violence is a chance to intervene and stop it and we should make the most of that opportunity with properly trained, qualified people who have the resource and are integrated to our practice and other services to stop the cycle of domestic violence.”

Sandra’s story

Sandra (not her real name) attended the Emergency Department (ED) after being physically assaulted by her partner in public. Sandra, who was pregnant at the time, sustained head injuries from the assault.

The police arrived, having been called by a witness, and arrested the perpetrator and took Sandra to the Southmead Hospital ED.

Within the department, Sandra was offered Survive Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor (IDSVA) support by a nurse, who explained how they could help. Sandra said that while this had been the first physical assault, her ex partner had always been controlling and jealous and this had been escalating over the last few months. She said that things had got worse when she found out she was pregnant.

Sandra was seen by the IDSVA bedside in the ED and offered support while she was in the department. The Survive IDSVA and Sandra discussed support available and processes around reporting to the police (as this was something she wanted to do) and the support that was available throughout this process. The IDSVA supported Sandra to provide a police statement and supported her through the court process.

During this time the IDSVA service was also able to support Sandra to secure her own private rented accommodation, and apply for start-up grants and loans to buy and source necessities for her new home and the baby.

Sandra’s case went to court, the perpetrator was found guilty and she went on to have a healthy baby.

Sandra said: “Faye-Marie supported me wholeheartedly through the whole ordeal, put measures in place to make me feel safe, helped me set up for my baby and was ALWAYS at the end of the phone. I can't thank Survive enough; it's reassuring to know that if I ever need help from Survive that they will always be there for me.”