DA Champions' Network
Research tells us that victims can go to as many as five agencies before they find appropriate help, advice and support. By having Domestic Abuse (DA) Champions in many agencies, the aim is to dramatically reduce this number and provide a more joined up approach. In order to work effectively with victims and to ensure their safety, professionals need to have a common understanding of the issues and have the ability to co-ordinate their efforts and work more efficiently. We need to disseminate a good understanding of domestic violence among professionals in all agencies in a way that ensures that the information is of a good quality and up to date.
The Champion is seen as the lead for domestic abuse issues within their agency or unit and acts as the contact in and out of that unit/agency. They will be able to advise their colleagues on management of individual cases and ensure that they are aware of and have access to local resources and support. Champions will understand how other Champions can assist in supporting, helping and advising a victim of domestic abuse and their dependants, and have access to a database of other champions' details so that they can contact them directly.
This model began in Oxfordshire but is now also being replicated in Buckinghamshire, West Berkshire, Milton Keynes, Slough and the London Borough of Havering.
We currently have over 2000 active champions within the Thames Valley and this number is constantly growing. There are network meetings run in each district which help Champions add to their knowledge and to build those professional and personal relationships which will support them joining the ‘virtual’ team.
Cumbria, Norfolk and Hertfordshire Councils have also commissoned us to support the development of their own networks.