Left to right: Julie Reeves, Senior Team Leader, Splitz, Lucy Downes, IRISi and Susannah Hunter, Devon County Council

Yesterday, the 18th June 2018, the Devon team, along with our LEESAR Partners and guest speakers put on a series of presentations to an audience of 70 individuals from stakeholder organisations.

Presentations included a review of our work over the last year, but also information about the new innovative projects we are undertaking in partnership. The morning had to be a little rearranged after two of our key speakers were caught up in some chaos with the train services, but we don’t think the attendees minded too much.

Splitz Support Service (Splitz) won the tender for the commissioned Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Services in Devon, and leads a partnership including North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA), Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) and Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services (DRCSAS). The four organisations form the LEESAR Partnership members. This is the first time that domestic abuse and sexual violence services have been commissioned together in Devon, and each of the LEESAR partners will bring their distinct expertise to enhance the provision of services across the county. We are really excited about our new partnership. The name LEESAR comes from the aims of the four partners and how they work with service users; Listen, Engage, Empower, Support, Advocate, Recovery.

At the event we were able to showcase our some of our new projects. Over the next year our new innovations will be concentrated in three areas: Domestic abuse and sexual violence (DASV) in health services; DASV and young people; and making sure that domestic abuse perpetrators are challenged. However LEESAR partners will still be operating crisis and recovery services for victims of DASV. Speakers included: Sue Wallis, NDADA, introducing the section on health and DASV; Jess Donnelly, Standing Together, talking about the Health Pathfinder (North Devon and Exeter has been selected as one of only three areas nationally to work with the Health Pathfinder scheme); Julie Reeves, Splitz, Lucy Downes, IRISi, and Susannah Hunter, DCC, who told us about the new DASV scheme in GP surgeries in Devon and Torbay; and Alison Cockram, Splitz, Chris Chamings, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Integrated Offender Management (police), Annabel Hawkes, Community Rehabilitation Company, Karen Atkinson, Splitz and Sara Williams, Splitz, informing everyone about the new perpetrator pilot schemes in Exeter and South Devon. However, I think it is beyond doubt that the children and families’ teams stole the show.

Led by Emma Stephens, Splitz, the teams from Splitz, NDADA (Lois Devlin) and SAFE (Liz Langley and Robin Gretenkort) took us through a story about a family experiencing domestic abuse and how our partnership services will work to support all of the family. Although hard hitting, it was a heartfelt performance. Recovery is an important aspect of our work. Chrissy Stower, Splitz, chaired the day, and spoke about the crossovers between domestic abuse and sexual violence. Many of those who experience abuse, including sexual abuse, as a child, will go on to experience domestic abuse as adults, either as a perpetrator or a victim. Emma Pilling, DRCSAS, spoke very eloquently about the invaluable counselling and support work of DRCSAS, with clients who have suffered from childhood sexual abuse, or from rape. The event was closed with a light hearted address by Fran Lewis MBE, Splitz’ Executive Director, who compared the work of domestic abuse and sexual violence to an elephant being scrubbed with a Brillo pad. After which the delegates enjoyed time to relax and network over lunch. All of the speakers were amazing and a big thank you goes out to all of them. But I can’t finish without thanking the wonderful Splitz Team Leaders, who put in so much work to make yesterday happen: Julie, Alison, Emma and Sara. Well done ladies! If you would like to find out more about the LEESAR Partnership or about the services of the partners please contact us: 0345 155 1074.

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