Support line: 0117 961 2999 Office line: 0117 961 3065
Free phone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Run in partnership between Women’s Aid & Refuge


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Are you afraid of your partner?

Do you feel safe?

Are you confused, scared or isolated by a

partner, ex-partner or family member?

Are you worried about someone you know?

Survive provides a range of services to women who have experienced domestic abuse and may need our support.

All these services are free, confidential and non-judgemental.

Please get in touch if you think you need our help.

You are not alone, you are not to blame.

How Survive can help

Support Line
0117 961 2999

The Support Line is open 9.30am – 12:30pm and 1pm – 4pm every weekday (excluding bank holidays).

Our Support Line workers are happy to take your call, whether you are a woman who is experiencing/has experienced domestic violence or abuse, or you are supporting someone in that position. However, to make a referral into one of our services we do ask that the woman calls herself. This allows us to work out the best possible way to support her and gives the opportunity for us to make a thorough risk assessment of her current situation.

Our Support Line workers are happy to discuss specific worries with someone, to explain more about our services and to guide someone through our referral procedure if they would like support. Alternatively, they are also happy to just ‘be there’ for someone, providing a safe and confidential space to open up and talk through experiences.

The Support Line is the main entry point for all other Survive services. We also have strong links with other agencies, so if we are unable to provide the specific support that a women or her family need, we will do our best to direct you to an appropriate organisation.
For some women who want or need to leave an abusive relationship, there is no other option but to leave their family home to keep themselves or their family safe. For women and families in this position Survive manages 3 refuges in secure locations across South Gloucestershire, providing temporary homes for up to 12 families and 4 single women at a time. Each family will have their own bedroom and share kitchens, living areas and playrooms with other families. As long as space is available a family can move in at very short notice.

Each refuge has a Support Worker based there several days a week who works with each woman individually. As well as helping new families to settle in, they provide emotional support to help the woman process her experiences, practical support to help the family stay safe and to enable the family to move towards independent living both within refuge, and when they are ready to move on.

Family Support Workers and Play workers are also available in refuge to help with parenting, work with the children and provide play sessions and trips.
Freedom Programme
The Freedom Programme is our group work programme for women who have experienced domestic abuse, to help them recover from their experiences, recognise potential future abusers and recognise the effects of domestic abuse on children. It also supports them to help each other and form a network of support. Isolation often forms a central part of domestic abuse.

The Freedom programme makes a real difference to the lives of women and children who have experienced abuse. Below is a quote from a former group participant:

"OMG! I married the persuader, what an insight. I now understand how he has affected my life. Without this group I would still be living with my children in an abusive environment. I need this group, the support is second to none, and no other establishment has helped keep me and my family safe."

Think this group might be useful for you? Please call us on 0117 961 2999

The groups provide support, information and an opportunity to meet with other women who have had similar experiences. There is a free crèche and the programme is run in three different locations in South Glos.

“Very useful – I didn’t realise I had a problem until listening to others – just because violence has stopped doesn’t mean the control isn’t there.”

IDVA Support
What is an IDVA and how can an IDVA help me?

The main purpose of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) is to address the safety of victims at high risk of harm from intimate partners, ex-partners or family members to secure their safety and the safety of their children. Serving as a victim’s primary point of contact, IDVAs normally work with their clients from the point of crisis to assess the level of risk, discuss the range of suitable options and develop safety plans.

The IDVA’s role in all multi-agency settings is to keep the client’s perspective and safety at the centre of proceedings.

They are pro-active in implementing the plans, which address immediate safety, including practical steps to protect themselves and their children, as well as longer-term solutions. These plans will include actions from the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) as well as sanctions and remedies available through the criminal and civil courts, housing options and services available through other organisations. IDVAs support and work over the short- to medium-term to put them on the path to long-term safety. They receive specialist accredited training and hold a nationally recognised qualification.

They can also help with:

• Liaising with other agencies such as the police, CPS, witness care, witness service or victim support.
• Police investigation – If you have reported an assault to the police an IDVA can liaise with the police and ensure that you have an effective safety plan in place and can advise you on safety. If you want your locks changed, an IDVA can make a referral for this. They can also talk to you about evidence.
• Charges – An IDVA can explain the charges such as harassment, common assault, ABH or GBH.
• Bail conditions – If your partner or ex-partner has bail conditions an IDVA can explain this and what happens if the bail conditions are breached.
• Trials – An IDVA can support you at trial, explain the process and give information on special measure applications. They can attend the pre-trial review or sentence to ensure that your requests are understood.
• Victim Personal Statements – This tells the court your experience and how you have been affected by the crime and what outcome you would like. The police or an IDVA can take a VPS. It is a good idea to keep a diary of your experiences to help with this. They can also talk to you about restraining orders.
• After the trial – An IDVA can explain the verdict and the process after. If there is a not-guilty verdict an IDVA can help inform you of your options and talk to you about safety plans.

Safety Planning
• MARAC – A MARAC is a ‘multi–agency risk assessment conference’ where lots of professionals meet to see how to make your situation safer and see what support they can offer. If you have agreed to a MARAC referral an IDVA can explain how it works and represent your views at the MARAC.

CAADA video ‘What is a MARAC?’

• Civil options – An IDVA can explain injunctions and help you to obtain a non–molestation order or occupation order. They can give advice on legal aid or DIY injunctions.

Practical Support
• Refuge or housing – If you would like to go into a refuge or get advice on housing issues an IDVA can make referrals or support you in getting the best advice.
• Finance – If you are in debt or have financial problems an IDVA can put you in touch with organisations that can help or give advice. If you would like to make a criminal compensation claim (this is usually advised after criminal proceedings) an IDVA can put you in touch with Victim Support who can help you make an application. It must be made within 2 years of the incident.
• Children – If you are concerned for your children an IDVA can put you in touch with relevant organisations and talk to you about contact arrangements.
Hospital based support
We have two part-time Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) based within the Accident and Emergency Department at Southmead Hospital. Their aim is to work with high risk victims who are not supported by other agencies. People often feel that hospital is a safe environment in which they can disclose information about any abuse they are experiencing. Many people attend A&E with vague symptoms/self-induced overdoses/deliberate self-harm/drug & alcohol misuse/pregnancy related concerns. The underlying reason is quite often domestic abuse, but this is only discovered if medical staff ask the right questions. Forced marriage and honour based violence cases are often identified by hospital staff also.
Info Sessions
Our information sessions are free and confidential and you do not need an appointment. They are aimed at women who may be experiencing domestic violence.

We offer: Advice and general information, 1:1 support & legal advice from one of our volunteer solicitors. We can also refer you into other services within Survive from which you may benefit.

Come along to gain useful information for yourself, or to find out how to support a friend or family member.

We have fortnightly sessions running in Staple Hill, Filton and Yate (Westgate centre) children centres.

For more information please call the support line on: 0117 961 2999

Look at yourself in a mirror. Look at the person you want to be and that you feel that you are and get help. There are charities like Survive who run programmes for women like me, like us, that can help us and point us in the right direction and get the help and support that you need, especially if you have children, but more so just for you. Get your life back on track

Kim* former service user


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