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EARLY INTERVENTION MAKING MORE PEACEFUL HOMES

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Portsmouth City Council's Early Intervention Project (EIP) is showing impressive signs of success in the fight agai...
Portsmouth City Council's Early Intervention Project (EIP) is showing impressive signs of success in the fight against domestic violence, says the Home Office.

Acting on referrals from health, housing, police and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, EIP provides information, support, safety planning, accompaniment to court and a listening ear to survivors of domestic violence.

EIP manager Shonagh Dillon said:

'We support women and men who experience domestic abuse and sexual violence. We offer a client lead, non-judgmental service to that aims to enable people to consider their options and make decisions that are appropriate for them and keep them safe.'

Although the project is offered to men and women alike, of EIP's client base in 2005, 98% are females aged 18-67. This statistic has changed within the referrals of male survivors of sexual violence that are accessing the SARC. Research shows that in that domestic violence usually occurs in the first five years of a relationship and 7 out of 10 victims have children - most of which have more than one.

With the recent launch of the Specialist Domestic Abuse Court in Portsmouth, EIP also assumes the role of the Independent domestic violence advocates in court alongside specialist trained magistrates, CPS, legal advisors and support from the witness service and witness care unit. EIP believes the launch of the court will mean more domestic abuse survivors feel supported to go through the legal battles and will encourage more offenders to offer guilty pleas.

As part of EIP's wide-reaching project, they have taken a co-ordinated approach in pinpoint early signs of abuse by training Portsmouth midwives to, probe new mothers for information about domestic violence. As a result, a recent report showed that 7% of referrals to EIP are directed by maternity departments.

Recent evaluation of the project shows that early intervention works and a co-ordinated multi agency response works. In Portsmouth the repeat victimisation figures have reduced from 84% in 2004 down to 16% in 2006.

This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Children & adult

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