North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) is a charity that operates to offer the relief of distress and suffering experienced by adults and children as a result of domestic violence or abuse.
During lockdown they told us: "Victims of abuse are currently suffering more difficulties than others while in the "lockdown" often with their perpetrators. Constant surveillance is making it very difficult for victims to be able to access support by telephone."
In response to this, and to evidence pointing towards web-based chat as a safer, alternative method of communication for support, NDADA applied to DCF for an emergency grant to facilitate a local Live TextTalk service via their website.
NDADA’s Rebecca who leads the text talk project
"Research shows us that it can be easier for victims to be assumed to be texting even while in the same room as the perpetrator and we have taken advice from the National Helpline which substantiates this. The National Helpline however does not offer local advice not does it have the local networks of support that we can access."
Whilst we are happy to report this exercise was indeed a success;
"One woman told us that she wouldn’t have engaged unless we had the facility to talk in this way. She does not feel comfortable on the phone. She is experiencing a high level of control and sexual abuse. We gave her several options on how to gain support going forward and she has chosen to continue to her support through email."
the financial impact placed on the charity themselves by not only providing this service, but from an anticipated upsurge in demand, is an issue that that they themselves now face.
"The TextTalk service has enabled women in lockdown to access our services in a different way, at different times of the day, keeping their safety in mind. But it has been challenging to staff the TextTalk service which we are currently running between 8-10pm Mon-Fri. Our staff are already working flat out to fulfil their day to day roles. We have found a way over this by amalgamating the staffing of TextTalk with our on-call service for our refuge and offering overtime payments at time and a half but this will naturally increase our core costs going forward."
"This period of “emergency” is challenging for all agencies supporting domestic abuse victims and their children and we are busier than we have ever been. However, more challenging for NDADA is the inability currently, to secure ongoing funding from April 2021 enabling several vital projects to continue. This is obviously very worrying. The large charitable trust funders currently have their books closed for 'normal' applications."
To read about our 3-phased coronavirus funding response please click here.
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