Research and policy recommendations
Solace Women’s Aid is committed to elevating the voices of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and seeking opportunities for their insights to be shared with local and national policy makers.
The Silver Project: Evaluating our Domestic Abuse Service for Women Over 55
This report provides an evaluation of the Silver Project, which aims to minimise the risk of violence and abuse for older survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
The Silver project worked with over 120 older women affected by domestic and sexual violence between Oct 2013 and Jan 2016. The evaluation has demonstrated that the project’s beneficiaries are safer, healthier, less isolated and more confident as a result of their engagement with the project.
‘Changing our Heads’: Evaluation of the partnership between Shpresa Programme and Solace Women’s Aid to develop a specialist service for Albanian Speaking Women experiencing violence in London
The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Metropolitan University were commissioned by Trust for London to evaluate our partnership work with Shpresa Programme. The focus of this report is on the lessons that can be learned from this model of provision, to inform the development of sustainable services for women from newly arrived communities in London. The final report in based on two years of delivery of the project from October 2013 – September 2015.
The Price of Safety: How the housing system is failing women and children fleeing domestic abuse
Solace Women’s Aid has conducted research into the housing pathways of women and children survivors of domestic abuse who have come through Solace refuges. This research highlights systemic unfairness and discrimination against women and children fleeing domestic abuse in London.
Our research shows that many perpetrators of domestic abuse remain in the family home whilst survivors and their children are forced to move frequently between temporary and often unsuitable housing resulting in increased financial cost and poor recovery from the original trauma women and children experienced in the family home. The impact of such numerous moves throughout the survivor journey can be far reaching: children moving school many times; survivor’s unable to establish new friendships and networks, find work or continue with training and education; financial instability and forced reliance on welfare benefits.
Of the 121 women who came into and exited the Solace refuges in 2015, 22% had a secure tenancy on arrival whilst only 13% had a secure tenancy on departure. However some women arrived without a tenancy and gained a tenancy on leaving the refuge. 87% of women left the emergency shared accommodation provided in refuges for continued emergency temporary accommodation.
- Survivors with secure tenancy status at the time of fleeing domestic abuse maintain their status after fleeing. Therefore a pan London process should be put in place to ensure this happens consistently in all cases.
- A secure and consistent pathway for women fleeing domestic abuse into refuge and onto secure accommodation
- All Social Landlords should adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to dealing with perpetrators who are tenants and use all available civil and criminal powers to remove them from the property.
- All Social Landlords should be required to train staff in good practice to ensure they identify and effectively support those experiencing domestic abuse.
Social Impact Report 2015: Ascent Advice & Counselling
The Social Impact Report 2015 shows that Ascent Advice and Counselling (A&C) has generated real social value for the people of London in the first 2 years of its operation, providing valuable services to over 24,000 women and girls affected by violence across every London borough. It also provides a platform for further learning to ensure all women and girls have the best possible support and clear choices and pathways to aid their safety, well-being and recovery.
Between April 2013 and March 2015 Ascent A&C provided free, confidential advice and counselling services in every London borough. The Partnership supported 24,206 women and girls who had experienced, or were at risk of, domestic and sexual violence, generating a Social Value of £26,992,554. This equates to £5.99 for every pound invested through improved outcomes for service users.
Over the course of 2 years Ascent A&C has produced significant social value primarily in the form of outcomes for the women and girls supported; the additional capacity produced for organisations working with the Partnership; the reduced burden on other agencies and the added value created for boroughs and commissioners. Stakeholder views, in particular the views of service users, have also produced recommendations for future monitoring and data collection, ways in which Ascent A&C could increase its social value further and for the future of Pan-London services.
Finding the Cost of Freedom
Between 2011 and 2014 Solace conducted a 3 year research project examining how women and children rebuild their lives after domestic violence. This was the first longitudinal study of it’s kind in Europe and the crucial findings were launched in Finding The Costs Of Freedom in June 2014.
Conducted in partnership with the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Metropolitan University, the study tracked 100 women who had accessed one or more of Solace’s services. The research identified that for all the participants, removing themselves from the immediate control of an abusive man was only the first step. Over 90% experienced post-separation abuse, indicating the critical need for specialist support for women in the period after leaving an abusive situation.
The study identified the series of barriers women face in accessing the resources needed to rebuild their lives and how changes in the legal and policy context impacted on them. The findings highlighted that the specialist and holistic service provision at Solace was critical to women being and feeling safe, as well as dealing with the legacies of abuse for themselves and their children.
Based on the research findings a series of key policy recommendations were made. Details are available in the full report Finding The Costs Of Freedom and the Executive Summary. Several briefing papers on the major themes from the research were also developed. These are available below:
- How women experience coercive control pre and post separation
- Access to safe and secure housing
- Financial wellbeing and (in)security
- The response of agencies within the criminal and civil justice systems
- Women’s use of statutory and voluntary agencies when moving on from domestic violence
- The role played by community resources in ending violence against women