IDVA’s in lockdown Welcome back to the IDVA blogs! As you are probably already aware, Next Chapter has continued to work tirelessly to get the word out there that we are all still here for you no matter how lockdown has affected you and your ability to access the help and support from us.In our previous blog we told you a bit about how we work, what we can offer and the many different ways in which we can support you, your safety and much more. Life changed so quickly back in March, when in a blink of an eye we have all had to adapt to staying at home. We IDVA’s felt a sense of unease, we felt anxious for the safety of our clients, who were now trapped at home with their abuser all day every day, concerned they would no longer be able to reach out to us for support and safety advice… At the beginning of lockdown, we felt worried and concerned of how safe it will be to reach out to our victims/survivor’s. Is the perpetrator now home 24/7? How are people going to get help? Will they find the strength to call 999? We all felt uncertain of what may lie ahead. However, referrals were still coming in either via the police or self-referrals. Reassurance prevailed, our clients, both current and new sought ways to reach out. The IDVA team understands the impact lockdown has had and the additional difficulties this has for our victims/survivors of domestic abuse for we all continue to break down these barriers and continue to be innovative in how we offer our support. IDVA’s have found themselves ‘grounded’ - no face to face meetings with our clients, courts have been working remotely and some cases have been adjourned. We are no longer working from our allocated bases, we have not been able to see each other in person. However, as a team we remain in touch and support one another and together we have jumped over the hurdles and our team meetings are now virtual - thank goodness for technology! IDVA's thoughts about lockdown.... The best thing about lockdown is being able to take advantage of the time that clients seem to have available to them now. Almost all my new clients have had plenty of time to talk in detail about what’s been happening to them and it hasn’t had to be juggled between school drop off’s, clubs or work which can make support quite disjointed. As well as having more time available to talk, clients seem to welcome engagement more too. They want to have contact with another person, even if it’s just over the phone, perhaps due to feeling lonely in lockdown. It’s opened up an opportunity to provide a far more effective service with clients more actively engaged with their IDVA. We have still been able to access a wide range of agencies to assist with helping our clients. The IDVA's have also been able to support their clients remotely in child protection conferences and meetings to support and empower clients. There are some positives during lockdown.... There has been a greater collaborative approach from partner agencies that in essence appears to be more solution focused and client centred. The media has been a positive, there has been greater recognition of domestic abuse and empathy for being in lockdown with an abusive partner. Safety is our main mission! Lockdown has caused this to be a difficult time to help plan getting the perpetrator or yourself and children removed from the home environment. Those who are currently going through the court process are experiencing many delays due to COVID-19. Currently we aim to work at the highest level possible to support you from our home. We will liaise with a wide range of agencies to help support you. Your IDVA will be there to encourage you, empower you and guide you! So, to finish off for now we want everyone to know that IDVA V LOCKDOWN has not and will not stop us from being there for victims of domestic abuse! We all encourage you to dial 999! Your safety is important to us, your IDVA will still be there to support you through your own personal journey to becoming free from abuse.