Domestic abuse services will continue to expand in Ashford, thanks to the ongoing success of a strong multi-agency network programme.
At last night’s meeting, Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet paid tribute to the ongoing success of Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF), which works alongside professionals in the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors to support those seeking help. The charity’s achievements include the Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, and a series of victim programmes.
ADAF is now introducing a new scheme in Ashford – in conjunction with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company – aimed at helping perpetrators understand the impact they are having. A new rural drop-in service which may further improve provision for those across the borough is also being considered.
Additional funding has already been secured to provide a support network for both adolescent girls and boys, young women, and a specialist one-to-one service for children affected by domestic violence.
The Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, a weekly drop-in centre where victims can receive advice and support, received 443 visitors between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2015-16.
It is believed the increase is due to the leadership, delivery and awareness of the facility, which is enabling victims to speak out. It is the second busiest One Stop Shop in the county, with 20% of those attending doing so on more than one occasion.
Ashford Borough Council funds the full-time domestic abuse coordinator post, as well as providing money towards an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), who is the primary contact for victims of domestic abuse. The council was also successful in bidding for funds to provide emergency accommodation to female victims of domestic violence.
Councillor Brad Bradford, Portfolio Holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety, said: “The council continues to play an important role in coordinating the response to domestic abuse. This ensures that Ashford has many excellent services committed to supporting such a worthwhile cause.
“This report highlights the marvellous work that has been undertaken by a range of agencies and I am impressed by the future work plan.”
The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.
For information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county go to www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk
Ashford Borough Council 14 February 2018