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HOMETRUTHS Annual Report 2012

HOMETRUTHS’ Second Year Annual Report Providing Services to Survivors of Domestic Violence and Abuse in Swindon & Wiltshire.

Company Registration Number: 7064049 www.hometruths.coop HOMETRUTHS Co-operative Ltd, Box 63, 116 Commercial Road, SWINDON, SN1 5BD Tel: 01793 617589

Email: info@hometruths.coop


Co-Founder’s Report 2012

Mary Cosker & Kim Swinden

It is fantastic to be sat here writing a report about HOMETRUTHS’ successful second year !! So much has happened and we have been so busy that time seems to have flown by. Thinking about all we have done in the past two years but also about all we still want and need to do in the coming years, is a wonderful place to be and we thank everyone who has in some way made a contribution to the on-going development of HOMETRUTHS.

We have had over 30% increase in referrals into our services this year compared with 2011 and we consider this a real measure of success. A quarter of our referrals in 2012 have been self-referrals which indicates that people within the local community who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse have contacted us themselves to ask for help and support. This is an indication we are beginning to access the 80% of people who it is nationally recognised do not report the abuse they experience. Engaging with the victims and survivors who have not told anyone and haven’t received any help or who haven’t found the right help for them, is a key aim of HOMETRUTHS. It is an on-going challenge to become accessible to victims who are often unaware they are experiencing domestic abuse, feel too ashamed or scared to speak out, have such low self-esteem they cannot ask for help or are so isolated and dependent on the perpetrator it is too dangerous to seek help. Many of the people who have approached us themselves have been at high risk of harm and we have been able to assist them in increasing their safety and the safety of their children. As a specialist domestic abuse service we know the importance of survivors feeling safe in talking to us and confident that they will receive the response that is the most appropriate for their circumstances. Connecting with very traumatised, anxious or depressed people who are often in fear for their lives and the well-being of their children with the threat of the abuser either still living with them or having frequent, unwanted contact from the abuser, does require a focused and dedicated service. The importance of independent organisations like HOMETRUTHS continues to grow as the austerity measures see budget cuts to public services such as the Police, the Courts and Social Services. Working within the community and engaging one to one and through groups with people whose lives are under threat or who are living in a torturous relationship is vital. Connecting with those isolated from their families, friends and neighbourhoods, recognising and validating their experiences, providing safety measures and empowering victims to regain control over their lives is not only life-saving and life-changing for individuals but also increases the safety and well-being of local communities. HOMETRUTHS is an essential service for survivors and victims of domestic abuse and violence and we want to continue to build on our successes of the last 2 years. We know, entering 2013, the austerity measures are tightening their grip and funding will be the main challenge for next year—but we know very well the value of our service and the importance of finding the funding. We are waiting to see the impact of the proposed cuts to Legal Aid in April 2013 and the outcomes of the Welfare Reforms of 2012, on the lives of survivors of domestic abuse and their children and the anticipated increasing need for HOMETRUTHS’ specialist domestic abuse service as other services are stretched and reduced.


HOMETRUTHS’ CONFERENCE June 2012 UNLOCKING THE TRUTH ON DOMESTIC ABUSE 9 Survivors of Domestic Abuse who have received support and help from HOMETRUTHS volunteered to help make the day run smoothly

7 survivors of domestic abuse courageously stood in front of 100 delegates and told their stories and the importance of HOMETRUTHS to them and their children

100 delegates attended the conference. They were a range of professionals and students from across the south west.

Frank Mullane from the charity AFFDA, spoke about Serious Case Reviews in domestic violence homicides


HOMETRUTHS’ First Annual Conference was an amazing success. We held the event in Jury’s Inn hotel in Swindon and advertised to agencies and organisations across the south west. 100 delegates attend including Police Officers, Social Workers, teachers, counsellors and children’s workers. Speakers included Dr Lorraine Radford Phd, who presented around the impact of domestic violence on children, psychotherapist Zoe Lodrick who presented the human response to fear and threat, DCI Andrew Carr from Wiltshire Police talking about Clare’s Law and Domestic Violence Prevention Orders and The Sky Project, a Bristol based charity for forced marriage and honour based violence.

Kim Swinden introducing the next speaker

Mary Cosker presenting to the audience about the work of HOMETRUTHS

Members of the audience listening intently


FEBRUARY 2012 was the start of a specialist project called Life In Harmony. The Health Lottery granted HOMETRUTHS £10,000 to develop our work with pregnant women and women with babies under 18 months old. 

The Project outcomes showed a 100% increase in the physical safety for the pregnant women/new mums accessing the Life In Harmony Project, with no subsequent assaults or injuries.

Over 30 unborn children and nearly 90 children under the age of 18 months indirectly benefitted from the safety measures created for their mothers through Life In Harmony.

We were very proud that Life In Harmony Project was included in a 2 page spread within the People’s Health Trust 1st Annual Review: http://www.peopleshealthtrust.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/Peoples_Health_Trust_2012_Annual_Review.pdf

Pregnant women are three times more likely to experience domestic violence than women who are not pregnant.

Sam is a 20 year old woman who picked up a leaflet about the Life In Harmony Project at a local walk-in centre. She had found she was pregnant after leaving her partner due to physical violence. She was feeling a lot of pressure to return to him both through wanting the best for her baby and also because her ex-partner was bombarding her with calls, texts, facebook messages and turning up outside her home: “I know drinking isn’t a good idea when you’re pregnant but I would get so stressed when he kept turning up and banging on my door going on and on about seeing his son when he’s born, that I would have a few drinks in the evenings to calm my nerves….since working with Life In Harmony I’ve now got an injunction that stops him coming near me and I can actually enjoy my pregnancy and don’t need to drink like I did.”


The Swindon Trinity Project: We were successfully awarded a grant from the Crime Innovation Fund to develop our work with young women aged 16-24 experiencing domestic abuse and violence from their boyfriends and partners. We have linked in with organisations that work with young women including: Route 16, Key 2 Futures, Youth Offending Team, Social Services, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, New College, The Clivey Project and Police domestic abuse unit. Currently the government definition of domestic violence begins at age 18, but HOMETRUTHS has always recognised that domestic abuse occurs in relationships much younger than 18. Young women aged 16-24 are at high risk of experiencing domestic abuse both from males within their peer group but also in particular young women in relationships with much older men. Research shows that 70% of teenage pregnancies are related to domestic abuse. It is very uncomfortable for society to acknowledge that our young people experience and perpetrate violence and abuse within relationships and we recognise that raising awareness and creating available services to young women is vitally important.


“I don’t know where I’d be without the Freedom Programme. It’s been a life-line to me. I was scared, confused and alone but now I have made friends, I can clearly see what has happened and I know what I am doing next for me and the kids. Thank you Kim & Mary. Xx”

The Freedom Programme 2012: The Freedom Programme continues to go from strength to strength and we have had nearly 90 women contacting us themselves or being referred into the Freedom Programme throughout 2012.

We have

received funding from Zurich Community Trust for a second year, together with sponsorship and donations from our supporters to run the group again this year and once again Swindon Borough Council have paid for a crèche so that women with children under school age can attend.

NewBeginnings Personal Development Programme 2012: We ran a really successful programme for women who want to move on after domestic violence, but have lost their confidence, identity and self-esteem through the violence and abuse. “NewBeginnings is inspirational on every level – you come away with something every week regardless of how big or small it all helps build a new you.”

“The Freedom Programme is all about ‘him’, which is really important so you know how to keep yourself safe and understand domestic violence and how it works so you can move on, but there comes a point where I’m done with talking and thinking about him and NewBeginnings is this great opportunity to focus on me for once.”

“The Freedom Programme ‘fixes the problem’ so you are reassured that it did happen and it was domestic abuse, saying it out loud to others makes it real and realization means you can come to terms with it, but after you need to move on. NewBeginnings helps you learn to express yourself, helps you find yourself and be yourself.”

“The continuity of coming to HOMETRUTHS as an individual and getting support, then coming to Freedom Group and then NewBeginnings is really important in building meaningful bonds and a trusting relationship.”


Staff Training: Staff undertook Continual Professional Development with CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse) in Safeguarding Children Living With Domestic Abuse which was a 4 day course and also Domestic Abuse and Substance Misuse: A Risk Led Response, a 3 day course. After lots of study and hard work all assignments were submitted on time and we were very pleased that there were passes all round!

New look Website: we met with Chris Franklin from www.cf10ten.org.uk who has very kindly donated a new look, upgraded website for HOMETRUTHS. He also linked us up with social media and created a HOMETRUTHS Facebook page and Twitter account so we can reach out further into the community: www.facebook.com/hometruths.swindon Twitter: @hometruths2

National Stalking Awareness Day Event: April 18th 2012 we hosted an event for professionals called “Taking Stalking Seriously” and had two sessions one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Both were very well attended and the feedback was fantastic. Christen, a Volunteer with HOMETRUTHS and a survivor of stalking by her ex-partner bravely told her story at both sessions and everyone was captivated by her account. Thank you Christen for your sharing such a moving account of your experience and for helping to raise awareness of stalking.

“Kim and Mary have many years experience in the domestic violence field. Their passion and knowledge for the subject comes through in the training they offer. I recently attended a workshop on stalking which I found educational and very moving. It inspired me to work even harder with those experiencing all aspects of domestic violence.” Andrew, Counsellor


Bromford Housing Open Day Event in Calne—May 16th 2012: HOMETRUTHS was invited to have a stand at Bromford Housing’s Open Day. We have worked with Bromford Housing—in particular the Swindon location in Pinehurst through our Trinity Project.

Toothill Festival June 30th 2012—The Big Local: Toothill is an area of Swindon that has had a Big Lottery grant investment and HOMETRUTHS was invited to have a stall at their 2012 Festival centred around the school and its grounds.

“Tea With Naomi” July 9th 2012: The South West Foundation brought their beautiful tea sets, cakes and refreshments and we invited Naomi Kent, Parliamentary Outreach Officer for the South West to run a workshop for our TEARS Survivors Forum. We opened the event up to organisations surrounding Wiltshire from across the south west as well.

Women Outside The Box Festival October 8th 2012: We attended this event in Bristol. A celebration of female entrepreneurship and enjoyed meeting with lots of women in business and attended workshops that inspired us as women entrepreneurs!

Christmas Party 2012: HOMETRUTHS was chosen for Zurich’s Festive Challenge. Amanda and Nicky from the finance team chose to help HOMETRUTHS with a Christmas party for the women and children we have supported this year. It was an amazing afternoon with venue, food and presents sorted by Amanda and team— they even persuaded Santa to drop in and hand out fantastic gifts to the children and their mum’s! Thank you so much— one woman who attended described it as the best day of her life.


Funding and Fundraising 2012.

Thank you very much to The Allen Lane Foundation who awarded HOMETRUTHS £5,000 for a second year to continue to provide services.

£1,336 donated by local supporters of HOMETRUTHS from within the community, thank you all!

Research commissioned by “Trust For London—Tackling Poverty & Inequality” found that 31% of funding to the domestic violence and sexual abuse sector from local authorities was cut between 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Thank you to Zurich for granting us £3,000 towards the Freedom Programme and to Swindon Borough Council for continuing to fund the crèche for under school aged children.

£22,000 from the Crime Innovation Fund to work with young women aged 16-24 experiencing domestic abuse.

Thank you to the Wiltshire & Swindon Community Foundation who granted us £5,000 to run NewBeginnings group for a second year.


Looking Forward to HOMETRUTHS in 2013...... The Wiltshire Police Authority granted us £3,000 in November 2012 to pilot a new project called S.O.S—Survivors of Stalking for a year. November 2012 also saw the change in law in England and Wales to make stalking a crime for the first time. We are really excited to be able to focus on women who are being stalked by their ex-partners and this is a pilot that we hope will grow and develop throughout 2013. 1 in 5 women experiences stalking in the UK and male ex-partners are the most common stalkers and many of the women we have supported over the past 2 years have experienced stalking and harassment and we really welcome the opportunity to develop services for these women.

As Associate Trainers with David Niven Associates we have written and developed training programmes focusing on the Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children. We have facilitated a number of training days throughout 2012 and are really pleased to have already booked in training days in the diary throughout 2013. Senior Social Workers, newly qualified Social Workers, Foster Parents and Care Workers are amongst the professionals we have trained this year and we look forward to facilitating the 2013 sessions and meeting more of the staff and teams from Bristol in 2013.

TEARS Survivors Forum has met regularly in 2012 and looks forward to continuing and developing throughout 2013 to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse have a voice and their experiences of domestic abuse and violence can be used to make positive change in local communities and within wider society.


Ht annual report 2012