The Peer Educators are an award winning team who provide a flexible service to meet the needs of young women age 11-25 years who are victims or survivors of Domestic Abuse. We provide 1.1 support to those who have been affected by Domestic Abuse in their intimate relationships or within their families. We also deliver preventative Domestic Abuse and healthy relationship workshops in schools, colleges, youth groups, children’s homes and any setting where young women are present.
The workshops we run have been designed by young women affected by Domestic Abuse. They cover:
· What is Domestic Abuse
· The effect of Domestic Abuse on children and young people
· Healthy relationships
During workshops or assemblies, we recruit and deliver a 3-day course about Domestic Abuse, gender equality, self-esteem, warning signs, cycle of abuse and the effect of Domestic Abuse on children. The young women who complete this training become DV Champions within their setting to offer support to their peers as research shows young people would rather talk to other young people about relationships. We host monthly networking meetings, discuss any issues and support the champions to campaign around Domestic Abuse.
Two of our Peer Educators are qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advisors who provide 1.1 support to young women of all risk levels age 11-25. This support includes emotional support, support around court, housing, benefits, safety planning and risk assessment. We are flexible to meet any young women somewhere that is accessible to them.
The need for one to one support for young women as victims and survivors of DV is demonstrated by a study of 16-24 year olds which shows:
- Only one in five realised they were in a controlling relationship once the relationship was over.
- One in ten realised after friends or family highlighted it.
The study also asked young women what they consider to be normal behaviour in a relationship
- Almost one in twenty believing being scared of your partner is normal.
- One in ten believed they were to blame for their partners controlling behaviour.
A new Domestic Abuse law – the coercive control offence, which carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment – came into effect in December 2015 to address this growing issue, yet nearly two thirds surveyed do not know what coercive control is. A quarter of 13-18-year-old girls reported experiencing physical abuse in their own intimate partner relationships and one third sexual abuse.
Additional services we offer include a 10-week recovery course for young women who have experienced Domestic Abuse, whether this is in their own intimate relationships or between parents or family members. We can deliver the Safe 4 Life course from West End Women and Girls Centre or schools and youth groups. We can also deliver courses to meet the needs of the young people such as courses around self-esteem and self-confidence.
The group have won various local and national awards for this work, including Tyne and Wear High Sheriffs award 2013, 2015, 2016 + 2017 and the prestigious National Crimebeat Award 2013 for Crime Prevention. In 2015 they were shortlisted for the IARS Research & Youth Leadership awards and the POSBO inspirational young people award. In April 2016 the DV Peer Educators won the Sheila Mckechnie Foundation Award for the Gender and Equality Campaigner of the year. And in 2018 they won the Expert Citizens Insight Award.
Domestic Abuse Services for Over 25s
We no longer have funding to deliver one to one support for adult women over 25 experiencing Domestic Abuse however we do deliver a group based recovery course, Safe 4 Life.
Safe 4 Life is a 10 week course which has been developed with women who have experienced Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence in their past or current relationships.
The courses looks at issues of Domestic Abuse/Domestic Violence and the controlling behaviour that can occur in relationships. In order to help women cope and recover the course also looks at how we keep ourselves safe, self-esteem, sexism and equality, assertiveness, our emotions, the effects of Domestic Abuse on ourselves and our children and finally what a healthy relationship looks like.
“My self-esteem has grown, I now feel able to be assertive and trust my own judgement rather than worrying about being judged by others.”
“I did not want to come full stop. I was ignorant to the fact and thought I didn’t come under the criteria for domestic violence but I did. The course has helped me to realise I was subject to domestic violence and there is no such thing as mild domestic violence and major domestic violence, domestic violence is domestic violence full stop. The course has certainly enabled me to know the signs of domestic abuse. Thank you for opening my eyes and changing my attitude.”
“Loved it, wish it could go on forever, learn something new each week.”
“It has made me feel less as though the abuse was my fault.”
“Thanx for an enjoyable course. I actually looked forward to it every Thursday!”
“I am now a stronger person.”