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Promoting Recovery in Mental Health

AVA has worked with mental health trusts for over 7 years to improve mental health responses to domestic and sexual violence.

The links between domestic and sexual abuse and mental ill-health are well documented. Research shows that 69% of women accessing mental health services have experienced domestic and/or sexual abuse. Evidence based practice has highlighted the difficulties faced by mental health services in meeting the needs of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and in dealing with perpetrators.

In response to this evidence, in 2013 the Department of Health awarded us with funding for PRIMH (Promoting Recovery in Mental Health), a 3 year project to work with Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to develop and evaluate Trust-wide responses to domestic and sexual violence, including a focus on managing risk and promoting recovery.

During the project we

  • Provided expert input to Trust safeguarding, clinical and recovery frameworks to develop holistic responses to domestic and sexual violence.
  • Developed and implemented clear care pathways, including building strong relationships with local domestic and sexual violence services.
  • Created a strategy to implement good practice across all mental health teams.
  • Delivered training to frontline Trust staff, focusing on working with both survivors and perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence within mental health services.
  • Involved service users to inform and influence service delivery.

The project was independently evaluation by King’s College London. An executive summary and full version of the evaluation report are available.

What next?

AVA is continuing its work with mental health trusts through a new consultancy service. Our BARTA (Be Aware and Respond to Abuse) service offers tailored support and advice to mental health trusts wanting to improve their responses to domestic and sexual abuse. Find out more about BARTA and what it offers.

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