Funded by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), and delivered by Victim Support, the project provides an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) to train clinicians on how to identify victims of abuse as well as provide practical advice and support to those victims.
Sarah Harman, Named Nurse, Child Protection, at St Helier Hospital, said: "Research shows that patients want to be asked about domestic abuse, and trust medical professionals as people they can disclose to safely."
Beverley, the IDVA delivering the service at St Helier, has been training staff and raising awareness of the service in the three months since it was launched. Most referrals have come from A&E, but victims are also identified in other departments such as the Children's Ward, Maternity, Sexual Health and others across the hospital.
Beverley said: "It is important for victims to know that support is available whatever decisions they want to make. We want them to understand that abuse is never their fault and by coming forward, we can help them to improve their situation. The service is available to any victim, including men, those in same sex relationships, and even staff members here at the hospital."
The Safer Sutton Partnership Service, which manages this service, also co-ordinates the Domestic Violence One Stop Shop at Sutton Baptist Church, 21 Cheam Road, Sutton, SM1 1SN, Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30am. Since its launch four years ago, it has proved a lifeline to more than 1,000 victims of domestic abuse. Any victim of domestic abuse can attend this free drop-in service, where they will receive advice and support from an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, specially trained police officer, solicitor, and other professionals. Victims can also call Victim Support for advice on: 020 7801 1777.