Our domestic abuse service is shortlisted for national award, and we need your vote!

16 November 2015

The Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) has been shortlisted for a national health and wellbeing award, as part of the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Week.

SIDAS, which is run by in partnership with Barnardos, has been shortlisted for its “GP Champion” project. The project tackles the barriers that staff at GP surgeries face when identifying victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, and referring them to the service.

The project centres on specialist domestic abuse training for staff across Somerset surgeries. This is the only project of its kind running in the region.

74 doctors, 35 nurses and 12 GP practice managers have received training so far, as well as community midwives, pharmacists and reception staff.

The project is also working to establish a ‘champion’ in each of the 74 surgeries across Somerset, who are responsible for recognising domestic abuse and referring patients to SIDAS.

There’s already been a notable increase in referrals to the service from GP surgeries. Compared to just two referrals in 2014, there were five in just six months.

Sonia Furzland, Assistant Director of Supported Housing, said “It’s fantastic that this project is being recognised. It’s often the case that NHS services are the first point of contact for those who are physically abused, but staff don’t always have the necessary training and understanding, to recognise important signs.

Identifying “champion” GPs is an innovative way to establish effective partnerships with the NHS and other health agencies, to enhance their knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse, and make them aware of the service we can offer. This also ensures that health professionals across Somerset have the necessary resources, capacity and knowledge to make support for patients more sustainable and readily-available.”

The service now needs public votes to be named the winner of the health and wellbeing award. To vote for the service and its GP champion project, please visit http://ciw.housing.org.uk/polls/health-wellbeing

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