Other support services

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Funded by London Councils, Ascent is a partnership project that is part of the London Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Consortium, delivering a range of services to support women affected by domestic and/or sexual violence.  Solace is lead partner, working with 14 organisations, on the Ascent Advice & Counselling partnership. This pan-London collaboration provides specialist counselling and advice services to women and girls affected by domestic/ sexual violence. Services include 1 to 1 counselling; 1-1 advice; group work, legal advice and training and No Recourse to Public Funds assistance

Ascent Advice and Counselling 

Ascent Advice and Counselling (A&C), funded by London Councils is a partnership led by Solace along with 13 specialist VAWG partners delivering services to women across London. The services provided under this project include 1-1 counselling; bespoke group work, specialist advice, No Recourse Fund providing living expenses for those who are No Recourse to Public Funds; a London Family Law Line, Legal guides and training. This project is run by specialist organisations, led by and for women, many of whom are BME specialists. The Partnership operates a Hub and Spoke model with 2 advice hubs (East and West), a London Family Law Advice Line and advice spokes across all of London. Advice is provided by phone via the advice lines and via face to face casework for up to 12 weeks.

Ascent Advice Plus, funded by MOPAC, enhances the Ascent Advice offer available across London by adding extra capacity to the advice service by:

  • Increased capacity on the advice hubs (East and West), enabling timely access to initial advice and support;
  • Additional advice caseworker posts to ensure each specialist partner has increased capacity to respond flexibly to the diverse needs of victims/survivors and to work with women for up to 26 weeks;
  • Additional part-time legal advisor to expand Rights of Women London Family Law advice line’s capacity to provide advice around legal options;
  • Inclusion of additional consultancy expertise to assist in meeting a broader range of diverse needs, including LBT, deaf and disabled women and women with learning disabilities.
  • Extension of reach through the provision of accessibility funds for each partner for venue costs and interpreting across all London boroughs.

Ascent Leaflet 

Westminister 

We are a women-only service, offering holistic, intensive, trauma-informed support in line with Housing First principles, and support is separate to the offer of housing. Housing First in Westminster is provided via a partnership with housing associations who typically offer 1 bedroom flats dispersed across London, service users can submit preferences for location/floor level etc according to their needs. Tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies and are usually offered for a probationary period of 1 year, then can be transferred to long-term or permanent tenancies.

Housing First Project workers support service users in accessing furniture, setting up bills and rent payments, maximising income, accessing local services and re-integrating with the community. As we are Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) professionals, we also offer services similar to Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA services) such as referrals for orders, sanctuary schemes, risk assessments and safety planning etc. Keyworkers visit at least once a week (Covid restrictions permitting) and have a small caseload so can offer fairly flexible support, however, all flats are general needs so not suitable to anyone who would not be able to cope in independent accommodation.

Referral criteria: affected by VAWG, homelessness/vulnerably housed, and experience of multiple disadvantage, including being affected by substance misuse, physical or mental health issues, contact with criminal justice system and having children removed from care.

Due to the long-term nature of the support that we offer, vacancies come up infrequently so please check capacity before submitting a referral.

Housing First Westminster Leaflet 

Islington

We offer holistic, intensive, trauma-informed support to women experiencing multiple disadvantage, VAWG and (street) homelessness. We only provide services to women; and support with improving safety, accessing long-term secure accommodation, access to legal services, finances and welfare benefits, emotional support, and practical support in accessing drug and alcohol services, mental and physical health services and re-integrating into the community. 

Referral criteria is that women must have an experience of VAWG and multiple disadvantage, including having unstable or unsafe accommodation.

Due to the long-term nature of the support that we offer, vacancies come up infrequently so please check capacity before submitting a referral.

Housing First Islington Leaflet 

Housing Justice is a Christian charity working to address homelessness and housing need. They run a London Hosting project where destitute asylum seekers are hosted by people with a spare room. They support Winter Night Shelters across the UK.

Migrant Support provides support to people affected by displacement and exploitation. They provide accommodation and financial support to those seeking asylum, support with resettlement of refugees, and advice and support around the EU Settlement Scheme.

Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay.

The Project is a partnership between Solace Women’s Aid, Southwark Council and Commonweal Housing, providing support in temporary accommodation to women and their children who have experienced homelessness as a result of domestic abuse (or other forms of violence against women and girls(VAWG) ). There are 8 self-contained family sized units located in Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich.

Eligibility Criteria

Solace will accept an applicant into the project who meets the following criteria: 

  • They are women over 18 years with children who have fled Violence Against Women Girls (VAWG) and are homeless because of VAWG
  • They have low-medium support needs
  • The vacant property is suitable for their needs
  •  They are willing to engage with support and will sign an agreement to this affect
  • They will adhere to all terms in the Service User Agreement

 

IDVA's

Our IDVAs offer information, advocacy and specialist services to increase safety and meet a range of needs – these can include ongoing safety concerns, emotional or housing support, legal options, reporting to the police, help around child contact, benefits and financial advice. IDVAs usually hold cases for 3 months but can work with clients for up to 6 months. IDVAs do not offer any therapeutic or emotional support. The service does not accept referrals for clients who have experienced historical abuse. Islington residents only.

CIDVA

Islington residents only. We work with 13 – 17 year olds in abusive relationships (including intimate partner relationships, CSE and gang exploitation). This is not a service for young people who have witnessed domestic violance in the home, but rather a targeted service for young people in abusive relationships themselves.

IRIS

IRIS Services works in partnership with GP Surgeries and offer tailored training on the public health issue of Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA). This service enables support to be offered to DVA victims at an early stage before the abuse becomes a serious risk to mental, emotional and physical health.

Duty and Assessment Workers

Islington residents only.

We provide consultations and advice to survivors and professionals. Duty and Assessment Workers also hold a small caseload of standard and medium cases. As per Solace Service Standards, we confirm receipt of referrals and attempt to contact the service user within 24 hours if the case is high risk and 48 hours if standard or medium risk.

Targeted Health 

Islington residents only. We work with complex cases with physical or mental health needs and work closely with Southwood Smith Centre.

We work with any risk. Available for consultations.

Targeted Child Social Care 

Islington residents only. We work with complex cases where CIN or CP are involved and work closely with CSC. Can work with any risk. Available for consultations. 

Targeted Housing

Sits in Housing and provides crisis intervention. Does not hold cases. We work with Islington residents and any service user fleeing to Islington and approaching Islington Council as homeless.

ISVA

ISVAs are Independent Sexual Violence Advocates who are specialist advocates with specific knowledge around the Criminal Justice system (CJS) as it relates to rape and other sexual offences.

Islington Service Leaflet 

Southwark’s Sanctuary Scheme is designed to prevent someone affected by domestic violence from becoming homeless through the provision of security works to a home, ranging from changing locks to the installation of an internal ‘safe room’.

For those affected by domestic abuse who wish to remain safely in their home. Increased security in the home through a range of measures including:

  •  Lock changes and window alarms
  • Fire safety measures 
  • Strengthened door frames
  • Secure rooms - a comprehensive risk assessment is carried out with you to determine whether it is safe for you to remain in their home with the additional security measures before any work is carried out.

The Southwark Women's Assessment Hub is a new pilot project, going into its second years, delivered in partnership with Solace and LB Southwark Housing Solutions. The project recognises the intersection between then experience of trauma, VAWG, homelessness and involvement in the Criminal Justice System - compounded by unemployment, involvement in the Care system, substance use and mental and physical health difficulties.

The Women’s Assessment Hub is an intensive accommodation project, primarily focused on supporting women effected by rough sleeping, the criminal justice system, or in many cases, both. The Hub, a confidential location, accommodates three women at a time, with round the clock staffing and intensive support. Workers offer flexible support, ranging from practical tasks like sorting our benefits, accessing substance support or registering at the GP, life skills support like doing a grocery shop, cooking, budgeting or cleaning their rooms, as well as wellbeing support such as going out for a coffee, fitness classes, yoga or a walk around the park. The workers have a low caseload to give them the opportunity to focus on the residents, and we operate with flexibility, to support residents to achieve their goals and aspirations, rather than dictating a long list of things that they need to do. After their time at the Hub, usually between 8 – 12 weeks, the women are provided with accommodation, which is offered in partnership with LB Southwark Housing Options. Importantly, they retain the same worker, who then provides up to one year of resettlement support to support them in setting up and maintaining their tenancy, engaging with the local community, and addressing long term goals and aspirations, ranging from reconnecting with family and friends to starting education or employment. The Hub works with women typically considered ‘hard to engage’ by conventional services and uses flexible, assertive, trauma-informed outreach methods.

In addition to supporting at the Hub, and resettlement support for women who have moved on, the Hub is also staffed by a Specialist Housing Worker, who supports homeless women leaving prison, or rough sleeping, primarily with resolving barriers to their safe housing, including advocating with the Local Authority for housing assistance, supporting women to gather evidence of their housing need, assisting them in obtaining temporary accommodation from the Local Authority upon release, and sustaining their tenancies in the community. The worker also supports women to avoid further involvement with the criminal justice system, by supporting with claiming appropriate benefits, complying with Probation or Licence conditions, registering and engaging with healthcare providers, and engaging with local substance use teams. She is also the lead for referrals into the Hub, and the residents of the Hub are primarily women from her caseload.