A new pilot partnership between Solace Women’s Aid, Commonweal Housing and Southwark Council reports major benefits for vulnerable women fleeing domestic abuse. An interim evaluation of the Rhea project has highlighted strong partnership working and a vital combination of safe, suitable housing, holistic emotional and practical support, as integral to the project.
Key Findings from the Evaluation
The interaction of the operating model and the support model were found to be key to the effectiveness of The Rhea Project. The initial provision of housing, as well as the possibility of secure long term housing, provides in itself a boost to the survivor’s emotional wellbeing. It provides space to focus on goals and actions for improving well-being, self-belief, confidence and courage to continue towards independence and freedom from domestic abuse. Training for housing staff through the partnership between Southwark Housing and Solace has also resulted in improved referral pathways, smoother transitions and better outcomes for survivors overall.
The project was found to have positive impacts on women and children in the following ways:
- Women reported improvement in emotional and psychological well-being, feeling more confident, empowered and better able to ‘stand up for their rights’ as well as being able to ‘hope and dream for the future’.
- The Rhea Project helped reduce the offending behaviours of the perpetrator, helping women become safer as well as increasing their understanding of domestic abuse, so they were confident they would not be ‘drawn in’ to abusive relationships in the future.
- Women’s financial situations improved and they were more able to sustain employment.
- The Project helped women with their parenting and relationships with their children improved, and their children were more settled and engaged at school.