Traditionally, effort has been concentrated on providing support services once individuals have been victimised. But it is just as important to focus on proactive interventions to prevent violence as reactive services for those who need help after the event. Prevention can provide a means for long-term and sustainable reductions in violence and abuse. Progress has already been made in this area, for example with school anti-bullying and gender equality policies, and the teaching of healthy relationships in schools through Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE). However, there is much more to be done in the field of prevention, reducing incidents of violence and minimising the harm caused to victims by supporting early identification of the problem and early intervention.
We support the promotion of healthy relationships, gender equality and non-violence through work with children and young people in schools, and with adults, for example through parenting guidance and family support; and supports training in the early identification of violence and abuse and promoting early intervention across the public services to minimise the harm being done to adults and children at risk of violence.
Early intervention means intervening as soon as possible to tackle problems that have already emerged for victims and their children.
So, when early intervention is understood in this way, it means that it targets specific adults and children who have an identified need for additional support once their problems have already begun to develop but before they become serious. It aims to stop those problems from becoming entrenched and thus to prevent adults, children and young people from experiencing unnecessarily enduring or serious symptoms. Typically it achieves this by promoting the strengths of children and families and enhancing their ‘protective factors’, and in some cases by providing them with longer term support.
Our ideal remains to prevent violence against women and girls and men and boys as much as possible. However, it remains an ongoing problem, with around 1 million women experiencing at least one incident of domestic abuse and 500,000 suffering sexual assault each year. We need to ensure that when women and girls suffer violence they have access to the right help and that support services are structured around meeting their needs.
“An ideal service would be all in one place, with a lot of help there for you so that you don’t have to go from place to place, one link-worker supporting you with a degree of choice of who that is. A service should offer you stability; we need a service that’s safe and that’s quick to access, someone who will be there when you need it, whatever time of day, with no waiting lists, and who understands about violence and knows about rehab, about other things we’re going through.”
Provide end to end support for victims and their children through criminal and civil justice system, from report to court and provide protection for the highest risk families.