In partnership with
Have you have ever felt worried about someone you think might be being controlled, bullied or abused by their partner, but not known what to do, how to ask if they are OK, or where to send them for help?
Women’s Aid, in partnership with Welsh Women’s Aid and working with local authorities, has launched the ask me scheme as part of our Change that Lasts approach, to ensure that women experiencing controlling and abusive relationships in your local community can get to the help that they need, faster.
We are currently piloting this this vital project that will ensure more women who need help are able to get it.
What is it?
Often all it takes for a woman in a controlling or abusive relationship to seek help is having a conversation with someone who believes them, understands what they are experiencing and knows where to direct them for specialist help and support.
The ask me scheme will create safe spaces in the local community, within local businesses and community settings, where women who are experiencing domestic abuse know they can safely tell someone about their experiences.
Trained members of the local businesses/community centres taking part in the ask me scheme will know how to sensitively question and respond to disclosures of domestic abuse and where to signpost the woman for further help.
We want to create ask me locations in the areas that women experiencing domestic abuse might already visit. These safe areas can be anywhere, from a local hairdressers to a branch of a supermarket, a place of worship or community hall.
Local specialist domestic abuse services in the pilot areas are ready to provide help, support and advice to women signposted to them through the ask me scheme.
How will it work?
We will help to raise awareness in local areas about what controlling behaviour and domestic abuse are, and the signs to look out for.
We will then provide in-depth training to professionals working in places participating in the ask me scheme to ensure they understand:
• what coercive control and domestic abuse are
• how to respond if someone discloses they are experiencing abuse, and
• where, locally, can provide in-depth help and expert support.
Businesses taking part in the scheme will display a sign (see below) that shows they are participating in the programme and are a safe place to tell someone about the abuse.
Members of the ask me project will not have a formal role to play in helping survivors of domestic abuse who come forward. They will signpost these women to local specialist domestic abuse services.
The local authority is playing a key role in supporting this project by raising awareness of the project and providing strategic oversight.
The ask me pilot has been funded through the Tampon Tax and Comic Relief as part of increasing efforts to identify women experiencing domestic abuse at a much earlier point. Over the next few months we will be working in the following areas to pilot the scheme with local communities.
- Brighton & Hove & East Sussex
- Tri-borough (Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith and Fulham)
If you are in one of these areas and would like to know more about the scheme or how to get involved please contact: [email protected]