How is RISE doing? Like our women, we’re survivors
Now life has moved back to a semblance of normality, when meeting people in real life I often get asked, “How is RISE doing?” (usually accompanied by a worried look) or “How are you doing?” (same worried look).
It’s a coded question and I know exactly what it means. They want to know if we have survived the devastation of being decommissioned two years ago, of losing almost half of our staff and some of the services that we built from scratch as a local community-based domestic abuse service.
I’m doing good thank you and so is RISE.
We are now two years on from losing the contract to run some casework services and our refuge.
The initial insecurity of the loss of a large contract in the previous year soon moved to feeling free to progress our priorities.
This sense of freedom has focused us on our main strategic aims of excellence, community focus, voice and leadership.
Following this decision, we received an abundance of support from our community led by the RISE-Up campaigners, who lobbied the local authority and organised a survivor-led petition, achieving 30,000 signatures.
Despite this blow we reset our direction to be bold, brave and radical. We wanted to stand up for and alongside survivors slowly building trust and being there when help was needed.
While we felt exhausted and worried after such a difficult time, we were determined to build on our expertise and respond directly to what survivors wanted of us. We knew that survivors and community members wanted a service they trusted – that service is RISE.
Three major donors plus continued support from our community helped us go beyond our expectations as well as securing new and continued project funding through trusts, grants, NHS and government (local and national) funders.
At the end of March 2022, we were much smaller – with less than half the staff team of the previous year. We had moved into new offices as well as bringing our therapy, children and family space in the east of the city into a usable state – which is now very beautiful on the inside.
It hasn’t been easy – there have been tears but also joy. We are overjoyed to see former RISE staff return to the family and watch new staff take forward the survivor-led values of a charity that has been trusted by so many for almost 50 years.
Even though our service reduced in size last year, a total of 975 Brighton and Hove survivors were helped (not including the quick contacts) by the end of March 2022.
This is more than double the number helped by Victim Support in the same year, according to the local draft Community Safety Strategy.
Already in the first six months of this year we have helped over a thousand survivors, with 166 of these being children.
Data and numbers are not exciting for some but it feels important to share with our supporters how our work stacks up, so bear with me while I indulge my inner data nerd for a few paragraphs.
Here’s a chart to start us off …
This graph represents three years of clients in the domestic abuse community service funded by Brighton and Hove from 2019 to 2022. The blue bar on the chart represents the number of clients (400) supported by Victim Support, the newly commissioned providers, with a contract budget of just under £500,000.
The purple bars represent the number (1,215 and 1,536) of clients in service for RISE, with almost the same amount of funding in the previous two years, and then without this contract in the final year. Interesting reading, isn’t it?
RISE received 662 adult referrals and 159 child referrals from April 2021 to March 2022 as well as 459 short-work logs of which 45 per cent are from professionals and 36 per cent from survivors.
In total 975 clients were in active service in 2021-22: 836 adult clients and 139 child clients (58 per cent of the children are under 10). These adult clients had a total of 689 children.
94 per cent of adult clients were female, 4 gender queer, 7 non-binary and 15 trans. 95 per cent of perpetrators were male.
25 per cent adult clients were non-white British. 71 per cent heterosexual, 7 per cent bisexual and 13 per cent don’t know sexuality. 85 per cent spoke English and the remainder spoke a total of 61 different languages.
62 reported threats to be killed and 67 reported attempted strangulation/suffocation.
RISE clients leaving our service reported: 71 per cent improvement in safety and 65 per cent decrease in risk.
Of the 141 children and young people supported by RISE in 2021-22 who completed outcome forms 89 per cent say they know more about respectful relationships and 95 per cent know more about how to stay safe.
To take a look at our annual reports, which have more info, click here.
In March 2022 an income generation campaign through The Big Give – Women and Girls raised £23,000 and we also secured a several contributions from larger donors to set us on a stronger footing this year.
This money helped to keep our Helpline running and funded our work with children and families including our specialist family and civil courts advocate. We hope these donors will want to help us carry on this work for many more years.
For women, children and LGBT people we currently provide
- Online courses
- Expert specialist advocacy for housing and for family and civil courts
- Professional legal and housing support and sanctuary scheme
- Adult and child counselling and wellbeing programmes
- Family interventions and therapeutic support for children and young people
- Drop-ins, recovery groups and psychodynamic programmes
- Dedicated LGBT+ refuge, counselling and support services
- Community projects including assertive outreach for women with complex needs
- Dedicated support for older, disabled and black and minoritised women
- Survivor and community-led connector, ambassador and research projects
We continue to wrap wellbeing support offers around the survivors in the Brighton Refuge and co-work with new delivery partners in the city.
Most importantly we continue to be part of a network of specialist, women-led services keeping survivors safe and well across England.
So yes, we are doing fine and no, we won’t give up and we know you won’t either. Thank you for trusting us and helping us to walk together with survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
If you are asking yourself, “What can I do? How can I help? Or can I do more?”
Sign up for our Community Connector Programme
Specialist services like RISE wouldn’t exist without the passion, dedication and expertise of women in our community.
- £4,000 – the cost of running our frontline services for one day
- £50 – the cost of a counselling session for a child who is affected by DVA (domestic violence or abuse)
- £20 – the cost of one call to our volunteer-run helpline
Please join us. It’s not an easy journey but I promise it will be worth it.
If you need help, or want to talk to somebody about whether you’re experiencing domestic abuse, call our helpline on 01273 622822 or fill out an online self-referral form.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.
Jo Gough is the chief executive of RISE. This article first appeared on the RISE website.
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