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Safe Lives – for everyone, for good

Chris Hobbs, Practice Consultant for the charity SafeLives, was Crosby Soroptimists’ first speaker for the new year.

SafeLives was founded in 2004. Its original emphasis was on supporting people (overwhelmingly women) who were coping with the ‘fallout’ of domestic violence and abuse.

The charity provided Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) each of whom acted as advocate on a woman’s behalf, helping her through the court processes. SafeLives then set up for each woman and her IDVA a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) to create a safety plan for her family.

Chris Hobbs of SafeLives with Vesna Levi, Crosby Soroptimist

In just over 10 years the charity had worked with 60,000 adult victims of abuse and more than 100,000 children,

SafeLives’ strategy has expanded. It is dedicated to ending domestic abuse, “for everyone and for good”. It covers the full range from coercive control to high-risk (homicide) situations.

Much of its work is ‘behind the scenes’ with, for example, the NHS, the Home Office and the Police, on research and consultancy.

Training is a major strand. SafeLives runs courses for police officers who are usually the first responders to a call for help. It partners with survivors to give them a voice – influence – in the ways in which domestic abuse is talked about and tackled. Working with men and boys, the charity investigates and challenges concepts of ‘masculinity’.

Chris’s Practice Team works with local authorities to assess how effective (or not) local services are, and how they can improve. This can make economic sense with savings estimated as £8 for every £1 spent on this support.

Funding for the work has many streams – from donations or charitable trusts through to government grants and fees. Everything supports the principle that “no-one should live in fear”.