Calan DVS Celebrates 10 Years of Outstanding Service Delivery
This month (February 2022), Calan DVS is celebrating 10 years of outstanding service delivery across South, Mid and West Wales. Our specialist services include accommodation for women and children, community support and crisis drop-in services for adult victims, specialist support for children and young people, family programmes, recovery programmes including The Freedom Programme and Own My Life, a RESPECT accredited recovery and resilience programme for male victims and a specifically designed recovery programme for victims within the LGBTQ+ community.
Calan DVS Background
Calan DVS was formed in 2012 as a result of the merger between Neath and Lliw Valley Women’s Aid Groups, the first Women’s Aid services in Wales to merge. The aspiration behind this merger was to become the benchmark for domestic abuse support services; and for the organisation to become synonymous with innovation, service development and excellence.
The formation of Calan DVS combined over 60 years of service delivery experience. Part of the merger involved choosing the right name for the organisation with the objective of creating a name and brand that built on this experience through a concept that would be lasting and inspirational. The traditional Welsh word Calan stands for ‘renewal’ and this is exactly how the organisation wished to be perceived.
Senior managers at both women’s aid charities were involved in the merger process, working with trustees, staff, service users and stakeholders in the evolution of Calan DVS resulting in the development of a vision which encapsulates the overall aspiration and vision of our charity:
“Working together to end domestic violence and abuse”
Following the merger in 2012, Calan DVS became the lead organisation in the development of a domestic abuse one stop shop in Neath Port Talbot in line with the priority in the Welsh Government’s Right to be Safe Strategy. Today, the one stop shop continues to provide a central hub for key agencies essential to the delivery of domestic abuse services in Neath Port Talbot.
The year 2013, saw the closure of the ground-breaking Bridge Project due to the end of Lottery funding. This project was launched in 2008 by Lliw Valley Women’s Aid and was delivered over the years by Calan DVS team. The Bridge Project’ provided support to more than 700 women and their children and this support continued through the One-stop-shop in Neath.
In April 2014, Calan DVS was awarded £2 million by the Big Lottery Fund to provide effective intervention measures for children and young people exposed to domestic violence and abuse across Neath Port Talbot and Powys. The projects developed through this funding focussed on children and young people exposed to domestic violence and abuse in their homes; on young people who find themselves in an abusive relationship and young people demonstrating abusive and controlling behaviours. Many of the programmes developed with this funding continue to be delivered by the Calan teams today.
Later that year, in September 2014, Brecknock Women’s Aid made the decision to merge with Calan followed by Bridgend Women’s Aid in 2015, Amman Valley Women’s Aid in 2016 and just a few months later in October 2016, a further merger with Radnorshire Women’s Aid. The aim behind these mergers was to create a single organisation focussed on the development, delivery and sustainability of high quality, specialist support services and interventions for individuals and families experiencing domestic abuse across these areas of operation.
After several years of consolidation, during which time our teams continued to deliver our full range of services, we also continued to introduce new initiatives across our area of operation including:
- Introduction of Peer Support Groups initially in Radnor and then rolled out across other areas.
- Delivery of the High-Risk Intervention Service for Bridgend County Borough Council comprising two Independent Domestic Violence Advisors and the MARAC* Coordinator for the county, working in partnership with South Wales Police.
- Delivery of training to South Wales Police in partnership with other agencies for Welsh Women’s Aid.
- Becoming part of a partnership between Powys County Council, Calan Domestic Violence Services, Montgomery Family Crisis Centre (MFCC) and the Red Snapper Group (RSG) which is supported by the Mid and West Wales Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategic Board.
In April 2020, we launched the Ar Trac programme to provide support to children and young people aged 5-16 exhibiting difficulties with their family and peer relationships, having experienced domestic abuse. Funded by Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant for 2020 to 2023 this was the first project of its kind in Wales, bringing together five specialist domestic abuse agencies to provide a consortium-led approach to supporting children and young people. Ar Trac is currently being delivered bi-lingually across 10 counties in Wales: Powys, Ceredigion, North Pembrokeshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
In May 2020, Calan DVS was awarded further National Lottery funding, this time to deliver the Lighthouse project. This project comprises two specialist programmes meeting the uniquely complex needs of different target groups within the community as follows:
- The Compass Programme – a specialist resource designed to help male survivors recover from their experience following self-acknowledgement of having been the victim in an abusive relationship developed with the University of South Wales
- The Inspiring Families Programme – an innovative and structured ten- week assessment programme that can help strengthen and stabilise families where domestic violence and abuse is a known component and the family are choosing to stay together.
During the same month, we were also awarded Moondance Foundation funding to support delivery of the Adults ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Recovery Toolkit and ACEs Recovery Toolkit for Children and Young People in Ammanford.
A year, later in 2021, Calan DVS was successfully awarded the contract to deliver the IRIS programme via funding from Swansea Bay University Health Board, extending our current delivery footprint to cover Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea. IRIS provides specialist DVA training to clinical professionals, alongside administration staff, within local general practices. The training supports clinicians to recognise and respond to DVA, and the programme provides a direct and trusted source for advocacy for patients following disclosure. This year, we have been awarded funding from Hywel Dda University Health Board to deliver the IRIS programme across Carmarthenshire.
In Pride Month (June) 2021, Calan DVS launched the ground-breaking Myriad programme aimed at supporting LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse. LGBTQ+ survivors have shaped the programme and are encouraged to become peer supporters of others on the programme. Calan has invested in staff training, made strong links with local LGBTQ+ networks and has created a structure that focusses on the specific needs of this client group.
Other key achievements during this time include:
- Receiving recognised centre status from Agored Cymru. This means Calan DVS has been able to develop and deliver bespoke accredited training courses to other service providers, partners, and statutory agencies such as health and local authorities.
- Working with Platfform for mental health to develop a specific trauma sensitive programme for our staff, this was co-produced with survivors who had previously used our services.
- Receiving funding from Moondance to recruit ad hoc sexual violence counsellors to support our service users who disclosed. Since August 2021 we have received 16 referrals into the service.
At the end of 2021, we were also delighted to report that we achieved Welsh Women’s Aid National Quality Service Standards. What’s more, Calan DVS were the first organisation in the UK to achieve the RESPECT Male Victims standards accreditation.
Calan DVS Achievements
Since the formation of Calan DVS back in February 2012 and up to March 2021, some of the key milestones in terms of service delivery include supporting:
- 1,740 women in refuge
- 848 children and young people in refuge
- 5,616 adults in community
- 3,295 children and young people in community
- 283 families through our BRAVE and Inspiring Families programmes
- 7,927 of children and young people reached through our BRAVE and Crucial Crew delivery.
Importantly, the Calan DVS specialist domestic abuse teams have also delivered training across the region to partner organisations and professionals across a variety of sectors, including police, health, housing, and social care, with more than 1557 people trained to date.
Some of these achievements are particularly significant as, during the past two years, all charities across the UK were operating under the most difficult conditions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
See the Calan DVS 2020-2021 Impact report here.
In June of this year, we will be launching our 10 Year Impact Report which will showcase the achievements and evolvement of Calan since its inception in 2012.
Over the years Calan’s success has also been recognised through a number of high-profile awards for the both the organisation and individual team members including Swansea Bay Voluntary Group of the Year in 2013 and the overall award for Third Sector Cymru Good Governance award 2015. Other award wins include the Wales IOD, Leading Wales, Chwarae Teg, CIPD, Promoting Independence Awards and the Powys Business Awards.
Throughout its 10-year history, Calan DVS has been active in supporting many local and national campaigns ranging from those initiated by Women’s Aid, Welsh Women’s Aid, and other domestic violence organisations through to national and Welsh Government campaigns.
More recently these have included the Live Fear Free campaign, which gained considerable momentum during the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the All Hate campaign against all types of hate crime and violence across Wales.
Other National Campaigns which we have supported include:
- Centre for Women’s Justice and Rachel Williams in making non-fatal strangulation or suffocation as a stand-alone offence.
- Extending 6-month deadline for charging common assault.
- Campaigns to review sentences of perpetrators as a result of leniency shown during sentencing.
- Awareness campaigns during the 16 days of activism campaign involving our teams as well as sharing key messages every day during the campaign.
- Promoting key messages around messages developed for International Women’s Day.
- Our teams wearing denim and sharing photos during Denim Day – an international movement with a purpose, to support survivors, and educate themselves and others about all forms of sexual violence.
- On International Day of the Girl, we promoted the keys message around girls’ right to education and highlighting the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls.
- For Universal Children’s Day we developed a short video with figures relating to the devastating impact domestic abuse can have on the lives of children and the support that the Calan teams deliver through our children and young people’s programmes.
Over the past two years we have also worked with story/script writers on national tv dramas to provide guidance on story lines including male victims of domestic abuse and abuse of older people.
In terms of the future for Calan DVS. In addition to continuing to deliver our services to women, men, children, families, and professionals across the region, we have just finalised our new five-year strategy which will be launch later this year. Within this strategy, we have set out our new priorities to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s society and will also be launching a new and exciting project aimed to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.