Our stories, our VOICES.
When we set up VOICES, we were acutely aware of how difficult it is to speak to others about our experiences of domestic abuse, and how much more difficult it is to speak to people with power to make decisions and effect change. It became a key mission of VOICES to ensure this could happen in a safe, supported way.
VOICES has spent nearly 7 years developing services for people with experience of domestic abuse. The safe space and recovery support we provide for women long-term helps ensure we can find opportunities for clients to be consulted directly, to be valued for their contribution and to be supported before, during and after to take part in a confidential setting.
Women have taken part and made changes, their experiences influencing the changes made to the Domestic Abuse Bill (e.g. around special measures for victims in family courts), and informing new initiatives to combat financial abuse and hardship. Current consultations include with the University of Bristol Medical School, looking at GP responses to domestic abuse survivors during remote consultations, and with researchers at UCL and Kings College London, studying family mental health and wellbeing impacts of domestic abuse.
Our work is shaped by the testimony and suggestions of the many resilient and inspiring people we support, and we are proud of the contributions they make to improving the lives of others. Their insights and stories can increase the whole-picture understanding of trauma and recovery from abusive relationships and help people reclaim power and agency after experiencing abuse.