The GLDVP began work on mental health early in 2003 having identified both a strong link between women’s experiences of domestic violence and mental distress and huge gaps in services for these women. As the Department of Health report Into the Mainstream confirms, women’s experiences of violence and abuse frequently lead to mental distress.
GLDVP’s domestic violence and mental health training follows the our seminar (Sane Responses, 2003) and two round tables on mental health and domestic violence (2003, 2005). Sane Responses highlighted the links between domestic violence and mental distress, while finding that both service sectors often serve the same women within their own model and neglect the co-existing issue. However, studies indicate that outcomes for survivors are improved by integrated rather than fragmented service provision and that holistic service provision can maximize the effectiveness of limited resources.
Women who experience domestic violence report more symptoms of mental distress, are at greater risk of suicide (domestic violence is a factor in at least one in four suicide attempts by women)and are four times more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress than women in the general population. In addition femalemental health service users are much more likely to have experienced domestic violence than women in the general population.
GLDVP has funding from the King’s Fund for a two-year project to support the development of more effective and appropriate services for survivors of domestic violence and mental distress. GLDVP objectives include a commitment to:
Explore access to, or exclusion from, domestic violence and mental health services for women experiencing domestic violence and mental distress
Identify models of good practice in service provision for women facing these dual challenges
Support networking and information sharing across the dual sectors
Develop an action plan to address existing gaps in service provision
Develop a set of minimum standards for inclusive service provision
Develop a Domestic Violence and Mental Health Handbook
Deliver training for front line workers in the domestic violence and mental health sectors