Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Services (GDASS) is provided by two charities with more than 40 years experience of supporting victims of domestic abuse in the Southwest. Green Square Group provides and runs refuges, while Splitz Support Service delivers domestic violence and abuse (DVA) services. Each member of the consortium brings different skills and experiences providing excellent all-round services for Gloucestershire residents.
GDASS has established three teams to cover the county. Each team has a Senior Support Worker, an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) and a number of Support Workers. The teams work in a designated area but some may be re-deployed to other areas to meet demand. The three areas include:
• Gloucester City and the Forest of Dean
• Cheltenham and Tewkesbury
• Stroud and Cotswolds
GDASS is a new county-wide service designed to reduce the level of domestic abuse and improve the safety of victims and their families. By providing an outreach service in all Districts, GDASS aims to reduce the number of high-risk cases and those where people are forced to flee.
What is Domestic Abuse?
‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’ (Home Office)
Places of Safety
If it is not possible for you to remain in your own home, GDASS will arrange for you to access a ‘place of safety’. These will be places in the community that have additional safety and security measures built in. You will be able to remain in a place of safety until you are able to return to your own home, or until you are able to move on to a new home.
When the risk of harm is high, a specially trained IDVA from GDASS will work with you to help reduce the risk of harm. This is likely to involve working with other agencies to help make you safe. When the risk is reduced, you will be supported by the outreach team, and your file will be transferred.
GDASS will provide one-to-one support at a safe place within the community. This may be your home, a local venue or another place agreed with you. Support will continue until you have reached a point of safety and confidence where you no longer require us.
Making a Referral
Voluntary agencies and statutory services who meet with people experiencing domestic abuse can make a referral. GDASS particularly welcomes self-referrals directly from individuals. A referral form is available on the GDASS website www.gdass.org.uk. This can be completed online or downloaded, completed and posted or faxed. Referrals can also be made by phone on 0845 602 9035. Individuals will receive support and advice from a trained and experienced advisor as soon as GDASS are contacted. They will prioritise referrals according to need and risk, and will aim to meet with you, if you require within three working days.
GDASS offers a set of 12 workshops for women to identify, come to terms with, and overcome, their personal challenges. A different topic is explored each week including:
• What is domestic abuse
• Cycle of violence
• Baggage and triggers
• Thoughts, feelings and behaviour
• Impact on children
• Healthy relationships
If you feel you or your family would benefit from these services or would like more information, please contact GDASS. They support male and female victims of domestic abuse. All services are free and confidential.
You can also contact any of the national support helplines:
• National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247.
• National Centre for Domestic Abuse 0844 8044 999.
• Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327.