Support local domestic abuse charities and refuges

Find out how you can help and support the domestic abuse charities and refuges in your area.

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How to support local domestic abuse charities and refuges

In addition to raising awareness and keeping in regular contact with vulnerable members of your parish, you can also practically support local organisations and refuges by collecting and delivering donations for women, men and children living in refuges and other safe locations. 

There are six steps to setting up a local parish domestic abuse support project. 

  1. Nominate or volunteer a person or small team of people (for example, parish SVP members) to lead the coordination of the project. 
  2. Make contact with local domestic abuse services and organisations.
  3. Make a clear list of items required for donation (as directed by local organisation).
  4. Give clear instructions about how parishioners can donate.
  5. Deliver donations. 
  6. Tell parishioners about the project.

A note on safety and confidentiality

Given the vulnerability of the women and the secrecy of the location involved in work to combat the scourge of domestic abuse, the safe recruiting of volunteers and confidentiality is a crucial necessity.

For more information on DBS checking, please visit www.csas.uk.net

1. Finding a team leader

It is important that this project is led by someone or a small team of people who can commit time and effort to make it successful. 

A good team leader will need to:

  • Be in a non-vulnerable Covid-19 category, and not living with any vulnerable people
  • Be organised 
  • Have access to a computer and mobile phone
  • Be able to drive
  • Be happy for parish members to contact them directly should they have questions

It may be that there is someone who already has knowledge of local domestic abuse services, for example through being in the local SVP, which would also be useful. However, existing local knowledge is not essential as there is information below about how to find your local services. 

2. Partnering with local domestic abuse services

A project like this needs to be conducted in close partnership with your local domestic abuse service which will be able to provide guidance and information on what the specific local needs are and how you can contribute. 

Finding a local domestic abuse charity or organisation:

  1. Contact your local Council housing team
  2. Find your local service via the Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse Directory
  3. Contact the Refuge fundraising team

Key questions to ask local organisations:

  • What are the needs in our local area?
  • What specific items can we donate? (e.g. nappies, toys, female sanitary products)
  • How many of each item can we donate?
  • How can we safely deliver items for donation? 

3. What can we donate?

When you have spoken to the local domestic abuse service, make a list of the items they would like to be donated. Please only list items which the service has specifically requested. 

4. How can we donate?

You will need to nominate one person in your team to be the drop-off point for parishioners who wish to donate and who will also then deliver the donations to the local service. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, it is crucial to maintain social distancing measures and collect and deliver donations in a safe way. 

A suggested procedure for doing this could be:

  • Notify parishioners of the drop-off address (e.g. via online parish newsletter)
  • Ask parishioners to leave donations only in the specified place (e.g. porch, driveway) 
  • Ask parishioners to notify the drop-off person via phone/text/email when they have left a donation to ensure it is safely received 

5. How can we deliver donations?

When the drop-off person has collected the donations, they will need to deliver them in a safe way to the local domestic abuse service you are supporting. Your local domestic abuse service will tell you exactly how and how often they would like this to happen, and so please follow their instructions closely. 

6. How can we make parishioners aware of the parish domestic abuse project?

Now that you have a procedure for how to support your local domestic abuse service during Covid-19, you will need to notify your parishioners about the project.

Here are a few suggestions for how you can let parishioners know about the project:

  • If you are a parish which is live-streaming Masses, ask the Parish Priest to make an announcement and give information about the project at the beginning or end of Mass.
  • Ask the Parish Priest to publish information about the project in the online parish newsletter.
  • Ask the Parish Priest to publish information about the project on the parish website.
  • Publish information about the project on the parish social media. 
  • Use existing parish networks, for example choir or prayer group mailing lists or social media groups to circulate information about the project.
  • Pick up the phone or write a text or email to tell fellow parishioners about the project – and ask them to spread the word to others.