Women at Risk initiative launches in Derby

Published: 7 March 2020

Woman comforting another woman

A women’s programme, named Women at Risk (WaR), has been launched in Derby to support women in the city who are considered vulnerable.

Research indicated that women in Derby are a disproportionately represented group in alcohol and drug-related deaths in Derby. It was also indicated that a number of women in Derby who were receiving alcohol and drug treatment were living in situations where they were at risk of domestic abuse. Many of these women also had a history of childhood abuse or trauma.

After identifying the need to support women who may be at risk, Derby City Public Health placed a successful bid with Public Health England of just under £250,000 to develop an ambitious initiative.

A number of facilities and services have been developed or transformed as a result of the capital investment, all to reduce the number of women in Derby at risk of abuse, homelessness and, in some cases, death.

These include:

  • Significant improvements to Centenary House homelessness shelter and additional site safety features
  • Improving the security at the dispersed site within Derby (bespoke accommodation) for ‘women at risk’
  • Six self-contained units of accommodation, dedicated to women who misuse alcohol and have a range of adverse childhood experiences and/or are experiencing domestic abuse.
  • A new PortaKabin (The Hub), which provides a selection of activities, holistic therapies and opportunities to learn new skills such as acupuncture, cooking evenings and group work.

Derby Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service are actively working with 16 women (44 referrals in total). Several partner agencies are also involved in the initiative: Public Health England, Derby Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services, The Riverside Group Ltd and Padley Group.

All services offer resilience building to clients and aim to improve the mental and physical strength of those being treated or supported. Through the adoption of ‘trauma-informed’ approaches, the services help to build the ability of not only those in treatment but agencies and employees to manage substance misuse in clients more effectively.

The launch is particularly timely as this Sunday is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual and concentrates on ensuring gender equality across all aspects of life, from work to health to relationships.

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing, said:

The WaR initiative is a fantastic step in our overall mission to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens of Derby. That said, women who suffer from vulnerabilities such as history of problematic substance misuse were noted as being at particular risk of ill health or death in the city. Support services are an essential part of identifying these individuals and ensuring their health and resilience are improved.

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