Do you know what an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate does? One of our IDVAs, Louise, describes a typical day in the current conditions…
In March 2020 the global pandemic hit and saw the UK go into complete lockdown, whilst this impacted everybody it particularly impacted voluntary sectors such as front line domestic abuse workers and changed the way they worked for the foreseeable. What had already been an incredibly difficult but rewarding job suddenly became even more difficult and we found ourselves trying to navigate and support victims of domestic violence mostly remotely. Domestic Violence has a huge impact on victims and their families and the lockdown only exacerbated that, what follows is a description of the day in the life of an IDVA….
08:00 – Remote working from home. I have a virtual meeting scheduled in which encourages me to actually get ready for work and not work in my ‘jamas as I have been doing!
08:15 – check emails- the emails seem to have trebled in quantity during the lockdown period, I assume due to most people remote working.
08:30 – Log onto case management system- follow up any outstanding tasks from the day previous.
09:00 – Look through emails and write priority list for the day.
09:15 – Contact client to complete a closing assessment as they have now been provided with accommodation outside of the borough. During call making sure that safety planning is reviewed and ensuring that they have support in place where they are going.
10:15 – Contact client to go through information needed for sanctuary scheme referral.
11:05 – Telephone call – consultation with homeless officer regarding a client who has fled her property and is currently staying at her parent’s home address. Co-working cases with partner agencies is as important now as it ever was to ensure the safety of the woman and her family, homeless team agree to contact the client and discuss her options, on this occasion there was no suitable refuge space due to the increasing demand and referrals due to the pandemic there has been a notable rise in women seeking refuge
11:30 – Call from client regarding a universal credit application and requesting support to complete the relevant form. Agreed with client to drop the form off at the office, before lockdown the client would have been able to come in and we would have done this together but now we have had to completely adapt the way we work which has been a barrier for some clients accessing
12:13 – Read over case notes for client to prepare for ‘Team Around the Family’ (TAF) meeting, which is now done via telephone conference, trying to navigate this with children at home has been a challenge!!
12.45 – Dial in to the telephone meeting. Meetings seem to be taking much longer due to various technical difficulties and bad lines.
14:00 – Call from a homeless team with regards to a mutual case allocated from last week.
14:20 – Contact client to complete an initial assessment the client is presenting with legal and civil issues so have linked them in with a solicitor, again this is all done remotely.
15:20 – Email the OIC (Officer in Charge) police officer regarding a MARAC case. It is vital that MARAC updates are shared and obtained prior to the next MARAC meeting, this enables all professionals involved to have to up to date information so they can create a plan around the best way to ensure the clients safety.
15:45 – Call from client with regards to seeking refuge space, given the time of day this presents a challenge ensuring the client is safe and doesn’t have to remain in the property overnight, temporary accommodation had to be sourced until they could be admitted to the refuge the following day.
16:30 – Log Off for the day, ensuring all immediate tasks are completed and action plan set for the next day!
One thing I will say, you NEVER get 2 days the same!!