Annual Report 2022/2023

Registered Charity No. 276883
Company Registration No. 1338724

Philosophy Statement

People who have experienced domestic abuse have been hurt and traumatised. 

Children and Young People who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse have been hurt and traumatised. 

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse does not discriminate by gender, age, ability, financial status, sexuality, race or religion. Those affected by domestic abuse can find themselves existing in a world where they are isolated often frightened or hurt, their confidence and self-esteem have been undermined, where they lack control over who they see, where they go, what they do and their own money. 

We recognise that every person has their own story and their own individual needs. When people are ready to reach out for help, we will work with them in partnership in a non-judgemental, caring and friendly way. We will take the time to listen as people tell us their stories. We will let them see that they have been not only listened to but heard. 

We understand that to work with a person who has experienced domestic abuse we will need to provide a range of services to meet the needs of the whole person. Particularly support with their mental health and to rebuild their self-esteem. Where the person has needs that are complex, we will work in partnership with other organisations to provide individual person-centred packages of care and support. 

We will work with a person, at their own pace. We recognise that not everyone is at the point where they are ready to leave an abusive relationship when they first make contact with us. We understand and support people who are terrified to stay, yet terrified to leave. 

We understand that children and young people who have been victims of or who have witnessed domestic violence have been significantly damaged by their experiences. We will listen to children and young people, as we do to adults with empathy and sensitivity. We will make an individual package of care for each child which recognises their individual needs. 

Where the risk of harm to a child or adult is high, we will work in partnership with the statutory agencies to keep children and vulnerable adults safe. 

We provide a safe space for women and their children, who need to flee domestic violence, to live while we support them to rebuild their lives. We recognise the need to hold these women and children in a nurturing and friendly environment provided by a skilled staff team. We aim to support these women and children to recognise their strengths and to slowly enable them to re-build their self-esteem and confidence. 

We understand some people do not need a place in a refuge when they leave an abusive relationship. They need support to enable them to stay safe, to understand what has happened to them and support to help them to begin to come to terms with these experiences. We also understand that they need a wide range of practical, housing and legal advice. Our aim is to work with the person to make a support plan and provide services which are right for them. 

We support children and young people who have been abused or who have witnessed abuse to understand and talk about these experiences, to rebuild nurturing relationships with their parents or carers, to experience all kinds of play and to feel safe and secure. We understand how traumatic childhood events can have a lifelong impact on a person’s feelings of self-worth and mental health. 

We believe that individuals coming together with a shared understanding of what domestic abuse is, can work together to keep people safe and to advocate for the individual and for changes in society.

Aims and Functions of Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid

Bury St Edmund’s Women’s Aid Centre Ltd. is both a Registered charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee. There are currently seven Trustees of the Charity, who are also Directors of the Company. The Trustees, who are all volunteers with differing areas of experience and expertise, form a Management Committee that oversees the operation of the organisation. 

Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre is a caring organisation that offers advice and support to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse. 

We Offer

  • We operate in the community from our Outreach Centre. At the Centre we offer both group and individual support. We offer a crèche so that children can be cared for while adults are having one to one support, counselling or attend groups. We also work one to one and with groups of children who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse. Our work with young people can take place at the Outreach Centre or in the community. Our Outreach Centre also operates a drop-in service and is a hub for our helpline service.
  • We also offer Refuge accommodation to women and their children who are at a high risk of suffering harm as a result of domestic abuse. The Refuge is designed to offer a supportive friendly environment which will allow women and their children a safe space in which they can take time to begin the process of coming to terms with their experiences. We have space for up to 8 women and up to 15 children at any one time. A newly developed garden as a space to just be and experience the healing properties being in contact with what nature can provide.
  • Family work with women to accept and move on from some of the children’s more challenging behaviour. Intensive work with children to support them to rebuild nurturing relationships with their mothers. Support for younger children to ‘catch up’ with developmental milestones they may have missed. Support for young people who are feeling ‘lost’ having left behind their schools, friends, home and sometimes beloved pets.
  • For all the people who use our service there are skilled workers who will listen and understand what people have experienced. Practical advice and support also signposting to financial, housing and legal services. We provide access to groups to enable people to be in a supportive environment as they explore their experiences. We provide access to counselling. A worker who will support the individual to make and work through a plan to keep themselves and any children they may have safe. We offer children and young people a safe space in which, as part of a group or one to one, they can talk about how they feel and their experiences. 

We Seek

  • In all the services we provide, to offer a high-quality service to everyone we work with. To remain aware that every person, who uses our service, is a unique individual and that it is our role to support and enable that person to begin to come to terms with experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse.
  • To work in partnership with other statutory and voluntary organisations to provide the best possible service to all the people who are in contact or receiving a service from us. Also, we seek to build closer working relationships, after the period of Covid19, with these organisations. 

We Aim

  • To remain a flexible, responsive organisation focused on the needs of the people, children and young people who use our service. We aim to learn from everything that has happened in the time of the pandemic to provide services in smart and innovative ways.