PSS and Turnaround; Above and Beyond
PSS is a social enterprise that supports people to live happy and healthy lives. Since 2015, 3SC have contract managed their Women’s Turnaround Project on behalf of Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) which delivers a range of interventions to female service users on Merseyside. The main aim of the project is to help prevent women from reoffending by helping them to make better choices providing holistic support designed to support the whole family.
PSS have risen admirably to the significant challenges of delivering services through the Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2020 alone, they delivered over 250 interventions on a 1-1 basis over the phone as well as 171 group interventions, 66 counselling sessions, 16 1-1 appointments and 18 wellbeing calls.
The rise in reports of domestic violence during lockdown, not just in the UK but around the world, means that PSS’s services are more important than ever for those at risk. Excellent collaboration work has helped Lucy, below, move to a safe place.
Lucy is a current sevice user who is case managed by Rozanne Haworth at Prescot CRC Women’s Team. Rozanne has been working with Lucy for 6 months and through listening and supporting her, was able to form a trusting relationship which led to Lucy disclosing a history of domestic abuse and details of her current abusive relationship.
Recognising the impact that Lucy’s past traumas could have had on her life choices and her current abusive relationship, Rozanne referred her to PSS Ruby at Turnaround which is a specialist service for victims of domestic abuse. There she had access to a team of specialist practitioners to support her to process and overcome the historical and current abuse she has experienced. Together they looked at the reasons behind the abuse to help her make sense of things and find strategies to manage the effect that being a survivor has on her mental health and wellbeing.
Initially, Lucy was hesitant to access support and often did not attend the scheduled appointments. However, with encouragement from Rozanne and PSS Ruby/Women’s Turnaround Project, Lucy eventually attended for an assessment. Within this assessment Lucy opened up about events in her life including her difficulties with low mood and poor mental health, coming to terms with a breakdown in family networks, substance misuse and domestic abuse. Lucy also recognised that she had been involved in a number of domestically abusive relationships in the past and was living through one today. She was still in a two-year relationship with a domestically abusive partner remaining under the same roof as the perpetrator. Until this point, Lucy had not reported any incidents to police – she adamantly refused to consider this. She had formed a negative perception of the police and wanted to remain in the relationship.
The PSS Ruby Team created a bespoke safety plan alongside Lucy so that she had all the tools and advice she needed to safely respond to another potential incident. A series of useful practical steps were suggested to make her as safe as possible. This included: keeping her mobile phone charged, providing her with advice on civil orders for her protection and making her aware of options for her to leave the house if her safety was breached. Lucy was also made aware of a number of interventions that would be put in place to support her with her mental health at PSS Women’s Turnaround, including attending the ‘Understanding Your Emotions’ group and accessing counselling.
This plan was shared with Case Manager Rozanne, in order for her and Lucy to review at their own one to one sessions, and to discuss progress and any ongoing concerns or threats to her safety.
After making this plan of support, Covid-19 brought with it some essential changes to service provision for the safety of the people PSS support and their Teams. Since mid-March 2020, a delivery model of remote support has been introduced including group and counselling sessions being carried out on a one-to-one basis over the phone.
Rozanne and the PSS Ruby/Women’s Turnaround Teams were very aware that as lockdown was introduced and social isolation came into play that Lucy may be more at risk due to a potential increase in domestic abuse. Lucy would be spending more time in close proximity to the perpetrator so adjustments to the Safety Plan and the way contact was maintained was introduced. Lucy was now to let Rozanne and PSS know when she was safe to call them via email or texts and calls are made in a safe space like outside during Lucy’s exercise period or in the supermarket. Increase to weekly contact was initiated to allow for regular check ins and updates on current home circumstances.
Lucy did have cause to contact Rozanne and PSS Ruby staff and informed them there had been a serious domestic abuse incident with her partner. Lucy felt she had to escape and went to stay with family but was concerned that her partner knew where they lived so it was assessed by all as unsafe for Lucy to remain there on any long- term basis.
PSS Ruby staff quickly completed safety checks with police and ensured a ‘treat as urgent’ alert was placed on the address in case she did return to living there. Safety plans were reviewed, and the team looked at all the options available to Lucy.
Rozanne and PSS Ruby agreed that Lucy required emergency accommodation so a referral to a housing options service was made. They placed Lucy in a hotel for the weekend and eventually secured accommodation for her. PSS Ruby made a report to Merseyside Police and due to Lucy being in safe accommodation and away from her abusers, she was able to inform Police Officers about the domestic abuse. This was a first and a really positive step for Lucy who usually has a negative perception of the police and would not engage with them.
Lucy’s actions demonstrate that she has come a long way from where she was at the start of her Probation Order. Lucy has more confidence in the partnerships working together and Rozanne, PSS Ruby and Women’s Turnaround have liaised throughout alongside Lucy to ensure her safety and to start to look at Lucy having her own independence that is free from daily abuse.
It was agreed that until she is in a more stable situation that she would complete support through one-to-one around her mental health with the PSS Women’s Turnaround Team. In addition to this, she has the support of PSS Ruby to provide safety planning/advice and emotional support with domestic abuse. Rozanne is also having weekly contact with Lucy and ensuring that she is supported and continues to be now and beyond the lifetime of her Probation Order.
Kim Thornden-Edwards, Director of Justice for Interserve’s Justice Division has said the work undertaken is:
“…a brilliant example of an effective and responsive colleague…a great local partner, and a brave service user, Lucy. We should all feel proud”
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC