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DA Champions Network

Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse coordinates and supports Networks of front line staff from a wide range of agencies and services in order to develop a strong local multi-agency approach to domestic abuse.

The Champion Network approach was developed in Oxfordshire and was subsequently rolled out across the county. It is an evidence-based and transferable local model for joined-up practice. Over time it has been extended to include Buckinghamshire, West Berkshire, Milton Keynes, Slough, and Torbay. We train trainers in each area so that Networks are locally sustainable. We are keen to work with more Local Authority Areas – so please get in touch if you are interested in building a bespoke Network in your area.

The approach was conceived as a means of empowering front-line staff from a range of services to work together to improve the accessibility and quality of support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. It was prompted by the need for:

  • Safe early intervention: Increasing the confidence and competence of front-line generalist staff to identify and respond safely and effectively to victims of abuse; preventing harm and risk escalation; reducing the average number of services a victim contacts before getting the help they need (the current national average is five – Safe Lives).
  • Services to work together: Particularly in light of the findings of serious case reviews that a key factor for effective safeguarding is coordinated practice – the safety of adults and children at risk depends vitally on practitioners working together and sharing information.
  • Victims, including those with complex needs, being able to easily access all the resources they need both for safety and recovery.
  • A means of providing ongoing support for practitioners to enhance their practice and ensure they are regularly updated.
  • Added value: building on and maximising the potential of existing resources.

We currently have over 2300 active Champions and this number is constantly growing. Champions work in a range of professions and services including healthcare, social care, counselling, housing, child and family, schools and colleges, legal and court, police, fire and rescue services and community projects including those supporting vulnerable people through COVID.

This Champion approach rests on building strong professional relationships and shared understanding of the dynamics of abuse, risk management and each other’s services. Champions undertake a two day (or equivalent) multi-agency training and are subsequently linked as a Network through a database. They receive ongoing support and regular updates through an e-bulletin, consultancy advice, how-to guides, network meetings and opportunities for further training. They act as a lead for domestic abuse support within their staff team, advise on case management and through the network act as a bridge to a range of other services. They are able to contact each other through the database, plan together and share expertise.

Further reading

Read an independent research study of the impact of the Network for victims, practitioners and agencies here.

Hear directly from some of our DA Champions in our video! Katrina, Michael, Karen, Matt and Vicky talk about their experiences as DA Champions and about the benefits that a DA Champions’ Network can bring to a local authority.

Annual Champion Network report

We run an annual evaluation amongst our DA Champions to measure the effectiveness of the Network including the impact for victims of DA, and to collect feedback in order to improve our provision and support on offer.

Read our latest report here: 2019 DA Champions Report

For previous reports: please visit the Library of Good Practice.

Become a Champion!

If you’d like to become a Champion, find out more on our Domestic Abuse Champions’ training page.