We had a visit from the Director General of Crime, Policing & Fire Paul Lincoln who came to find out about local domestic abuse services. He talked with staff and service users including our peer mentors to hear about their experience of the police, criminal justice system and the help that was available to them.
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This year together with the Diversity Trust we held a conference to launch a report on our work to improve access to domestic and sexual violence services for LGBT communities.
We provided new materials and promoted new ways of working to all domestic and sexual abuse services in the Avon and Somerset Area to increase the number of victims from the LGBT communities to seek help.
At the same time we ran a course to raise awareness of Domestic and Sexual Violence within LGBT communities. The Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens was a key speaker and the conference was attended by over 100 people.
his was the first event of its kind and generated a lot of interest from agencies and colleagues working across Bristol. With contributions from over 20 organisations involved in delivering services to homeless women we were able to create information stalls, project films and gather support for our commitment to women only services within Bristol. The event was launched by our chief executive Carol Metters who gave the welcoming address, and was attended by 100 people from over 40 agencies, including the Police, Lighthouse, Probation, Health services and Bristol City Council commissioners.
Christmas is around the corner and here at Next Link we are gearing up for what will undoubtedly be a busy period.
Domestic abuse happens all year round and many women and children will be spending this Christmas in our safe houses.
The festive period can be an incredibly difficult time of year for the women and children who are experiencing or fleeing domestic abuse and during this time, more than ever, they require the support of specialist services like we provide at Next Link.
We strive to ensure the families we work with have a safe and happy Christmas day and the children in our safe house wake up on December 25th to safety, security and excitement and you can help us with this mission!
Many amazing people choose to donate to Next Link during this festive period and we welcome any gifts/donations for the women and children with open arms.
So that we can manage the donations and to ensure that they reach the intended recipients in time for Christmas, we have set up a ‘Donation Period’.
Between the 5th-19th December our main office at 5 Queen Square will have a dedicated team on hand to accept any donations. Our office opening ours are between 8.30-5.30, Monday to Friday.
Items we are currently very short on
- Women’s winter clothing such as jumpers/coats
- Older children’s winter clothing (aged 6 upwards)
- Toys for children aged 6+
If you want to talk to us about possible donations, please give the office a call and ask to speak to either Charlie Oswald or Andrea Russe and thank you for thinking of us!
We held our annual candle lit procession from Queen Square to College Green. We have held this event for 17 years and each year it has generated an increase in women seeking help.
Comic Relief fund our young person’s Independent Sexual Violence Advocate and our Peer Support worker.
Staff mark the 3,500 victims that they have supported since the service began.
Next Link, the renowned Bristol based domestic abuse service is to continue providing domestic abuse services in Bristol, following a reconsideration by Bristol City Council and an endorsement of their bid by top national experts.
In 2015 Next Link was told by Bristol City Council that their funding bid was unsuccessful and instead the Council intended to fund a national organisation based in London. Next Link challenged the decision in the High Court and an agreement was reached that an independent panel of national experts would consider the two bids. This panel have now decided that the bid from Next Link was the best for service users in Bristol.
“We are really delighted that the quality of our bid has been endorsed by renowned experts in the field of domestic abuse and that we will be able to carry on providing the service that we have been giving local people for eighteen years “ says Carol Metters who heads the Next Link Service.
Next Link is a locally grown service that has been providing domestic abuse services in the city for 18 years and last year it supported more than 2,600 families. It has an excellent local and national reputation and has gained the trust of many domestic abuse survivors.
Cathy Morgan Chair of the Next Link organsation said
“Our services have been instrumental in saving women’s and children’s lives and supporting them to live free from the fear of violence. It is crucial that victims fleeing domestic abuse are able to access services that they know and trust and are on their door step. The message we want to give to victims is we are here to stay and we can help you.
I would also like to pay tribute to Carol and to all the staff who have kept the service running for local people during this period of great uncertainty. It has been a difficult time for them but they made every effort to make sure our service users were not affected”
Next Link services in Bristol include
- Seven safe houses / refuges,
- One complex needs safe house
- Resettlement and outreach services
- Crisis Response service,
- Dedicated Black and Ethnic Minority Services
- Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence
- Accredited advice and guidance
- Freedom Programmes and recovery tool kit groups
- The IRIS (identification and referral to improve safety) scheme where local GPs and their staff are trained to recognise sign of domestic abuse and refer to them the right services.
Next Link comes under the umbrella of Missing Link. Services include the following:
- Missing Link provides mental health support and housing services for women with acute and enduring mental health needs
- Safe Link provides support to victims of rape and sexual assault
This year our IRIS worker in South Gloucestershire was awarded The Ann Wood Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to Domestic Abuse in South Gloucestershire.