Award-winning Scheme Helps Domestic Abuse Victims – 16/10/08

Hundreds of Dudley women who have suffered domestic abuse have been helped to recover thanks to an award-winning scheme.

More than 200 women have received help from WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger), which now forms part of the newly created Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

The scheme, which started four years ago, is promoting its services ahead of World Mental Health day on Friday (OCT 10).

WINGS has won a number of local and national awards for its innovative approach to helping domestic abuse victims through group working.

Women who contact the service are offered initial guidance and support through a monthly group session.

Service users are then put on to the next stage of the project, which is a 10-week therapeutic programme devised to enable women to understand the effect of domestic abuse on their mental health, and empower them to regain confidence and self-esteem.

The final phase of WINGS is a voluntary self-help group set up to provide continuing support and leisure activities to women who have been helped in the first two stages.

Archie Shearer, project coordinator, said well over 200 women had taken part in the three-stage process and many more had also received support thanks to the service.

“We have seen WINGS develop over the past four years and make a positive difference to the lives of women in Dudley,” he said.

“The WINGS workers have demonstrated an innovative and passionate approach and their efforts have won the project a number of awards, including a national one from the Community Care magazine.

“Providing a group work approach to domestic abuse is quite uncommon but it has significant advantages because it breaks down the feeling of isolation many women experience and also helps tackle the taboo that surrounds domestic abuse.

“Feedback from local women who have experienced the WINGS programme is extremely positive. Through our work, we have prevented hospital admissions, stopped women from self-harming and prevented women from experiencing more significant mental health problems.”

Gary Graham, chief executive of the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “The WINGS project is vitally important because it offers very vulnerable women a safe environment in which they can seek support and reassurance to deal with the traumatic experiences they have gone through.”