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Lotus - a Safe Space for Women to Recover from  Domestic Abuse

For reasons of safety, dignity and privacy the Lotus programme is delivered as a single sex service to women who have separated from their abuser and feel safe and ready to begin their journey of recovery.

HSES recognises that trans or non-binary people are at particular risk of abuse because of the way they identify.  HSES is able to offer a tailored one-to-one IDVA service for any trans or non-binary victim-survivor of domestic abuse living in East Sussex that is now safe but needs support to recover.

If you are  currently in an abusive relationship and need support please call Change Grow Live on freephone 0300 323 9985

Our Lotus programme will encourage your recovery from experiences of abuse by helping you to gain a better understanding of domestic abuse, supporting you to make decisions and take back control of your life, and encouraging safety for yourself (and children) in future relationships.

Our Lotus programme provides:

  • an opportunity for you to discuss the different types of domestic abuse you have experienced and reflect on the early warning signs
  • time to talk through the elements of a healthy relationship
  • reflecting on the impact that domestic abuse has had on you and how to take back control
  • encouraging you to manage anxiety and build your confidence and assertiveness
  • if you have children, discussions and practical parenting tips to support you to parent children who may have experienced trauma

If you’d like a chat about this service or support to apply:

You can leave us a voicemail on 01273 612025. You can also email us at [email protected] o

Our free six-week Lotus domestic abuse recovery programme meets the SafeLives Leading Lights quality standard, illustrating that the programme is effective, sustainable and – above all – safe.
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What do supported women say about the group?

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The women at Home-Start exude love and support for the women, they are super friendly and supportive and couldn’t be any better for the role they are in.

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I am finding what I have been through and how I was treated wasn’t right.

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Really useful and empowering. Difficult and upsetting at times but so informative, allowing me to better understand my experience and so strengthen my recovery.

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Thank you for helping me be in charge of my own feelings and realising that I would never ever go back to him.

Partner Agency Referrals

If you work for a partner agency and would like to refer someone to the Lotus programme, please click here to fill in our Home-Start referral form.  If the client has been subjected to abuse in the last three months please also attach a DASH RIC to confirm that you assess their the risk score between 0-9

BH ES DASH RIC Form East Sussex Brighton Hove July (revised 2016)

It is the third party’s responsibility to gain permission to share the potential service-user’s contact details with us. Confidentiality is always our priority to ensure the victim-survivor’s privacy

Suitable participants for the programme are:

  • Females aged 16+ with lived experience of domestic abuse but now consider themselves safe
  • In line with our mission we prioritise those with children/stepchildren  but for the time being, we also support women who do not have children
  • Standard/medium risk who are not currently in crisis, but vulnerable as a result of DA experience (referrers: 0-9 ticks on the DASH RIC).  Perpetrator not assessed as a risk to her or the other females attending the programme.

Having Trouble with our Online Form?

Please click here to download a paper version of the HomeStart Referral Form (Word, 77Kb)

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All other domestic abuse support in East Sussex is crisis intervention. A lot of my clients are no longer in the abusive relationship but their experience is still affecting them. Being able to refer them to a reflective course that will help them to understand their experience and to avoid abusive relationships in the future is really beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility is based on risk and sex – our Lotus programme offers help to female victim-survivors of domestic abuse, who are no longer in an intimate relationship with their perpetrator and now consider themselves safe.

Females who have children with their ex-partner, and therefore still have contact with them for this reason, are of course eligible.

Our Lotus programme is for cis women (people assigned female at birth whose gender aligns with this). If you are trans or non-binary we offer immediate, tailored and discreet, 1-2-1 support with our IDVA’s. Please go to this service page to access this here.

We only require a DASH Risk Identification Checklist to be submitted if there has been abuse within the past three months, but please be aware that accepted risk level for clients would be a score between 0-9.

Anyone can submit a Referral whether it is on behalf of themselves or others.

If an agency would like us to support one of their service users, it is their responsibility to consult with them and get consent to share the personal information requested on the form. We will follow up all Intake Forms.

Alternatively, clients can phone one of our friendly team for a chat about the service. Jordan, 07522 386 033 (Mon-Weds) or  or Clare, 07955300355 (Mon-Fri).

We will always respond to you within five working days.

Please click here to fill in a referral form.

If an agency is referring on behalf of a service user, they must ensure that the service user has given consent for the referral. Clients should have been free from abuse for a minimum of three months and should score less than 9 on a DASH RIC.

Alternatively, if you require any additional support with completing the referral form, please contact our Services Administrator, Roisin, on 01273 612025.

We will always respond to you within five working days.

HSES provides a valuable service as part of the coordinated response to domestic abuse in East Sussex, and we are committed to working with other agencies to promote, support and improve the response locally to victims of domestic abuse.

Since our programme is unsuitable for those currently at risk, anyone who self-refers and is (i) still living with their perpetrator, or (ii) would score 10-13 on a DASH Risk Identification Checklist will be signposted to CGL. Those with scores of 14+ will be referred straight to MARAC.

As we will have no working knowledge of the victim-survivor, professional referrals that are ineligible will be returned with a recommendation of where they should be signposted/referred.

Although we cannot support trans or non-binary clients on the group programme, we can offer 1:1 IDVA support.

Where it is identified that a client needs additional support that we are unable to provide, we will signpost clients to a specialist local service.

We aim to make first contact with new clients within five days of receiving the referral, to acknowledge receipt, confirm eligibility and share an update on when clients might expect to be offered a place on a programme.

Once eligibility is confirmed, clients will join a waiting list. Once placed on this waiting list, we are unfortunately unable to offer any monitoring or interim support to clients on our waiting list, therefore, you would not expect to hear from us until a place becomes available on one of our programmes. At this point, you will receive an email inviting you to book an initial call in the month leading up to the programme with one of our programme facilitators to discuss your current situation and confirm whether the programme is still suitable for you. This call will include a risk assessment.

Before accessing any of our services, you will be asked to sign a privacy notice which covers our data protection and confidentiality policies.

If you are referred by a professional, we will update them on the progress of the referral.

Home-Start East Sussex tries to provide support to eligible victim-survivors as soon as possible, but there is currently a waiting list.

Clients and referrers will be notified of an estimated wait time once the referral has been accepted and the client is on the waiting list.  Once placed on this waiting list, we are unfortunately unable to offer any monitoring or interim support to clients on our waiting list, therefore, you would not expect to hear from us until a place becomes available on one of our programmes. We will contact you once a place becomes available.

Client safety and well-being is the priority of all our services at Home-Start, and is considered and reviewed throughout any service engagement.

The primary eligibility criteria for attending the group is that clients are assessed as safe to attend, something that we continue to review regularly during any programme, through ongoing and dynamic risk assessments.

We recognise that simply by attending a programme, clients may be more at risk, and we ensure that any such risks are discussed with the client before joining the programme and are then assessed and mitigated where possible. Our welfare check process will be clearly explained to clients during their Intake and Risk Assessment phone call prior to the programme, and on week one of the programme.

Time is also allocated at the end of each group session so that group attendees can speak individually with staff. This provides a regular space for any clients to share risk disclosures or concerns that they may have. Clients are also given a contact telephone number for a staff member to support safety in between sessions.

For any individuals whose risk escalates during the programme, appropriate safety planning and onward referrals will be carried out.

Our aim is to empower clients to move from ‘victim’ to survivor’ by helping them to process their experience and have the skills and confidence to keep themselves and their children safe in future relationships.

Primarily through discussion and videos, the programme helps clients to understand and identify abuse, improve life skills, increase confidence and build resilience. It also helps them to identify and understand how their experience of domestic abuse has affected them as an individual, as a parent and the impact the experience has had on their children.

The programme helps females to draw on and recognise their own strengths, whilst providing a form of community support. It is delivered with the knowledge that victim-survivors are the experts in their own lives and are not passive, as in our experience all victims of violence resist violence in their own way. Support plans are created for each client and we have found we have been able to effectively support those with literacy issues and most disabilities.

There are six weekly sessions each lasting 2.5 hours, which includes some unstructured time to build friendships with other clients. Groups are held via Zoom with around 10 women attending each programme.

Sessions are run by sensitive and understanding facilitators who tailor the programme to client’s individual needs – in a prior Intake and Risk Assessment phone call, we ask individual clients what they want to gain from the group, and this is taken into consideration during the planning of the programme.

Groups are currently held via Zoom on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning, from 10am-12:30pm. We aim to alternate the days we offer on each programme to increase availability for clients. We realise that people may work during the week and so we aim to offer one evening programme per year, this will be dependent on demand.

All essential information is recorded within individual case files, which are only accessible to authorised staff.

We treat all information with strict confidentiality except where there are child or adult safeguarding concerns. Our procedures on information sharing with other services and the role of other agencies is clearly explained to clients during the intake process.

Clients are provided with a privacy statement to sign outlining all confidentiality procedures.

Home-Start East Sussex’s Lotus programme has been awarded the nationally recognised SafeLives Leading Lights quality standard.

Leading Lights is an accrediting body which recognises and rewards good and safe practice in community based domestic abuse services across the UK.

Leading Lights offers services, partner agencies and commissioners a set of standards for supporting victims of domestic abuse through a risk led response, and is designed to ensure that victim-survivors of domestic violence receive the same level of service, regardless of where they are in the country.

National Support Organisations

24hr free National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
24hr Aanchal helpline 0845 4512 547 – If English isn’t your first language
Women’s Aid and the Survivor’s handbook
Mankind Helpline 01823 334244 – for men
Paladin NSAS (Paladin-National Stalking Advocacy Service) 0207 840 8960
Help around stalking and the disclosure scheme for Clare’s Law
Broken Rainbow Helpline 0300 999 5428 LGBT helpline
NHS Choices help for domestic violence

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