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Females Who Have Experienced Domestic Abuse

Supporting females who have experienced domestic abuse but are now away from this relationship and feel safe.

We are now able to provide devices or data/minutes packages for clients requiring technology in order to access our services.

Please get in touch if this applies to you or someone you are working with to discuss support.

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 call Jordan on 07522 386 033 or leave us a voicemail on 01273 612025. You can also email us at info@hses.org.uk or message us on Facebook.

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.

What do supported females say about the group?


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.


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


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


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.

Guidance for Professionals

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 (regardless of age and where the children are actually living), but 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)


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

Who is eligible for the programme?
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.

Who can make referrals?
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 IDVAs for a chat about the service. Jordan, 07522 386 033 (Mon-Weds) or Natalie 07516 664 105 (Mon-Fri).

We will always respond to you within five working days.

How do I make a referral?
Please click  here to fill in our Home-Start 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.

Please also see our Guidance for Professional Referrers.

Alternatively, clients can phone one of our friendly IDVAs for a chat about the service. Jordan, 07522 386 033 (Mon-Weds) or Natalie 07516 664 105 (Mon-Fri).

We will always respond to you within five working days.

What happens if we cannot support a victim-survivor?
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, (ii) would score 10-13 on a DASH Risk Identification Checklist or (iii) is not female 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.

At the moment, the Lotus domestic abuse recovery programme can only offer group support – we do not have the capacity or funding to provide one-to-one 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.

What happens if a referral is accepted?
We aim to make first contact with new clients within five days of receiving all key referral information, to acknowledge receipt of the referral, confirm eligibility and share when and where the next programmes will run.

Once eligibility is confirmed, clients will either be allocated to a specific programme or join a waiting list depending on whether a programme is planned in the area. We will discuss information sharing and support planning with clients. When appropriate, we will also discuss the progress of the referral with referrers, subject to data protection.

We carry out an Intake and Risk Assessment telephone call in the month leading up to the programme starts, to discuss the programme with clients and review risk.

In cases where a programme is not starting within the next month, a call will be scheduled nearer to the start date to ensure the risk assessment is up to date.

Do you have a waiting list?
Home-Start East Sussex aims to run six programmes a year in various towns throughout the county.

We try to provide support to eligible victim-survivors as soon as possible, but where there is not a programme scheduled in the local area, the client will be asked if they want to go on a waiting list.

Similarly, if a referral has been made after week one of the programme, the client will be added to the waiting list to attend a future programme. The length of time a client remains on the waiting list before attending a programme depends on the client’s location and flexibility of travel.

Referrers will be updated if a client has been enrolled onto a programme or added to the waiting list.

How is client safety considered?
The eligibility criteria for the group includes that clients are safe to attend, although of course this may change over time.

We are aware that simply by attending the programme, clients may be more at risk, and we ensure that they are aware of this. 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.

For any individuals whose risk escalates during the programme, appropriate safety planning will be carried out. Clients are given a contact telephone number to support safety in between sessions.

Time is also allocated at the end of each session to speak individually with staff so that risk reviews can continue to be conducted throughout.

What does the programme involve?
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 women 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 3.5 hours, which includes some unstructured time to build friendships with other clients. Groups are held in safe, accessible community locations 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.

Do you have a confidentiality policy?
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 of 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.

How do I know that the Lotus Programme is a quality programme?
Home-Start East Sussex’s Lotus programme has been awarded the nationally recognised SafeLives Leading Lights quality standard.

Leading Lights is an accreditation programme 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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