Ground breaking project helping support survivors of domestic abuse

In 2020 Leeds Rhinos Foundation will be supporting survivors of domestic abuse and working to lower reoffending rates by running workshops with those convicted of the crime, after the charity received funding from HMP Wealstun to continue delivery its ‘Tackle It’ project.

Launched in 2019 as part of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s ‘Reducing Re-Offending’ scheme, the charity has now secured funding to continue the delivery of the project within the prison, promising to build on the positive work which was carried out during the first year of the project.

Additional support is offered to the survivors and their families by Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Support Worker who will visit families and identify key issues and work with agencies to develop strategies to safeguard them. When individuals are released the worker will continue to have links with the family linking in with local support groups offering advice and assistance where needed.

Anne Collinson, survivor support worker at Leeds Rhinos Foundation said:

“This additional work in the community with the survivor and their families has been welcomed. It enables us to help to ensure that the required support is in place providing a holistic approach.”

The ground-breaking programme is delivered twice a week over six weeks in HMP Wealstun, covering a variety of subjects such as: challenging thinking around domestic abuse, ineffective thoughts and behaviours and the impact of this on others, taking responsibility for actions, positive relationships and respect.

The aim is to deliver a programme of challenging activities and value-based lessons for individuals to take positive steps forward in their lives by helping assess options of support, life on the outside and increase self-reflection and self-improvement. The intention is to motivate, rehabilitate and resettle an individual into society and support changes needed for a safer environment around their partner and children.

Janet Sylvester, project tutor at Leeds Rhinos Foundation said:

“The project is an extension of the fantastic way that we carry out our ‘Onside’ project which is delivered with prisoners at the end of their sentence to tackle the issue of reoffending.  ‘Tackle It’ though focussed more specifically on the behaviours surrounding domestic abuse. As well as working with individuals we will be working with partners such as the probation service and offering support for survivors which play a vital part in our work.

“We need to look at ways in which we can prevent domestic abuse and through the ‘Tackle it’ project we see this as a way of reducing re-offending and preventing further survivors of crime by educating the individuals to stop and think about their actions, attitude and promote positive change whilst they are in prison. We are extremely proud to be leaders in this field by becoming the first Rugby League Foundation to offer a programme of its kind.”

Diane Lewis the Governor at HMP Wealstun commented “We are proud to be working with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and helping offenders move forward in a positive way. This is a great example of a community club reaching out to make a difference and build stronger safer families and help reduce offending. We have always been keen to sponsor this at HMP Wealstun and are fully committed to the project’s ongoing success.”

Further Advice

For advice and support for those suffering domestic abuse, visit the West Yorkshire Police website on the link below

For people in abusive relationships, the Coronavirus situation may make things worse – there are already reports of a rise in the number of those in difficulty. For support on looking after your mental health  CLICK HERE