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ASK Routine Enquiry Helen Child City Operations Director LeicesterShire Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Presentation on theme: "ASK Routine Enquiry Helen Child City Operations Director LeicesterShire Citizens Advice Bureau."— Presentation transcript:

1 ASK Routine Enquiry Helen Child City Operations Director LeicesterShire Citizens Advice Bureau

2 Aims & Objectives Aim to give you an overview of the new Citizens Advice approach to Gender Violence & Abuse (GVA) What is the Citizens Advice involvement with GVA What is the ASK Routine Enquiry (ASK RE) approach Why have we adopted this approach What are the benefits for clients, staff & volunteers, and funders of ASK RE

3 About Citizens Advice Citizens Advice Structured as a membership organisation, with a two tier structure Citizens Advice The national body which, through the training, information systems and operational support it provides, equips bureaux to deliver the highest quality advice to their local residents. In turn, client evidence submitted by bureaux alerts Citizens Advice to widespread problems that require action at a national level Bureaux Each bureaux is a local independent charity, responsible for their own finances (including sink or swim fundraising) and the provision of local services. We all share the aims of providing information and advice to those who need it, and influencing the policies and procedures that effect people’s lives. All bureaux deliver free (at the point of use), confidential, independent and impartial advice and information

4 About Citizens Advice LeicesterShire Citizens Advice Bureau Covering Leicester (3 rd floor, 60 Charles Street) Blaby, Oadby & Wigston, Hinckley, North West Leicestershire, Melton, Harborough (Market Harborough & Lutterworth) Contact centre – based in Leicester but taking calls across the county (including Charnwood) – – Monday to Friday 10-4 Specialist money advice & Macmillan project ( ) Last financial year we helped 28,000 people

5 What are we known for?

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7 Leicester Enquiry Areas

8 What about GVA? There has always been some reporting of GVA to bureaux Clients specifically seeking our help “I need help … I need to get out” Where the GVA is revealed in dealing with the issue the client presented with “I need advice about divorce because …..” Where we identify GVA as a result of working with a client “Is there is something you aren’t telling me about your debts …?” But we realise this approach will miss a lot of people: In the last 9 months 38 issues in relation to GVA were recorded by LeicesterShire CAB, out of a total of 15,258 (0.2%) So Citizens Advice are adopting a new approach: ASK RE

9 What is ASK RE? Asking every client with a debt or benefits ( and some housing- pilot only) problem about Gender Violence and Abuse (GVA) Domestic abuse Stalking Forced Marriage FGM Trafficking Rape/sexual assault (outside intimate partner relations) ‘Honour-based’ violence 3 steps How and when to ask How to respond and acknowledge in an empowering way How to advise (including risk assessment, options, and action) “We ask everyone this…” “Is this something you would feel comfortable discussing at home?”

10 What is ASK RE? Piloted with nine bureaux in England and Wales Size Rural / urban / suburban Client socio-economic base and demographics Previous experience of GVA Relationship with local specialist agencies (where these existed) Mix of housing and debt problems – benefits added at bureaux’ request 5 ASKed women, 4 women and men Supported by Training by AVA (1 day advisers, 2 days supervisors) Detailed process and guidance Quick reference process flowchart and advice options charts Improved Advisernet content National project manager and independent evaluation

11 Why ASK? 1.34 million women clients 2012/13 Client need and our duty of care: “They are in our waiting rooms – the victims and perpetrators” 0.8% (11,000) disclosed GVA without ASK 25% experience GVA in their lives 6-10% experience GVA in any given year At least 5 CABx involved with domestic homicides Also effects men, LGBT people, children, our staff and volunteers

12 Why ASK now? Decreased Legal Aid and specialist provision 33% of Local Authorities no specialist pre-recession 70 non-refuge specialist services lost since 2010 Bureaux positioning and funding Working with, not against, specialist provision Service Modernisation Citizens Advice are reviewing delivery models nationally Service sustainability Make sure we are meeting the needs of the most vulnerable Help us to deliver better, more sustainable outcomes for clients : “They are in our waiting rooms – the victims and perpetrators” “Advisers know it’s happening but don’t know what to do. It’s a weight on their shoulders”

13 Outcomes and learning Pilot evaluation found “ASK project outcomes were overwhelmingly positive” “The ASK project was wholly endorsed by the pilot bureaux… [who were] of one voice that routine enquiry should be rolled out nationally” Evaluation recommends national roll out of ASK RE “Routine enquiry should be integral to what we do and relevant to all enquiry areas”

14 Outcomes and learning Impact on clients Significant increase in disclosure, from 0.8% to 27% 7% current GVA 9 clients at serious immediate risk and appropriate action taken 20% past GVA. In some cases this had direct relevance to their presenting problem and/or to their ability to self-help Majority find RE acceptable Of 413 clients ASKed, only 6 (1.4%) declined to answer, there were no complaints “It was fine to be asked… I think it’s a good idea that everybody is asked”

15 Outcomes and learning Impact on clients: case study Client A non-national single parent with a small child. Section 21 notice (notice to quit her home) with her former partner’s name on it. Partner living abroad, his family stalking her, fearful they would abduct her child ASK pilot CAB Made arrangements for her to live thirty miles away to protect them from her former partner’s family. Challenged and reversed incorrect decision about not being entitled to housing benefit due to her immigration status Made successful application for special leave for her to remain in the UK

16 Outcomes and learning Impact on bureaux Advisers’ concerns - about clients being offended, not knowing how to deal with disclosures, lack of time - reduced significantly. “It’s valuable, important, glad I’m part of the project. I didn’t feel like that beforehand, was reticent initially.” Bureaux were surprised how comfortable clients were. Clients “were very happy, gave positive feedback, very grateful that we cared enough to ask; no-one was offended or not happy.” Adviser confidence grew once they’d seen how easy and effective RE was. “We already ask lots of difficult questions... about alcohol intake; client difficulties in using the toilet; how did you get into debt? Similar to getting used to RE.” ASK improved relationships and partnerships with specialist agencies

17 Outcomes and learning Bureaux learning Experiences of GVA are likely to be a prime factor and/or exacerbate clients’ problems “If we can help with that [GVA], the key issue, it’s easier to solve their other problems” ASK RE enables staff to provide the most relevant information and advice options and victims/survivors “We can provide more tailored advice if it’s known what’s going on” Increased adviser confidence and capability in other advice areas Training, supervision and leadership are key

18 Phased rollout National Citizens Advice leadership agreement to make ASK RE mandatory within the advice process across the service, in a phased way that builds engagement, capability and confidence and is sensible and flexible: To start with ASK RE in debt and benefits enquiries in face-to-face contacts only on a voluntary basis in y1- early adopters LeicesterShire CAB to be an early adopter bureau Mandatory from y2 in phased way over three years Testing using ASK RE with phones and all enquiry areas Then expanding ASK RE as appropriate. Alongside ASK RE to begin the process of scoping a major campaign on GVA

19 ASK RE Process 1.When & what to ask “As part of what we do, we ask all clients with a debt or benefit enquiry this question……” OR “This is a question we ask everybody ….” “Have you been hurt or frightened by your partner, a family member or someone you know-it could be some time ago, or happening now.” 2. Hearing Disclosure and initial response: -Listen and validate any disclosure 3. Explore problem and deal with emergencies - immediate safety - adult/child safeguarding 4. Advise on options - referral for appropriate support 5. Ending RE process - acknowledge disclosure, deal with presenting enquiry

20 Summary We believe ASK RE will: -Increase disclosure of GVA and enable more people to get appropriate help & support - Enable us to give better advice and assistance to individuals - Help Citizens Advice nationally and locally build links with specialist service providers The best thing about volunteering at my bureau is being able to help those who didn’t know where else to turn to.

21 Further information Contact Helen Child Contact centre: (Monday to Friday 10-4) Macmillan advice: The best thing about volunteering at my bureau is being able to help those who didn’t know where else to turn to.


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