Domestic abuse projects funded by Vision Foundation revealed
Since the release of The Unseen report, in October 2022, Vision Foundation has invested £200,000 in projects to raise awareness and support visually impaired people experiencing domestic violence
15 June 2023
One in 12
visually impaired people in the UK is a victim of domestic abuse
The Unseen report revealed that while one in 12 visually impaired people in the UK is a victim of domestic abuse, fewer than one in five domestic abuse professionals have had specialist training to support visually impaired victims or survivors.
As a result, Vision Foundation made a commitment to invest in awareness and support in this area.
The projectsThe initiatives benefiting from the charity’s £200,000 investment include training for frontline community centre staff and volunteers to spot the signs of abuse early, and a new audio drama that it hopes will raise awareness about how domestic violence uniquely affects the visually impaired community.
A project with domestic abuse charity, Refuge, is working to upskill staff via specialist training, and is creating resources for those working in Refuge’s accommodation.
The work has been co-designed with sight loss organisation, BlindAid, whose staff will in turn receive training on domestic abuse via Refuge.
Refuge will also work with Extant, a performing arts company made up of visually impaired members, to create an audio drama about the impact of domestic violence on the community.
visually impaired people in the UK are a victim of domestic abuse
The partnership has been designed to put recommendations made in The Unseen report into practice, responding to the specific needs of visually impaired domestic abuse victims and survivors and removing barriers to accessing support.
It aims to support blind and partially sighted adults across the UK, by increasing awareness of domestic abuse and the routes to available support through an awareness campaign on RNIB Connect Radio.
It will also train counsellors about domestic violence and abuse, allowing them to provide more effective support to their visually impaired clients.
Child to Parent Abuse (CPA) is also a theme of Vision Foundation’s investment. The charity Parental Education Growth Support will use the funding it has received to research the best platforms by which to raise awareness of CPA, with the aim of better supporting blind and partially sighted parents in England and Wales who are experiencing this form of abuse
Local supportOn a local level, 15 staff members at Sight for Surrey will be trained on domestic violence and policy development.
Staff and volunteers at south London community centre, Time and Talents, will receive training to help them spot signs of abuse early and support service users to access relevant local support.
In the West Midlands, sight loss charity, the Beacon Centre, will receive assistance in developing its Accessible Support Network, which aims to remove the barriers caused by sight loss in accessing help, improve the support offered to current victims and survivors, and give more people the confidence to access help in future.
The work will be facilitated in partnership with Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, a local community housing provider and domestic abuse specialist.
Aside from funding these projects, Vision Foundation has also been working to influence policy in the area of domestic abuse and visual impairment since the release of The Unseen report.
The Crown Prosecution Service has commissioned the charity to recommend changes that would allow court proceedings to be shared in accessible formats, allowing easier access to justice for visually impaired people who have taken their abusers to court – an issue that was flagged in the report.
Vision Foundation, alongside SafeLives, also presented findings from The Unseen at the Metropolitan Police’s Domestic Abuse Spring Conference, while Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Partnership has used the report to further develop its training and materials for domestic violence survivors.
Keith Valentine, CEO of the newly merged Vision Foundation and Fight for Sight, said that the charity’s work since October 2022 “is just the start of the transformation” that they envisage for the future.
“The Unseen report revealed that we are a long way from providing blind and partially sighted victims of domestic abuse with the support and safety they desperately need,” Valentine added.
Vision Foundation merged with sight loss charity Fight for Sight in April 2023.