Earlier this month, Refuge announced that its helpline has received more than 40,000 calls and contacts since the start of lockdown. June saw a 77% increase in contacts to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and an 800% increase in website visits.

In response to COVID, Refuge launched a new ‘live chat’ function in May. The window to call for help when living with an abusive partner is ordinarily very limited. This becomes increasingly narrow when isolated with a perpetrator. Refuge identified a need to provide women experiencing domestic abuse with new ‘silent’ methods of accessing support.

Debt and Domestic Abuse – partnership working

One in five adults in the UK experience economic abuse. To  support survivors of domestic abuse in becoming debt-free, we announced our partnership with Refuge in June this year.

Together, we launched a bespoke referral partnership for survivors of domestic abuse in September 2019. Our collaboration has supported Refuge’s frontline staff to help survivors manage their income and expenditure. In turn, Refuge provided consultation on our client journey, assessing the process from a domestic abuse expert point of view.

Expert training on Debt and Domestic Abuse

Earlier this year, our training and partnership team announced the launch of our Debt and Domestic Abuse Training course. This has been developed in partnership with Nottingham-based charity, Broxtowe Women’s Project (BWP).

BWP spent months upskilling PayPlan’s partnership team on spotting the signs that someone may be in an abusive relationship and giving them the tools to be able to deal with disclosures. BWP also helped to implement a safeguarding team and policy for PayPlan clients and members of staff.

Booking now open for 2021

We received an outstanding response to the launch of the Debt and Domestic Abuse Training course from the free advice sector and commercial organisations alike. However, due to lockdown, this face-to-face course was put on hold.

Our team is pleased to announce that we are now once again taking bookings for face-to-face sessions in 2021. The course is available for advisers in charities and Citizens Advice free of charge, and attendees can claim two IMA CPD points for attending.

If you would like to find out more information, visit our training page or email partnershipsupport@payplan.com. Or if you are experiencing domestic abuse, call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.