Timeline of Eve activities, primarily for About Us page

1981 – Our Story Begins

NVCFR started a mums’ and tots’ group at Standens Barn Youth House.  Although it was never publicised as being for any specific group of women and children, it mainly attracted families experiencing family violence.  Attendances were good and many families were assisted over a number of years.  

1984 – Our first refuge is opened…

In April 1984 NVCFR was able to open a refuge for three families on the Wellingborough Road in a house that had been purchased for renovation at our request by Leamington Spa Housing Association.  The good news was that the rent we had to pay was £15 per week; the bad news was that no funds were available for renovation, or to deal with the dry rot.

It was also in 1984 that our 24 hour helpline was developed to offer support 24/7 for our women in refuge as well as to women who were escaping domestic abuse from across the country.

1987- Refuge is renovated and extended

The refuge was fully renovated in 1987 and was then able to accommodate five families.  NVCFR kept this refuge until July 2014, when in compliance with NCC Commissioners decision to reduce the number of refuge spaces in the county, we decommissioned the house.

1991 – First purpose-built refuge for women and children in the country

In October 1991 NVCFR opened the first purpose-built refuge in the country.  As is often the case the site was small, added to which the planners requirement for a car park left no space for an outdoor play area.  NVCFR was able to influence the design, and a lot of small bedrooms were incorporated, rather than a few large ones.  This proved to be beneficially in accommodating single women and the much smaller family sizes in recent years, compared to those in the early years. Over time, with the acquisition of an adjoining piece of land, and extension was built to accommodate an accessible flat and two larger rooms to accommodate larger families.  This was named the Alan Harland Wing in honour of our founder and first Trustee.

1994 – Aftercare and Resettlement services born

We recognised that the support we were giving to women and children in our refuges was not enough, we needed to support them to move into their own homes, giving them the life skills they needed to manage a tenancy and live the lives they chose for themselves.  Women needed people they could trust to help them live their lives after refuge, help to furnish their homes, fill in forms, apply for benefits etc., and so our Aftercare and Resettlement services were born.  Now called Community Services with access to Therapeutic and Wellbeing support as well as specialist Group Work, we support upwards of 70 women and families a year to move on from refuge and to access our help when living in their own homes across the county.

1995 – First specialist group work programme

In 1995 we recognised that women needed to learn how to recognise potentially abusive partners and so we designed and delivered Breaking the Cycle, a programme based on the power and control wheel and the Deluth method. This programme enabled women to understand domestic abuse and how it impacted them and their families.  It was the first programme of its kind in the UK.  This style of self-help, therapeutic programme is now used across the country in supporting women and children to heal from the trauma of domestic abuse.

2002 – First dedicated Children’s support work in the country

Help for children who have fled domestic violence with their mothers has always been a high priority for us. In July 2002 another pioneering work began when we were successful in obtaining Children’s Fund funding for a School Liaison Worker to work alongside children in the classroom, helping them to cope with the transition to a new school along with their move to refuge.  The worker had access to local schools and worked alongside the teacher in the classroom for a period of time to bring some continuity and security to the children – as far as we were aware this was the only service of its kind in the country. 

Our children’s services are now much wider, working with child victims and witnesses of domestic abuse and their families to break the cycle.  Our Children and Young People’s Practitioners (CYPPs) are funded by Children in Need and other funders to deliver 1 to 1 and group support to children, young people and their families.  We work to increase self-esteem and resilience and re-build family relationships.  CYPPs work alongside mums to help them develop healthy routines for feeding, eating, sleeping and school as well as supporting those who have children on Child Protection Plans to reduce the need for professional interventions.

2006 – NVCFR purchases own building

In 2006 the organisation took a big step in the purchasing of a building to house the administration and Aftercare areas of the work under one roof, giving potential for further development of group work programme for both adults and children, and to provide a more streamlined service as an organisation. The Administration department moved in September 2006 with the Aftercare staff and service moving in December 2006 following building work (and decoration and furnishing and equipping) to provide ground floor toilets (including disabled toilet), nursery area, reception area and group work room.

Most of our support work is now run from our Women’s Centre, where services offered include Therapy, group work and wellbeing activities for women and children.

2010 – Launch of Stay Free

Other organisations were now developing specialist group work programmes of between 8 and 12 weeks.  While these were excellent in supporting women to understand domestic abuse, our service users were asked, ‘What’s next?  How do I stay free? This led us to find funding to develop our 20-week group work programme, Stay Free.  Four modules cover 5 weeks each of topics such as Maintaining Change, Emotions, Beliefs and Thinking, Safe Boundaries and Assertiveness. The programme has been developed for delivery online and is currently undergoing a review to update its important content.

2014 – Launch of Restored

2014 saw a big review of all our services.  National and international research showed us that a holistic approach to wellbeing for survivors and for families caught in violent family dynamics was and is essential. It also showed that any in depth therapeutic work is not successful within brief intervention timescales, and indeed wastes resources and diminishes hope as repeat victimisation causes further traumatisation.

This research led to the development of The Restored Programme, a holistic, person-centred, recovery programme that empowers victims of domestic violence and abuse to develop confidence, resilience and independence. This overarching programme is highly individualised, working with women and children’s identified needs we provide the Independent Development Plan that enables them to live the lives they choose.

Launch of Training Services…

2014 included development of our Training Services for professionals, volunteers and communities.  Over the years we have invested in developing our training programme, ensuring that all our training stays up to date and relevant.  Our trainers have, between them, over 40 years of experience in women’s work and domestic abuse.