Aurora New Dawn wins top UK health award

Aurora award win
Posted April 18, 2023 by

Aurora New Dawn wins £40,000 award from The King’s Fund and GSK IMPACT Awards

Aurora New Dawn are incredibly proud to share that we have recently won a major national award for our work supporting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking based in Hampshire and working across England and for the Armed forces throughout the UK and abroad.

Following a rigorous selection and assessment process, we were chosen from more than 400 charities across the UK as one of the 10 winners of the 2023 GSK IMPACT Awards which are delivered in partnership with leading health and care charity The King’s Fund. Now in their 26th year, the awards are a mark of excellence in the charity sector, designed to recognise the outstanding work of small and medium sized charities working to improve people’s health and wellbeing in the UK. As one of this year’s winners, we will receive £40,000 in unrestricted funding as well as expert support and leadership development provided by The King’s Fund – support that is going to be transformational for our service and the people we support.

Supporting victims of domestic abuse | Why is the need so high?

Every 30 seconds, police across England and Wales receive a domestic abuse related call, yet research shows that less than a quarter of domestic abuse crime is reported to the police. Studies have revealed that one in four women will experience domestic violence and abuse in their lifetime and last year Hampshire Police saw a 19% increase in rates of domestic crime and incidents compared to the previous year.

Since launching in 2011, we have developed a range of innovative support services for survivors of domestic violence, including help to find housing, supporting people to obtain restraining orders, and accompanying victims to court. Last year, we supported over 2,300 people.

The Award judges were particularly impressed by our ‘DVA Police Car’ service which involves staff accompanying Hampshire police on domestic violence and abuse (DVA) call outs. The service started in East Hampshire working alongside officers attending domestic abuse incidents and has now expanded across Hampshire, with advocates based in Portsmouth, Southampton and Basingstoke. During Covid-19 lockdowns, when staff were not allowed to accompany the police, we set up our 24-7 Helpline, which now receives a high volume of calls from victims and professionals needing help, support and information.

Navigating a challenging time for charities

The award win comes at a time when many local charities find themselves working in a uniquely challenging environment. The long-term consequences of Covid and the current cost of living crisis are having a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of many local communities. Public services are under additional pressure, and charity finances have been hit hard.

Despite this, we have continued to innovate and expand our services, working in extremely difficult circumstances to target those most in need. For example, research has found men and women with military experience are over three times more likely to commit violence and abuse towards their partner and almost three times more likely to experience it than civilians.

Although Portsmouth is a major Royal Navy base, we found that we were not receiving referrals from the naval community. In 2018, we secured funding to raise awareness of DVA and stalking in the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF. We now employ advocates with a background in the Armed Forces to support any serving member of the British Army nationally and overseas affected by domestic violence, including spouses and families.

Aurora New Dawn’s public service partnerships

The Award judges noted our exemplary partnership, working across local public services, including the police, probation services and GPs, to change how frontline staff work with victims of domestic violence and stalking. Last year, we launched a unique new stalking advocacy service in the Thames Valley, the first of its kind to operate across three counties. We train frontline staff to understand the severe impact of stalking and facilitate better support to victims.

The impact of domestic violence and abuse can be long lasting, with rates of depression and suicide much higher amongst survivors. To support people with long-term effects, the team offers a ten-week therapeutic group programme, ‘Athena’ to support survivors to recover from the psychological effects of abuse by increasing self-esteem, improving the understanding of the dynamics of abuse and helping to prevent further abuse. We also run bespoke versions of this for women in prison, sexual violence survivors and for South Asian women, who are the largest ethnic minority community in Hampshire.

Katie Pinnock, Director, UK Charitable Partnerships at GSK, said: “Aurora New Dawn is a creative charity and should be commended for responding to gaps in services, such as poor take up of domestic violence support in the Armed Forces and a lack of awareness and understanding amongst frontline professionals of how to support victims of stalking. Through their impressive partnership work with the local police in Hampshire, their innovative DVA Police Car service enables victims to feel better supported. Demand for their services remains high, and the charity’s influence and reach continues to grow.”

Commenting on the award, Dr Shonagh Dillon, CEO of Aurora New Dawn said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received a GSK Impact award. We are aware of the amazing work the charitable sector does across many different areas, so to be chosen as one of the ten winners is a real honour. The funding provided to us through this award enables us to sustain and expand our services to victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and stalking. In addition to the monetary award, the benefit of working with the other winners and taking part in the leadership programme through The Kings Fund will provide us with a lasting legacy that is invaluable to organisations like ours. We are incredibly grateful to the judges and extend our thanks to them for the award.”

If you would like to support the Aurora New Dawn charity and you are able to donate you can do so here:

If you would like to support our female only group work and you are able to donate you can do so here:

Aurora’s helpline – 6pm to 9am Monday to Friday and 24hrs over the weekend 02394 216 816

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About the author

Writer in Residence

Sarah Cheverton is Aurora New Dawn's Writer in Residence and a freelance writer and researcher. As well as writing the copy for the Aurora website, Sarah works with the Aurora team on consultation responses, communications and service evaluations. She also works as a Co-Editor for feminist news site Women's Views on News.

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