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The Pandemic and our Digital Journey Transforming Lives in New Ways

Transforming how we work, live, reimaging a new future together with our service users and funders.

We are thankful for Comic Relief funds, which supported Aanchal’s digital journey, beginning in 2016.  We discovered new ways of engaging, consulting, researching, discovering and developing.  Much of the digital learning allowed us to invest in discovery - not necessarily forcing a product -  the end results also included discovering that what was already working, can continue working.  We don’t have to continuously change things without reason.  Or simply to do the same with a new edge, new technology.  Comic Relief also invested in forging, supporting collaborations with multiple organisations, and experience on good partnership attitudes, behaviours and attributes. Discovering, learning and celebrating together.  Standing out for Aanchal was the learning from Youth organisations, developing connections through on-line games, Deaf Women’s Organisation, raising concerns around on-line accessibility.

Tech Vs Abuse Programme supercharged Aanchal’s vision for a connected community 

The Tech Vs Abuse Programme ran from December 2019 to November 2020. It was part of an investment by Comic Relief to encourage creative digital solutions to improve the safety of people affected by abuse and improve service delivery. The funding was for digital tools and approaches at the early stages of development, which respond to design challenges. 

CAST coordinated the programme and different strands of help and support that were on offer. The highlights for Aanchal were the peer event sessions seeing inspirational work from other organisations. There is always potential in future collaboration to add value to Aanchal’s service offering. 

Aanchal’s starting point on Tech vs Abuse

Women affected by domestic abuse face multiple challenges in making long-term life decisions. In the rebuilding phase, they experience isolation, loneliness and lack of confidence due to a lack of knowledge about rights and practicalities. This can lead to increased depression and anxiety. 

Aanchal wanted to consider a digital platform for this - reducing risk, increasing wellbeing and furthering our reach to help more women. 

Tech Vs Abuse Discovery phase

In Discovery Aanchal explored what women need to rebuild their lives and attitudes around technology. 

They undertook a raft of research with participants. This included workshops, group sessions, 1-1 interviews as well as a podcast inviting feedback. They reached over 60 people.

Here’s what they learned:

  • Despite service provision, there is a reluctance to access support because of the complexity
  • Most people access support because they have reported moments of stress. They can be pushed into the system before they’re emotionally ready to take action which makes the risk of returning to the perpetrator higher
  • A single contact place and phone number makes things easier for those seeking support
  • Most women are comfortable with technology, especially with mobile phones, but they are not always aware of safeguarding issues
  • South Asian women and domestic abuse impact are different to others affected because of cultural stigmas.

User journey maps, pain points, a service map and personas from the collated data.

User needs from Discovery

Here is the overarching need which emerged in Discovery:

As a ... woman who has experienced domestic abuse 

I’d like a way to ... do things for myself like managing my bills, find work and not be alone 

So I can ... feel good about myself, be myself and be proud of myself

This need is supported by a raft of supporting needs including:

  • help to cope with stigma
  • advice on reassuring and educating children that abusive relationships are not normal
  • practical help such as dealing with bills, training, budgeting, DIY, public transport and benefits to living independently
  • help with childcare 
  • building self-confidence
  • developing a support network
  • sustaining independence
  • emotional support
Advice & advocacy
Immigration support
Knowledge and Resilience Programmes
Children and Young People Services

Supported by

We support the NHS on domestic abuse referrals.
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