Queens Award for West Kent Domestic Abuse Charity – DAVSS

DAVSS (Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service) the West Kent Domestic Abuse Charity is proud to announce Her Majesty the Queen has awarded the charity the most prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service.  

The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities

DAVSS professionally trains volunteers from the West Kent community to support men, as well as women who are experiencing domestic abuse. DAVSS clients, irrespective of the level of risk they face  are provided with practical safety advice and if required they are supported through the court processes by the volunteers. The volunteer model is highly effective, one client, who cannot be named commented:-

I feel amazing. I feel so empowered thanks to …. DAVSS. …… it is so nice to speak to someone who does not judge, who I trust with my life and who has helped me make such a massive difference in my life already”

During the last 12 months DAVSS 60 volunteers have supported over 750 clients across West Kent and answered more than 1000 calls to our helpline. In total more than 21,000 volunteer hours have been donated, equivalent to nearly £310,000 (based on the Kent average earnings rate).

Volunteers were overwhelmed when they heard news of the award. People choose to volunteer for many reasons and bring with them their experience;

  • One helpline volunteer referred to solving other people’s problems, “I love helping people who have never been believed. Working on a helpline you hear people say “you made me feel so much better”, it gives you a lot of job satisfaction. You can lift their spirits just by making them feel they are not alone, they are believed and listened to.”  
  • Another volunteer who is a Domestic Abuse Advisor & meets clients face to face commented, “….. it’s a privilege, helping them (clients) realise domestic abuse is not their fault and putting the blame where it belongs. It’s a privilege to help people move forward and enjoy the rest of their lives”
  • Sophie Newell is a social work student and DAVSS volunteer, “Volunteering for DAVSS has been the best opportunity in my life. I have learnt so much about Domestic Abuse and about myself, which I will be able to utilise in my professional life. I feel I have made a difference to people’s lives. DAVSS is such an amazing charity that is so inclusive of anyone. There are no barriers for anyone wanting to access the service”
  • Mike is also a volunteer,  “I felt I had some skills that could be used and were transferable and wanted to give back to society (…) The opportunity to work with individuals who are facing really challenging situations affecting all aspects of their lives, encouraging them and supporting them as they make the decisions about their future is a reward in itself.   Perhaps the biggest thing is seeing people flourish when they set themselves free from relationships, which are oppressive rather than supportive.   It makes me proud that the people who set up DAVSS and all those who have worked or  volunteered at any time over the last 9 years have been recognised for the contribution they have made and the people they have supported.”  

The Queens Award is not only an accolade to DAVSS selfless volunteers but also to the brave clients who ask us for help.

Henu Cummins Chief Executive of DAVSS was delighted to receive news of the award and said,  “I am in awe of our volunteers who give their own time without question. I feel honoured to work with them and delighted they have been recognised, our clients value them greatly.

Kristen Paterson, Chair of DAVSS Trustees paid tribute to the incredible commitment of volunteers, “They are so deserving of this prestigious award, without their professionalism, dedication and commitment, DAVSS could not operate.”

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