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Co-Production Week 2023

The Voices of Lived Experience Board (VOLEB)

Co-Production in the Real World



The Voices of Lived Experience Board began its development in April 2022. The introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 directed all Local Authorities to appoint a local partnership board - the Pan-Sussex Domestic Abuse Partnership Board – and this local partnership board must ensure that the victim and survivor voice are central in decisions that are made.

The Voices of Lived Experience Board has been co-produced with its members which means everyone can have a say about how it is developed and improvements that can be made.

What VOLEB Members say... "Being part of the VOLEB has given me a voice after years of being silenced. Our Experience, knowledge and expertise in DA is valued and listened to. We want to make a difference to help shape improvements within services and make a real difference for victims.”

The members of the Voices of Lived Experience Board live across Sussex and have lived experience of domestic abuse and who are victims, survivors, and non-abusing partners. While not everybody identifies as a Victim/Survivor, this term is used within legislation to create common language and understanding. Members of the board share their views about local service provision and contribute their ideas to what works well and what improvements are needed to ensure that local services meet the needs of victims and survivors across Sussex.

What VOLEB Members say... "Co-production means investing in the voices of people with lived experience to improve people's lives and improve services. It is about valuing the expertise of people who have experience of accessing a service (or not) and include them as equal in providing different views. After all who is better placed to provide insight into what is needed than the people themselves."

The Voices of Lived Experience Board has been developed so people with lived experience of domestic abuse can participate in strategic decisions made by the Pan-Sussex Domestic Abuse Partnership Board to ensure that actions and decisions are survivor led. The Pan-Sussex Domestic Abuse Board meets every other month and is made up of key agencies and local services and delivers improvements across all agencies for victims, survivors, and witnesses of domestic abuse in Sussex.

What VOLEB Members say... “It means a lot to me to be part of the Voices of Lived Experience Board, I like being able to put my opinions and suggestions forward in a safe environment to potentially help other people and children experiencing domestic violence.”


Members of the Voices of Lived Experience Board are supported to use their experience of services and expertise to give their views. The board has a flexible approach and members take part in ways that work for them. This includes group monthly meetings, 1:1 meetings, email communication, working with topics that are a priority for the board members and complete pieces of work or ongoing projects .

What VOLEB Members say... “Being a part of VOLEB has given me a voice, when i was silenced for so long . It’s a place where we can all support each other. It’s been invaluable.”

 

Some examples of recent coproduced projects...

  • Writing and facilitating the Pan-Sussex Domestic Abuse Partnership Board Development Day.

  • Presenting at Sussex Police Training Days

  • Writing and facilitating multi-agency staff Training

  • Speaking at National Government Events online Gender Based Violence presentation

  • Reviewing and contributing to local policies.

  • Interview Panels


 

What VOLEB Members say... "I am relatively new to the VOLEB but I have so far really felt empowered by the experience. Having been involved in a relationship where I often felt not listened to and like I had no control over my life, being a part of the VOLEB has made me feel like I can change that and hopefully make a difference for someone else going through similar experiences

“VOLEB means bringing those in power out of the dark and illuminating them about things that need to improve. It is a chance to celebrate successes and encourage authorities to self-reflect, so that they can offer the most sensitive and appropriate help to each individual, every time.”
Being a part of VOLEB is still pretty new to me but so far I have felt welcomed, validated and heard. VOLEB has already given me some opportunities to explore and get involved in. I have also been signposted to other support and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my experiences knowing I will be treated with respect, dignity and kindness.”
“Trying to help and create a positive out of a very negative experience”.

The Voices of Lived Experienced Board wants to increase the number and diversity of people participating so that all demographics of Victim and Survivor voices are heard, and to include people who have had contact with services as well as members who haven’t, to ensure that commissioners and providers of services continue to improve responses to supporting victims and survivors to tackle domestic abuse.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT SARAH FLAGG – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONER – DOMESTIC ABUSE

Sarah.Flagg@eastsussex.gov.uk

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