Sector Challenge 4: Creating meaningful connections



Why the work is being done

The introduction of social distancing and isolation guidelines can be used by perpetrators of domestic abuse and sexual violence to further isolate their victims, these measures place additional practical, emotional and financial stress on families – increasing the likelihood that abuse will take place and that children will be exposed to it, and reducing opportunities for victims and their children to safely and confidentially seek support. Read more here.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and phases of lockdown in the UK organisations supporting survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence have rapidly transitioned their services online.  

The focus of this project is to explore ways of creating meaningful connections and maintaining relationships with services users who are survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence.  Lockdown and restriction on movement has meant many survivors are spending more time at home with their abusers.  Their ability to interact with and engage with services has changed with many service users preferring to connect via Live Chat rather than through a telephone or video conversation because they cannot find space to discreetly access support.
Now a service user is using multiple digital touchpoints to connect with services and organisations are finding it difficult to connect with individuals and direct them to the appropriate support.
Organisations working in this sector report that maintaining a meaningful connection with service users, which is important to provide psychological support, assess their safety and signpost to other services,  is now much more difficult.  Staff need to form relationships with service users in a different way and via online tools which they are still getting used to.
This includes exploring how digital touchpoints and tools can be used to create safe, accessible, inclusive online spaces where new connections can be made and existing relationships can be transferred online.

Problem to solve

This challenge is about prototyping approaches and solutions to help organisations working in sexual abuse and domestic violence to better understand how to create meaningful ‘connections’ with service users when working in a remote setting.

Who are the users and what do they need to do

Organisations that are finding it challenging to transfer existing relationships online and to enable meaningful connections with new and existing service users.  Particularly organisations who are supporting survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence who are experiencing trauma and are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and may not able to access services in the usual way.

Key project resources

Creating Meaningful Connections - our co design process
This is our final deck that contains detail of our co design process. There are links within this deck to all of our process assets, our protoype, process by products, weekly notes, diaries of collaborators, user research surveys, social media campaigns and a 5 minute film of our process.
Creating Meaningful Connections - well being diary protoype
Well being diary prototype. This deck is a step by step walkthrough of our well being diary and also the results from our alpha testing, where we reached 33 services users and 18 staff members
Weekly News and Views
We created this evolving document as a way of keeping close to how participants were finding the experience of collaborating through a series of workshops and additional activities. The project moved at pace and by collating feedback through an anonymous survey following key points in our journey, it meant everyone had an opportunity to have their voice heard and we were able to pause, adapt and reflect throughout this journey.
Diary of a Collaborator
Through this diary, all of the participants from the 6 charities in our cluster and also the lived experience service users who joined our process in week 6, recorded their thoughts, feelings, fears, joys, achievements, shared learning and takeaways from the project.
Creating Meaningful Connections - our 5 minute film
Here you can hear the voices of all that were involved in our process, from the start, through to the final takeaways. It is a testimony to the power of authentic co production.
The Meaningful Connections Model
A by product of our process. Along the way, we discovered such rich insights about Creating Meaningful Connections. We did not want these to be lost so we created this model. The Meaningful Connections Model is a practical toolkit to help teams identify and reflect on the constellations of service relationships whether 1-1, 1 to some, 1 to many, many to many and all the possible variations, taking into account service users, organisation-level, team, stakeholders, partners and other parties. In the model, we have 5 themes that are underpinned by Safety. Each theme has a subset of core elements to serve as a checklist for health with an overarching concept that addresses why is it important. The model can be applied from the perspective of service user, team member, team or organisation; from anywhere in the constellation or service ecosystem. We are hoping to develop this further, carry out alpha testing and socialise the model.
Social media content
This content has been used by all of our charities to spread the news about our work on Creating Meaningful Connections (each adapting to fit to their colour schemes and styles)
Prototype Survey Analysis
Here are the collated results of our protoype testing survey
Emergent Analysis from our scoping survey and user journeys
As part of our design process, the participants carried out Emergent Analysis on the data from our initial scoping survey. The worked in pairs, each taking a section of the survey data. This Miro board shows the process from raw data, to clustered data with themes emerging, onto insights. We also display the demographic information from our scoping user research. Later in the process we used this to create our user journeys, recorded here
Our insights from the survey data
This is a record of the key insights that we learnt from our initial scoping survey about Creating Meaningful Connections
Final Evaluation from our participants
Using data from our final evaluation survey and also our interviews through the process.
Participation documents - Lived experience peer designers
This is the document that we gave in advance to our service users who joined our process. The experience of the one peer designer who did not receive this document showed us how crucial detailed information is to meaningful participation
Wellness Action Plan
All participants were given this plan at the start of the process.
Digital Skills Questionnaire
All participants were given this questionnaire and we offered training where necessary. A number of our participants requested training on the Miro board.