About the Salus project

The Salus Project was a pilot which ran from January 2020 until May 2021. Read the evaluation of The Salus Project here.

Funded by a grant from Homeless Link’s Ending Women’s Homelessness programme, the pilot provided essential support for young women (16 – 25 years) who were victims/survivors of domestic violence/abuse (DVA) and/or sexual violence/abuse (SVA) within 1625ip’s services.

These were young women who faced barriers to accessing existing DVA/SVA support from local specialist services. In addition to the direct 1:1 support provided to 23 young women over the life of the project, over a 100 further young women benefitted indirectly from expert coaching support around DVA/SVA being provided to their keyworker.

In addition to the direct work with young women, the project also delivered youth focused inter agency training in responding to homelessness, domestic violence and abuse, and sexual violence and abuse. The project was led by 1625ip, in partnership with SARSAS and Julian House.


This pilot was funded by a grant specifically for working with women, and so our findings are focused on this group. We recognise however that DVA and SVA are experienced by all genders, and that the need for a trauma informed and person centred approach is equally important for all those who require this support. 


Our experience working with young people and talking with our local partners suggested that although a significant number of young people experience DVA/SVA, far fewer engage with specialist support for these issues. During our work with young women on the Salus Project, a number of themes emerged concerning barriers to seeking support: 

Feedback from F4M project workers and from the project psychologist suggests that these additional support mechanisms were valued and well utilised. Clinical supervision assisted in removing blocks and barriers which arose in casework, and helped staff to process the stress and anxiety caused by dealing with the case. Some of this stress and anxiety arose from exposure to traumatised young people. Some of it arose from challenges presented by other professionals. In one case, the team formulation process uncovered some dangerous practice in an external agency. The F4M project worker was able to quickly access an ad hoc clinical supervision session in order to discuss her concerns, and, following input from the psychologist, the case was referred to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer).

making contact

Young people who are homeless or vulnerably housed find it challenging to manage appointments consistently. Inconsistent living arrangements, lack of access to a phone or internet, or lack of privacy can all make this harder. Due to high demand, many services cannot follow up missed appointments or calls and will close the case if a young person doesn’t turn up or keep in contact

We offered young women choices about when and where they met with us and adopted a persistent approach to engagement. We took time to find out how young women felt most comfortable communicating, and in some cases provided basic phones to those who didn’t have access to one. When meetings were missed, we exercised curiosity about why, and worked with the young women to overcome the barriers they were experiencing. 


Sometimes, physically abusive or controlling behaviour is or has been so common in the lives of young people that they do not recognise it as abuse. They may be in a relationship and be aware it is making them unhappy but would not recognise their experience as ‘domestic violence’ or ‘sexual abuse’. They are therefore unlikely to reach out for support to organisations that use these terms to describe their support services. 

Our Wellbeing Coach worked closely with colleagues in our housing, support and participation services to identify cases of concern. Support was then introduced using language which related to what we understood of the young person’s experience – we discovered there was no ‘one size fits all’ job title to describe the support effectively so we didn’t get hung up on this.


Due to the high number of people trying to access support for DVA/SVA, many services can only accept referrals from people who have a clearly identifiable practical need or are at a point of crisis. For many young women who come into our services, their past experience of violence and abuse has a very current impact on their behaviour and ability to manage their independence, but they would not be classed as being currently at risk.

A trauma informed approach recognises that past experiences have an impact on the present. We accepted referrals from any young woman who was experiencing or had experienced DVA or SVA. Emotional support can be the first step towards breaking the cycle of abuse and low self-esteem. 


We are grateful to our partners in the Salus project, Next Link, SARSAS and Julian House, for their generous sharing of resources, time and expertise.