Sometimes in this job you have a week that is like no other you have experienced before and for me this is an important subtle reminder that you can never make any assumptions in social work. It is also a gentle reminder that life is precious and should be treated with respect, and maybe I am growing softer with age – as this week I feel like I have been left with a hole in my heart.
Cases of domestic violence still remain very common in the work that we do, the impact this has on the children is incredibly damaging and in the worse case be life changing. Especially, if the worse case scenario happens and one of the parents is killed by the other leaving the children without their parents and no understanding why or how this could happen. Even at the lower end of domestic abuse the impact on the child\ren is still significant with often multiple home moves to avoid violent adults, school changes, emotional harm from hearing or witnessing Domestic abuse, learning behaviour that is not acceptable, physical harm.
Domestic violence is defined as
“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”
However, in order to support this Local Authorities hold a ‘MARAC’ (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference). Which is as it sounds a commitment of all the agency’s to create a risk assessment and plan to safeguard the most vulnerable women subjected to domestic violence. A meeting that lists the horrors committed and left me truly speechless and concerned by the levels of domestic violence that still takes place on a very regular occurrence.
This article shows that the levels of domestic violence is falling and why are we not celebrating this news? because like me it questions whether as a society whether we have a grip of domestic violence, that many of the stereotypes still exists looking at the history of the victim to look at reasons why they may have been attacked or could be blamed for the attack. Or more importantly because domestic violence is more commonly known that the victims involved keep quiet fearing that they will be punished for their abuse or denying the impact upon themselves.
It is positive to hear that prosecution rates are increasing and maybe because some areas are developing their multi agency approach to include opening special courts to ensure that protection is provided to the victim and alleged perpetrator. Domestic violence is not just a local problem but a global problem and can affect any family at any time and only needs to happen once for the damage to be final and tragic.
So for me this week helping one family put their lives together after their loss has been a hard challenge, both emotionally as a parent but also making the assessment of risk and keeping the child at the centre of any plans. Whilst also sensitively working with a family who are grieving at their loss, without wanting to intrude any more than necessary during an emotional time for everyone.
So if you need help and advice about Domestic violence visit the National Domestic Violence Helpline for information and guidance.
For me the issue of Domestic Violence needs to remain at the top of priorities for all professionals and should never be accepted or brushed under the carpet. Although the numbers of prosecutions are rising so are the numbers of incidents with many never being reported or recorded. With services being cut and housing issues rising, this further makes this situation difficult for many victims to report their concerns. As professionals we need to continue to work together in a multi agency approach and listen to concerns raised during our assessments even if at a very low level of concern to protect from this escalating further.
This line—“It is positive to hear that prosecution rates are increasing” made my ears perk up a little bit. I think that is an excellent thing. It is said that less than 5% of all sexual assault crimes are taken to court, and that is incredibly upsetting. A higher conviction rate sends a message.
Thank you for posting.
Domestic violence – It’s no different now than it was say 50 years are so. Maracs – a multi-agency meeting for professionals to sit and deliver a safety plan of services available to the victim, which the victim them selves are not invited to. Police – not trained to handle victims. They are trained to handle perpetrators. But those few who work in the domestic violence unit the majority are men, some are power crazed, and emphasise with the perpetrator (usually a man himself). The courts – injunctions, orders, occupation orders, non mol orders, contact orders, – in most cases. All these orders set to fail the victim and the children further. The victim in most cases looses their home, community, finances, friends and all this with children’s sadnes, worries and loses. Unrealistic contact orders. But the victim must adhere to it regardless of fear stress anxiety, coupled with leaving the children with the perpetrator. If you don’t adhere to the order, contempt of court – victim failed again.
The masters tools will not dismantle the masters house.
It is 4yrs since I left an abusive relationship of 16yrs .My liberty is priceless but the isolation has been immense .A sense of belonging is such a positive healing energy, as a lone parent with young children I felt unsupported when it came to practical help. I found sympathy disempowering, people felt sorry for me when they heard my marriage had ended, others with wisdom told me it was a gift. The last 4yrs years have been a time of growth and change, I have recently started a degree and my abuse no longer defines me. I would like to live in a society that supports survivors of domestic violence and recognises the strength and courage that it takes to rebuild a life after abuse. Is it not time that our politicians acknowledge the importance of supporting people through the transition of leaving a violent relationship and starting over? As a social work student I am interested in researching the impact that domestic abuse can have on families and how people are best supported. People that have walked this path are to be respected and supported. We have broken the cycle of dysfunction, we have given our children safe, peaceful homes to grow up in .If I achieve nothing else in this life I have achieved that and I am grateful everyday x