Responding to domestic abuse in drug and alcohol services

Photo by Jorge Salvador on Unsplash

With You’s Robin Pollard asks, how do we improve access for women experiencing domestic abuse?

“Many women have a deep distrust of services, often due to bad experiences with social services. It can mean it takes a long time to develop trust.”

For people who need support, coming to our services can be life changing. However, for some people our services are still too hard to access and this is especially true for women who have experienced domestic abuse.

At the heart of the experience of domestic abuse is fear, and this is something often experienced on a daily basis. Whether it’s fear of a partner, fear of losing a home, or fear of being stigmatised by family and friends. This is exacerbated by the reality that women with experience of domestic abuse are far more likely to be drug or alcohol dependent but are more likely to experience poorer treatment outcomes.

At With You, we’re always looking to better improve the holistic support we provide people and taking the fear out of the process of stepping forward and seeking support is a crucial step.

Though there are things we do very well, we also know there are things we can do better.

Integrating services

For women who may have had negative experiences with services before, drug and alcohol services offer an essential and critical referral route to domestic abuse services. That’s why where there is a clear need, we try to bring domestic abuse support and drug and alcohol support under one roof.

We know the value integrating these services can bring. Our new service in Redcar & Cleveland is expanding to include domestic abuse support. This new integrated model works in partnership to offer refuge to women and children fleeing domestic abuse, as well as advice and support. It will drastically improve access and engagement for women whose experience of domestic abuse and related trauma has made getting support and treatment even more challenging.

Embedding knowledge and training

Being a front-line recovery worker isn’t easy. It requires a unique skill-set which is often misunderstood and under-appreciated. In order to identify and support women with experience of domestic abuse, frontline workers need to know how to ask the right questions, in the right tone, and know what to do with the information disclosed to them.

Our recent research heard from professionals that the more they understand about a woman’s experience of trauma, the better and more appropriate the support they can provide. This results in more trusting relationships, stronger personal connections, and better opportunities to help women holistically address their problems.

To ensure we are delivering a trauma-informed service, frontline workers need to be trained not just to recognise trauma, but to understand it too. Training should address: recognising and understanding domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and adverse childhood experiences and safety planning for women experience domestic abuse.

Read the full blog post here.

DDN magazine is a free publication self-funded through advertising.

We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

This content was created by With You

We value your input. Please leave a comment, you do not need an account to do this but comments will be moderated before they are displayed...