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Panel discussion: Domestic abuse in diverse communities – services to support resilience Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid.

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Presentation on theme: "Panel discussion: Domestic abuse in diverse communities – services to support resilience Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid."— Presentation transcript:

1 Panel discussion: Domestic abuse in diverse communities – services to support resilience Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid

2 Welsh Women’s Aid Membership organisation - 26 domestic abuse services /14: supported 9,337 survivors, 2263 women in refuges All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline –2013/14: supported 27,972 callers Children Matter: coordination and training, prevention & support programme for services, schools, communities National training service- public services/housing/NGOs Champions & supporters programme Voice of local services and survivors to government

3 Domestic abuse The actual or threatened physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse of a person by their partner, family member or someone with whom there is, or has been a close relationship … Home Office definition: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional. Also relates to allowing or causing a child to witness or be at risk of witnessing domestic abuse Violence against women directed at women because they are women or that impact disproportionately on women Includes: rape and sexual violence, forced marriage, ‘honour- based’ violence, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, stalking, sexual exploitation including through prostitution/sex industry & trafficking

4 Domestic abuse is gendered Most perpetrators are men and the gender of both victim and perpetrator influences behaviour, severity of risk, and harm caused It is women across all socio-economic groups who are most likely to experience repetitive and multiple forms of abuse over their lifetime, to experience coercive control/DA, to be raped, injured or killed History of traumatic experiences increases likelihood of physical/mental ill-health, problematic substance use, homelessness, CJS involvement A resilient community is gender sensitive and trauma informed Addressing gender & intersecting inequalities must be at the heart of building resilience in people and communities Survivors report little trust & confidence in public services, & value specialist women’s / BME women’s services

5 WWA research with disabled women on domestic abuse Needs and experiences ’hard to hear’ Barriers to seeking help include –being labelled, judged, blamed –Shame and humiliation, lack of confidence and low self-esteem –Communication barriers –Services not recognising experience as abuse –Lack of support from family/friends, who normalise the abuse –Isolation, fear of being injured, killed –Dependency on abuser for vital care and support –Lack of accessible emergency (refuge) and ongoing housing –Not knowing what support is available – or not being able to access –Cumulative experience of discrimination, abuse, harassment from public/strangers sends women back to their abuser

6 “ Disabled women still live in fear of abuse on the street from strangers,– I’ve been pushed and abused and told in the street that I shouldn’t be allowed out or to leave the house because I’m disabled. There is a huge amount of discrimination against us and a lot of work to prevent violence against disabled women in public places too “ “I needed support, I was in a bad way, I was sectioned and everything after that experience of abuse, I wanted access to advocacy and support, to talking therapies, I don’t want to be given drugs and be locked up in wards just because I’ve been abused. I want human responses to human distress which recognises my experience as a woman is often different from men”

7 Public service/housing services ideally placed to respond: Ensure safer communities and reduce fear of crime Reduce costs (repairs, arrears, tenancy breach) Standardise process of identification and response Improve staff confidence in responding / support staff Improve partnerships with specialist services Build resilience and recovery in people & communities “ There is a real problem of perpetrators working within statutory systems, such as working as carers for social services... services should also never use interpreters from the same community, and they should ask women first what the most appropriate interpreter should be.” “The focus of services should be what they can offer to increase women’s safety, not to judge women’s behaviour and what she is doing or not doing in response to experiencing violence.”

8 What can housing providers do: Understand DA and its impact – training from specialist providers; Ensure all interventions prioritise safety - focus on how well strategy, policy and practice increases survivor safety, holds perpetrators to account and manages their risk / changes their behaviour & prevents future generations from using violence and abuse; Raise awareness about what DA / VAW is amongst service users; Identify survivors – assess risk/meet needs, embed in casework; Identify perpetrators–risk assess; challenge tolerance; hold to account Coordinated approach - working in collaboration with specialist services (eg co-located DA advocates from DA services in housing services – can provide women with turning point they need to change their lives) Workplace policies / procedures – employees will experience and perpetrate abuse Community prevention: VAW is not just a woman’s issue, it’s an issue for children & young people, men, families and communities

9 Questions / discussion ?

10 Diolch - Thank you Any further questions please contact Eleri Butler, CEO, Welsh Women’s Aid


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