National Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
Throughout January a number of women from the NECG and a few front line staff members from some of the Fulfilling Lives projects, were interviewed to provide information for a call for evidence on Domestic & Sexual Violence and how this interacts with multiple needs. A couple of the women involved in this research have provided their views on domestic abuse and their experience of being involved in the project. Their blogs are provided below.
Mero Hassan, Every Step of the Way, Birmingham
As a survivor of domestic abuse after suffering for many years, it severely affected my mental health. I am now passionate about helping women who are also going through domestic abuse to help them achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
The current system fails many women and this has included me in the past. The issues has been the closure and lack of funding for many women’s centres. Anawim was a full women’s centre that was thriving and helping many women. It included probation and mental health services as well as support and classes to give the women the courage and energy to move forward with their lives. It was a place where they felt safe and secure where they could talk to other women who understood them. There should be more services like this where women feel safe after going through such a terrible time
As a solution to this we need many more women’s centres with all the services in one place. We also need a national experts system that is run by experts who have been through domestic abuse and who understand what exactly what they are going through. Connected to this a buddying system would also be of benefit, which could go to police stations and court when they are prosecuting their partners. They could also go with them to the Drs etc and be with them at stressful times. The women would be able to call for help from this service as well as supporting services such as the police during that emotional time when they are reporting an incident. A 24hr phone number that is free would also be required so they can call someone just to talk if needed.This would be run by women for women and will allow women to not feel alone. This time can be the most lonely and especially for women who have had to move from another city. All women truly deserve these services instead of feeling helpless and lonely
Aisha, IF Group, Bristol
I went with Sarah to speak about [the] National Commission on Domestic Violence, I met with two ladies from FL Birmingham [and one from South East Fulfilling Lives]. We spoke about what can be done to promote information about domestic abuse for men and women, perpetrator information, so that when someone goes into a new relationship they are able to check a database to see their partners past, to protect them. We also talked about going into schools, nurseries and surgeries. For the school we want to get across the message that it OK to talk about domestic abuse, domestic violence is not only physical, it is mental, emotional and financial, it’s important to get that message across to the wider public, if it was possible it would be great to get this definition written in legislation. Speaking about it is only way you can get the help that you really need, you can help the perpetrator too. It is not about covering it up as most women do, and still suffer in silence as we know some women die as a result of abusive relationships, this has to stop. The police should also have more training of how to intervene and how to detect the signs of abusive relationships or partners and they should be able to have more power to make decisions quickly, ensuring abusive people are not left within the family home. Any man and woman that is a perpetrator should have proper training on how to deal with their violent emotions so that they can change too.
Kerry Jo, South East Fulfilling Lives
I went to a meeting in London to discuss domestic violence and the impact it had had on mental health and drugs and alcohol use. We also discussed what could be done to combat this.
One of the main things to come out of this was a need for counselling for victims and their families. Another idea was education on domestic violence in schools, colleges and universities.
I noticed from the demographics of the group that Muslim women were most vulnerable to domestic violence as three out of the four reps were Muslim and this is something that needs to be addressed.
Finally the helpline should be better advertised as none of us knew it was even available .
The evidence collated has been submitted to the AVA project, the report we provided can be found here:National Commission on DV Write Up V1.0. Mero, Aisha and Kerry Jo will next be attending the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dual Diagnosis and Complex Needs on the 12th March where the focus will be Domestic Violence and Abuse.