The System Sucks What Victims Of Domestic Violence Want You To Know Sample


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Are you a professional working with victims of domestic violence?

Are you a victim of domestic violence fed up with your treatment by professionals?

As a professional do you understand the type of support victims of domestic violence want?

Do victims of domestic violence feel they should be treated better?

The answer is a resounding yes!

This book is based on a UK qualitative research study of the experiences of victims of domestic violence when they are subjected to social work intervention. This study presents the viewpoint of victims of domestic violence about their social workers. The participants present both positive and negative views of social workers. They describe their encounters with social workers and how they feel social workers could improve their intervention in order for it to be more beneficial.

This domestic violence research study will explain:

How Victims Of Domestic Violence Feel
What Support Victims Of Domestic Violence Want
How Professionals Can Work Effectively With Victims Of Domestic Violence
How Professionals Who Work With Victims Of Domestic Violence Can Improve Their Practice

As a survivor of domestic violence I have experienced both positive and negative encounters with professionals. My goal in conducting this research was to give victims of domestic violence a voice and for them to be able to say how they wish to be treated.

My ultimate goal in publishing this research is to give them their wish, which is to let the world know how they wish to be treated. If you ever wanted to develop a greater understanding of victims of domestic violence, read this book.
If you liked this sample chapter of "The System Sucks What Victims Of Domestic Violence Want You To Know" buy it on Amazon.

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The System Sucks What Victims Of Domestic Violence Want You To Know Sample

  1. 1. The System SucksWhat Victims of Domestic ViolenceWant You To KnowCelia JohnCopyright © 2012 by Celia JohnThe System Sucks What Victims of Domestic Violence Want You To Know isprotected by copyright of Celia John, 2012. No part may be reproduced in any formwithout the express permission of the author. Legal action will be taken againstanyone found to be infringing the author’s copyright. All rights reserved.Also by Celia JohnGet Out If You Can How To Escape An Abusive Relationship And Be HappyInside The Abuser’s Mind Be One Step Ahead Of The AbuserLove PoetryPoems For The SpiritLyrical Goddess A Collection Of
  2. 2. PrefaceThis book is based on a qualitative research study using a sample of eight womenfrom two women’s refuges. Each woman was interviewed using semi-structuredinterviews. I have quoted the exact phrases the women used during the interviews toillustrate their points and make their voices heard. Although this is a small sample Ibelieve the views of these women are relevant and are able to give us an insight intothe experiences of victims of domestic violence and how they are treated by socialservices and other support agencies when they are seeking help.It is my wish that this book will be an eye opener to professionals and other agenciesthat support victims of domestic violence. As a survivor of domestic violence myheart goes out to all women out there who suffer domestic violence on a daily basis.I hope that this research will give you a voice and let the world know how you wish tobe treated.
  3. 3. Chapter Three Research FindingsThis chapter will present the findings of the research; it begins with a profile of thesample, followed by a presentation of the themes which emerged from an analysis ofthe findings. In the interest of transparency, the voices of the respondents (presentedin italics) will be a central feature of these findings.Profile of the SampleParticipant Age No ofChildrenEthnicity Nationality CountryOf OriginEmploymentStatus1 31 1 Black African SierreLeoneUnemployed2 41 2 Black African Nigeria Unemployed3 43 1 White Bulgarian Bulgaria Unemployed4 27 1 Black British UK Unemployed5 37 2 Indian British UK Unemployed6 53 2 Black African Nigeria Unemployed7 21 2 White Romanian Romania Unemployed8 26 2 Black African Eritrea UnemployedAs the profile above shows, eight women from two women’s refuges participated inthis research. They ranged in age from 21 to 53 years old. Five of the women wereBlack, one was Indian and two were White. Two of the participants were British,whereas the rest of the participants varied in nationality. All of the participants wereunemployed and have children. This profile suggests a varied sample in terms ofage, ethnic background, and nationality. Their employment status points to theirpotential vulnerability in terms of income and job profiles.
  4. 4. The Findings of the StudyThe data generated from this research was analyzed using InterpretativePhenomenological Analysis (IPA). In accordance with IPA methodology, the themeswere extracted from the data and are composed of super-ordinate themes which arethe main themes and sub themes which reflect the super-ordinate themes (Smith etal., 2009). The super-ordinate themes are represented in the table by capital letters,followed by sub themes in lower case. Each participant has had a differentexperience of domestic violence and reason for being referred to social services.Among the themes that will be presented are the referral process and the factors thatprecipitated the referral as well as differing views on social workers. Each participanthas been given a pseudonym in order to protect their identity.EXPERIENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCEFactors that precipitated self-referral and subsequent involvement of socialservicesDeedra, aged 31, from Sierre Lione, explains that her experience of domesticviolence began when she was brought to this country by her husband:My husband married me from back home and he brought me here but since Icame here it was not good between us. He was abusing me, wasn’t letting metalk to people, controlling me, even my private life. He kept control, telling mehe is the one who brought me here and he should control everything of mylife.She recounts an incident which influenced her decision to flee:He beat me and I was holding the baby when he gave me a slap so since thatday I make up my mind that I will not bear no more. So I decided to walk out.
  5. 5. Deedra referred herself to social services in order to receive support to find housing.Agency ReferralSandra, aged 26, from Eritrea, explained that witnessing the domestic violence had:an effect on my daughter. She was making threats of harming her brother. As aresult, the refuge worker referred Sandra and her daughter to social services in orderfor them to receive support for the behavioural issues her daughter was presenting.Yvonne, aged 53, from Nigeria, reported a long history of domestic violence:I’ve got long years of domestic violence. So it has been quite horrendous andsomething that has affected my health. Yvonne kept the domestic violence hiddenfrom family and friends until: a passerby called the police. The social service gotinvolved. As a result of a neighbour calling the police, the police referred Yvonne tosocial services.Robin, aged 21, from Romania, describes her experience of domestic violence whichbegan in childhood: I grew up in a family which did not treat me well. They abusedme and I have been abused by being taken into prostitution as well. Robin’sinvolvement with social services began when she became ill at the refuge and had togo to the hospital. While she was sick a hospital social worker was assigned to her inorder to find a foster family to take care of her children while she was in the hospital.Delia, aged 41, from Nigeria, stated that the police became involved in her situationand
  6. 6. was through victim support, it was the police who called them. Thesocial workers got involved because I believe it is the police who give themmy number...Ann, aged 27, from the United Kingdom, describes the physical abuse she endured:He used to try to strangle me, suffocate me, punch me. He broke my jaw, came atme with a knife several times so it was quite nasty. Social services became involvedbecause of a child protection referral made by the hospital when she was attackedby her partner in front of her daughter.Kendra, aged 43, from Bulgaria, states that her abuse began when she came to theUK with her son to join her husband:As soon as we came here he took advantage of me being without job. He wasvery short with me with money, cut me from the travel, things like that.Kendra decided that she wanted to leave her partner when he began to abuse theirson. Subsequently, Kendra reported her husband to the police and the police madea child protection referral to social services because her son had witnessed theviolence.For Pamela, aged 37, from the United Kingdom, the abuse started happening afterher children were born:And you can see things changing like you know becoming a parent. Hewouldn’t listen to me or help me and by that time I had my second child andafter that it just got worse. He was physically abusing me from about whenmy kids were three years old.
  7. 7. Pamela initially became involved with social services when she asked herpsychologist to refer her to social services because of her son’s behavioural issues.After Pamela moved into a refuge the refuge workers referred her and her son tosocial services because they could not cope with her son’s behaviour.LACK OF PROFESSIONALISMUnprofessional ConductAmong the participants there was an overall feeling of dissatisfaction with socialservices because they felt that some social workers lacked professionalism and thisresulted in unprofessional conduct. Deedra had a unique case because as a result ofher immigration status she had no recourse to public funds which made her ineligiblefor government benefits or support. When she approached social services for help,Deedra had a traumatic experience with a social worker who was a manager. Shestates that the social worker told her:Well, social service is not responsible for people like you. We don’t have anyfund for people like you. We cannot help you. Well, let me tell you how wework. We cannot help you. Now we are going to call the Home Office. If theHome Office say they are not going to give you stay you should be ready togo back home. Yes, you should be ready to go back home. She was soaggressive as if we are quarrelling.Deedra’s encounter with social workers shows that instead of receiving the supportshe needed Deedra was terrorized by fear of being sent back to her country. Shewent on to say: I felt bad. She put fear on me. I felt disappointed. Then I start cryingthere. I said, well, now, I don’t have any help.
  8. 8. Deedra was so distraught at the treatment that she had received from social servicesthat she replied to the social worker:If you people are telling me that you are not helping me, I said it’s fine. I willgo back to my husband and maybe when he kills me then you will help withmy dead body.Deedra was feeling hopeless after this encounter with social services and felt afterthe treatment that she had received, that all she could do was go back to herhusband.When Sandra and her daughter were referred to social services by a refuge workerin order to receive support for her daughter’s behavioural issues, the social workerclosed the case without informing them. When the refuge worker tried to contact thesocial worker about the referral, the social worker refused to return messages oreven give feedback about the referral. Sandra explains one could not get through to her. She hasn’t called back. She hasn’t got back tothe messages or anything.Yvonne was put in a bed and breakfast by social services for two nights and thenreceived a call from social services explaining: we don’t have money to fund youbecause of government cuts. Yvonne was not in a state of mind to hear aboutgovernment cuts and felt that this was unprofessional behaviour because theyshould not have told her about the cuts.
  9. 9. Bad PracticeSocial workers are trained not to discriminate and to be anti-oppressive in theirapproach by empowering individuals (Oko, 2009). However, Deedra felt that she hadexperienced discrimination because of the aggressive manner in which the socialworker manager spoke to her. Deedra speaks of her feelings and states:I feel like, I was, I don’t know. There was no equality. If I was discriminated orwhat, I don’t know what I will say but I didn’t feel good at all, and the manner,the way they talk is very rude.There was another scenario of a social worker who came to the refuge and did anassessment on Sandra and her daughter. The social worker recommended thatSandra’s daughter: Needed therapy like a play group and that was the last time weheard from them.Sandra’s social worker accessed her daughter and realised that her daughterneeded therapy because of behavioural issues. However, she did not take anyaction to refer her. There was no follow up after the assessment was conducted.Similarly, Pamela wanted social services’ involvement in order to help her son whohas behavioural problems. However, the social worker did an assessment on herand her family and no follow up action was taken in the form of intervention orreferral of her son to therapy. Pamela summed up her view of social services’involvement by remarking that: They didn’t really do much.Yvonne also was dissatisfied with her involvement with social services, when shestated that there was
  10. 10. help whatsoever because all they were saying was that I have to chargethe person abusing me and go into a refuge. Then I was so naive. I didn’tknow much. I was scared as well. I was very scared because he has tried totake his own life before so he can do anything to me....Yvonne did not know anything about refuges and had not wanted to bring chargesagainst her partner for abuse. The social worker did not explain to her what a refugewas and that it would be a safe environment for her and her family. Yvonne also feltthat social services had a judgemental attitude towards her and would not help her tofind housing because of being influenced by the housing department. Yvonne wenton to say that social services was.......using housing to judge my incident, you understand. So they were notlistening to me. I had to flee to a friend’s place and stay there for six monthsand I couldn’t cope. I had to go back to the same address where I was beingabused until this day...Yvonne further explained that at.....the time I was fleeing I had bought my council flat with my husband. Hewasn’t paying the mortgage. I didn’t know where to get help from. So when Iasked for the help what they just knew was why did you buy your place withhim.....Unethical PracticeThe participants reported many examples which could be deemed asunethical practice. In Sandra’s and Pamela’s case the social worker acted unethicallybecause she promised a service and did not deliver it. Sandra remarked that: shesaid she was going to get her to do a playgroup therapy thing. And that was it.
  11. 11. When Yvonne was staying at her friend’s house she says that a social worker cameto visit. Yvonne states:I was staying on the floor. I approached social services. They came, visit theplace. They said they were going to give me the money to buy sleeping bed.They didn’t do none of the above.Deedra was staying at a refuge and needed her social worker to send her solicitorher case study with her Home Office application for indefinite leave to remain.Deedra explains that the social worker said that....she has prepared my case study which I gave her and she will put it in the post forme. I said okay and she never did that. Deedra’s refuge key worker was constantlyasking for the case study and the social worker would keep saying that she wouldsend it and then she would not send it. Finally, Deedra’s solicitor called the socialworker and asked her to send the case study to her. When Deedra finally received acopy of the case study from her solicitor, she discovered that the social worker hadwritten an untruthful case study but it was already too late for Deedra because thecase study had already been sent to Home Office by her solicitor.Deedra explains:So she sent it and when I read it, the copy that I got, she wrote things that Inever said to her. She wrote that I said I am comfortable back home. I have ajob, something which I never said.Deedra is now very upset because the case study was not a true representation ofwhat she said and she cannot understand why the social worker wrote statementsthat were incorrect and which she claimed she never said.
  12. 12. Deedra claimed that the social worker wrote:And she wrote that I am comfortable going back home. I have a job there. Ihave a relative that will support me which I never said and even put that fearon me that I even send my documents to the Home Office they will say I amokay to go back home.Now, Deedra lives in fear that because of the misrepresentation of her situation inthe case study she will not get indefinite leave to remain.LACK OF SUPPORTLack of Support for Victims of Domestic ViolenceMost of the participants complained of a lack of support from social workers. WhenYvonne was referred to social services by the police the only support she receivedfrom social services was a letter addressed to her and not the perpetrator: Theywrote that this is the first incident and if anything happens then they will take it furtherfrom there. When Yvonne approached social services on her own for help she wasadvised to: Look for a place to rent or if I have family I should move in with them.Deedra was desperate to get practical support from social services:I explained to them that I just walk out of the house without taking anything, even ifthey could help me to get some stuff from my house, for my baby. There was nohelp.
  13. 13. Lack of Support for ChildrenMany of the participants’ children have been affected by domestic violence and wantsupport from social services to manage their children’s behaviour, but they alsoreceived little or no support for their children.Sandra was deeply disappointed in her social worker because her social worker hadassumed that she was fine and even though her daughter had behavioural issuesthere was no referral for therapy:Based on one assessment with me she said that everything is fine and thereis nothing for them to be worried about even though my daughter’s beenmaking quite horrific comments about my son, about her brother.Ann also wanted her daughter to be referred to therapy because of her daughter’sbehavioural issues. Even though her daughter was actually physically violenttowards the social worker during the visit no referral was made.Ann speaks of her daughter’s behaviour towards the social worker: Yeah, she kepthitting her and she cracked her top. She was quite rough to the lady. She just kindaignored her and told her to stop. The social worker gave the following advice:She just told me to be consistent with her and her behaviour should settledown. But now my daughter needs to talk to someone because she’sconstantly talking about it. You know if they were involved and they saw hermore often maybe they’d see that yes she does need to speak to someone.When Pamela was referred to social services by her psychologist there was nointervention with her son:
  14. 14. There was no progress on how to deal with the situation. He had no angermanagement thing. Things that we need for a child, you know, if they’re introuble, they should respond quickly.Additionally, since entering a refuge Pamela and her son have been referred tosocial services by the refuge worker but there has been no action. Pamela isdisturbed by her son’s behaviour and feels social services need to act upon referralsquickly when it is urgent:I think they should act upon when the help is necessary like you know whenit’s an urgent thing, like you know my son used a weapon on me. He stranglesme. How am I supposed to handle a ten year old? Are they going to respondto me when he stabs me and then come running to the hospital?WHAT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WANTInformation and AdviceMany of the participants wanted social workers to give them advice and informationabout options concerning what they should do about their situation. Pamela spoke ofthe support that she received from her social worker:She gave me her support to move out. She gave me instructions that youknow, you can go to a refuge. I mean I wouldn’t have had a clue what arefuge was like and I couldn’t think you know.Pamela appreciated the fact that at least her social worker had given her the optionof going to a refuge. However, Pamela feels there is a lack of information aboutwhat a parent can do to support a child with behavioural issues:Social services need to find a way and tell me some of the places we can goto so he can get this help and this is with other children as well. Because we
  15. 15. parents don’t know where to go. They don’t give enough information where it’sbased, who can help you.SupportThe participants in the study highlighted the need for them to receive emotionalsupport as well as support in terms of communication and follow up. Victims ofdomestic violence need emotional support because they are going throughtremendous stress and heartache.Deedra speaks of the support she needed:At the time, you see me, you could know this person is stressed, isdevastated. So my feeling, I was thinking that going to them they would calmme down, give me courageous words but I didn’t get that from them. Insteadthey put more fear on me and so I didn’t have a good experience with themactually.Ann felt that social workers should follow up their cases and have contact in order toensure that the individual is coping. Ann spoke about the kind of contact she wantedfrom social services:I thought it would be constant. I did think there would be a follow up call or Idon’t know maybe constant contact to make sure everything’s okay or how I’mprogressing but it was just that once. So in that sense I was a little bit let downbecause I thought they were there not just for myself but for my child as well.
  16. 16. Safe EnvironmentMany of the participants’ main concerns when they were fleeing from domesticviolence was getting housing away from their partner and being safe. As a result,one participant remarked that:Whatever they want to do later they can do but make sure the family is in asafe environment.VIEW OF SOCIAL WORKERS AND SOCIAL SERVICESThe participants expressed both positive and negative views of social workers andsocial services. However, the negative views outweighed the positive views.Positive ViewsThose participants who had a positive view of social workers were those whoreceived the support that they needed to cope with their situation. Three of theparticipants had a positive view of social workers while the remaining fiveparticipants had negative views. As a result of the support she received Delia stated:I feel great. To me I feel they were really fantastic you know to me. Delia was able toreceive support to find housing: Last minute they try and find us somewhere to putour head on at night, you know me and my children. Delia also received follow upcalls from the social worker after she moved into the refuge.Robin also had a positive view of social workers because while she was ill in thehospital the social worker had arranged for a foster family to take care of herchildren. Robin spoke of her experience:
  17. 17. I feel very good because that week I was really unwell. So I think that if I didnot have the social worker, I could not manage. I feel good because I did nothave stress looking after children.In Robin’s case there was also follow up after she became well and returned to therefuge.The social worker visited her and Robin remarked:She wanted to make sure I am well enough to look after the children. And they askme if I am in need of anything.Kendra also had a positive view of social workers. Her son was assessed during achild protection investigation. She says her experience was positive because her sonwas treated well during the assessment. She stated that I was happy because theydid treat my son well which was the important thing for me.Negative ViewsHowever, the rest of the participants had negative views of social workers for avariety of reasons. Deedra felt that the social workers had treated her with a lack ofrespect because she had no recourse to public funds and states: I don’t feel goodabout them. I don’t feel good.Sandra has a negative view of social workers because they told her that her childwould be referred to play therapy and it was not done: Well, for me personally it’s likethey didn’t care. I don’t like them.
  18. 18. Yvonne feels that social services failed her because they did not provide her withhousing and she had to find a refuge on her own: So to me I feel the system failedme woefully and it failed me to the extent that I am here now.Pamela is very dissatisfied with social workers because she desperately needstherapy for her son and has not received it even though he has been referred tosocial services. Pamela expressed strong feelings about the social worker’sinvolvement:I think it’s disgusting. It is disgusting due to providing help for vulnerablepeople especially the children and the elderly. I mean at the end of the day, Ithink it’s disgusting, that you know if you can’t find out urgently your referrals.You can’t blame the child if they become in teenagers, criminals.Pamela also feels that social workers lack knowledge and training on how to handlechildren with behavioural issues:She couldn’t find out things about how he felt. That was my main thing like being asocial worker, you have training. If it’s a difficult child, how would you know howthey’re feeling, why they do this, but they don’t have no clue. They don’t have anyexperience. How can you become a social worker for children and vulnerablepeople when you have no experience or knowledge of how to approach them?
  19. 19. If you enjoyed reading this sample chapter of The System Sucks What Victims OfDomestic Violence Want You To Know it is available for sale on Amazon.Click on the link below to buy it from Amazon: System Sucks What Victims Of Domestic Violence Want You To Know is alsoavailable at www.overcomedomesticviolence.comLike us on Facebook at to expressyour feelings about domestic violenceFollow Overcome Domestic Violence on Google Plus and receive the latest updateson domestic violence books from the authorOne last thing...If you feel particularly strong about the contributions this book has made to yourunderstanding of abuse, please feel free to post a review on Amazon.
  20. 20. More Books From Celia JohnGet Out If You Can How To Escape An Abusive Relationship and Be HappyThis book explains the characteristics of an abuser and how to leave an abusiverelationship.Lyrical Goddess A Collection Of PoemsThis is a selection of poems on womanhood, nature and love.Poems For The SpiritThis is a selection of Christian inspirational poetry.Love PoetryThis is a selection of poems about the beauty of love from the first kiss to burningpassion.