What made you want to work supporting victims of DA?  

It was during the beginning of my degree when I met with the IDVA manager as a student. I met with her at a community event and I got chatting to her about what Next Chapter do. Back then it was CTWR and I got to do a couple of days shadowing her doing the Freedom Programme which I really enjoyed and started from there really.  

I then got my student placement with Next Chapter; it was the last placement in my degree and when I finished my degree, I went on to apply for a job and was offered the role of a Domestic Abuse Practitioner.  

 

Have you always wanted to do this?  

When I started my degree, the aim was to be a social worker, but I soon realised that actually it was within that area that I wanted to work but not directly as a social worker. I wanted to support people in a more bespoke way.  

 

What personal qualities do you think you need to do for this job?  

I think you need to be able to listen that’s really important. You need to be understanding and be able to show empathy. It can be very frustrating at times, especially when you can see the bigger picture, but it’s also important to be guided by your client and work at their pace. Building a trusting professional relationship is what supports the client to be able to disclose incidents and therefore allows you to provide a robust safety plan. 

 

What is the most inspiring thing you have seen with someone you have been supporting?  

I think it was a woman that I supported who was suffering from domestic abuse from her partner, his family and her own family. She had an arranged marriage and felt completely controlled by everybody around her. Due to her culture she wasn’t just leaving her husband, she was also leaving her family and his family. We had to work on confidence building and boundaries for her to be able to feel strong enough to leave.  

To work with her from the beginning to the end where she actually was willing to leave everybody and just go with her and the children – was very inspiring. I think that she was amazing.  

 

What was the outcome of this case?  

She left and went into a refuge; she went to the other side of the country to start a whole new life with her children. She’s getting on with her life now, but she will never be able to return to see her family or friends because in the eyes of her family she disobeyed and dishonoured the family.  

 

What would you say to your best friend if they were experiencing DA?  

I would tell them that there is loads of support out there for you. You’re not alone and you would never have to face this on your own, someone will walk beside you through the whole process of leaving. You don’t have to suffer in silence. I would tell them a story of someone I had supported with a positive ending (without naming names obviously).