Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse affects millions of people globally; the UK Government estimated that 2 million people suffer the abuse in England and Wales. To raise awareness of this critical public health issue, Arden University invited Heroes Rights in October to deliver an educational presentation for the National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Smith, Szymanska, and Haile (2017) express the importance of tackling domestic abuse, as every week, at least ten people die in the United Kingdom due to abuse. Domestic abuse is still a very hidden topic in society, even though stronger policies have been enforced in the last ten years. Many victims struggle to report their abuse due to stigmatisation, fear of further abuse, and fear of disbelief. Hence, the importance of raising awareness, encouraging victims to report, and re-bunk any myths of domestic abuse as anyone can be a victim of abuse, regardless of gender, sexuality, and age.

Heroes’ Rights, led by Tammi Owen, were one of the first domestic abuse intervention programs supporting male domestic abuse victims in South Wales. The organisation focuses upon delivering interventions using a non-gendered approach to ensure all victims are supported, regardless of their gender.

Tammy Owen from @heroes_wales

The session was delivered related to the module ‘Meeting the Needs of the Service User,’ exploring the importance of empowering victims to report their abuse.  The session explored how multi-agency working together they can address the victim’s multiple needs such as housing, safety, self-esteem, and rebuilding family relationships as many victims lose contact with their families due to their controlling partner.

Heroes’ Rights focused upon the importance of services working together to break the cycle of domestic abuse and encouraged the engagement of communities to support victims and the local community. By engaging the local community, people will become more familiar with the signs and risks of domestic abuse and feel encouraged to report their concerns. Over the last ten years, many healthcare services have suffered financial constraints and lost services, therefore highlighting the importance of a multi-agency approach.  The use of a multi-agency approach will reduce the burden upon one service, and strengthening working relationships between agencies, increasing support for the victim. Furthermore, there will be better communication as agencies work together with the same goal of supporting the victim to escape their abuser.

Another aspect Heroes Rights explored was the importance of listening to the community and understanding what their needs are. To understand their local needs, Heroes Rights organised meetings with 700 people in a variety of locations across South Wales and online platforms. Upon reviewing the feedback, the local community stated they wanted more family support, mental health care aftercare, a safe place to seek counselling and community engagement. Thus, leading the vision of a community support centre run by the community for the community. Therefore, victims will feel more supported within their community and feel more confident in reporting and engaging with service. 

The session was very informative and encouraged students to raise questions regarding how healthcare professionals can support victims. The session concluded on discussing further opportunities for training to enhance the student’s knowledge of domestic abuse as well as the importance of challenging stereotypes and myths of abuse.

The session was very informative and encouraged students to raise questions regarding how healthcare professionals can support victims. The session concluded on discussing further opportunities for training to enhance the student’s knowledge of domestic abuse as well as the importance of challenging stereotypes and myths of abuse.

How to support Heroes Rights

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