A mother who survived domestic violence recommended that social workers should remember these things when working with families affected by domestic violence:
• Keep in mind that the family has already been hurt in some way so try not to add to their trauma, intervene in the most helpful and least harmful way you can.
• Plan visits well, think about where it is best to meet and to discuss matters privately. Arrange for a second worker to play with the children in a separate room if need be so that they don’t overhear difficult and distressing conversations.
• Think carefully about the language you use when writing reports – what you say and how you say it really matters to families and affects how they are viewed and the help they receive (or don’t receive) from professionals now and in the future.
• Support mothers better when there are contact disputes between parents – don’t say “it’s not up to us, it’s up to you” – it's not that simple when there is a history of domestic violence; don't forget that contact can be used to continue abuse.
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