New from Women’s Aid: their Nowhere to Turn report on the second year of the No Woman Turned Away (NWTA) project. This is essential reading for practitioners, especially Part 2: Response of statutory services, which looks at how Housing and Social Care respond to women and their children when they are fleeing domestic violence.
Of the 264 women surveyed, 3 pregnant women and 5 mothers with children slept rough when they were refused help. The study shows how women with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) are particularly vulnerable and are often discriminated against when they seek help.
Many of the survivors describe feeling that they are not believed; that they feel blamed and punished for the violence they have suffered or that their experiences were “played down” by professionals. The report finds that in a significant number of cases statutory services missed opportunities to help and failed in their duties to meet the needs of the women and children presenting to them.
Survivors and professionals also highlight situations where women and children were supported and they make some great suggestions for what statutory services could do to improve their response:
• Having a specialist domestic violence worker on site
• Giving women options in their own language
• Listening to survivors and understanding the courage it takes to seek help
• Better training about the gendered nature of abuse
• Focus on domestic abuse in team meetings
• Joint working with women’s services
• Better resources.
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