What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence refers to “any incident of violence or abuse between people who have a relationship, or have had one in the past.”* These devastating acts can occur in any type of relationship or between family members.
According to Women’s Aid, “one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”" target="_blank">*
This is a shocking figure, so if you’re interested in helping people who have been affected, there are plenty of positions you could pursue in this area of social care. You’d be helping people of all ages to overcome emotional, psychological and physical abuse.
What do I need to work with victims of domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a major problem in the UK. Indeed, according to the British Crime Survey (BCS), there were almost 900,000 incidents of domestic abuse in England and Wales alone between 2013 and 2014.*
Consequently, there are many organisations consistently crying out for talented, passionate and hardworking people to provide care and support to the many women, men and children affected by domestic violence.
Most employers will be looking for candidates who have some experience of working in social care. This doesn’t have to be specific to domestic violence, but this would certainly help. Why not get involved with volunteering schemes? It could be a great starting point for getting into this line of work.
It’s important to be as compassionate and non-judgemental as possible. The service users that you will be supporting may come from many different social backgrounds and can be of any age. A lot of the people that you help won’t necessarily want your help either, so it’s important to be patient and sensitive to their individual issues.
More than anything, it’s essential to have excellent communication skills. You’ll spend a lot of your time speaking one-on-one, or over the phone, to domestic violence victims, so being able to reason with them and assess the situation is essential.
What exactly might I do to help?
The role of a social worker in this area is to offer support and advice to anyone suffering from domestic violence. A lot of the job will involve referring service users to doctors or counsellors, but you will also be working with them to help them overcome other problems, such as depression, substance misuse, self-harm and mental health issues.
There are a number of charities and organisations, where you could offer confidential advice, either over the phone or in person. You could work as a social care assistant or as a volunteer, where you would get the opportunity to offer first-line support to service users.
While this may be a very stressful and emotional environment to work in, the statistics really speak for themselves. Domestic violence is still a massive problem in the UK, so going for a career in this sector will do more good than you can imagine.