Domestic Violence Awareness Event – 12/02/2020
*Trigger warning for mentions of domestic abuse throughout this write-up*
On February 12th, 2020, WOKE held it’s first event on Domestic Violence Awareness, in collaboration with local organisation MyCWA.
MyCWA are based locally in Cheshire, and provide a range of services for victims of domestic abuse, Their work does amazing things for individuals and families who are going through or have escaped domestic abuse.
With us at the event was Dr Bethan Taylor, the Development Officer for MyCWA. She came along to speak to Keele students about a number of important topics:
- What domestic abuse is, and its different types
- What warning signs there are that you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse
- How you can offer support to someone you feel may be being abused
- How to centre victim safety
- Where you can go for help, nationally and locally
This event was a safe space, for many of us to speak freely about the experiences in our own lives. It helped us to realise through discussion just how prevalent domestic abuse is, and how different it can be from person to person.
This doesn’t come as a surprise when we consider the statistics of abuse, provided by Dr Taylor during her talk. she highlighted that 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 5 men, experience domestic abuse, as well as a quarter of lesbian and bisexual women, almost half of gay men, and 80% of trans individuals. The national statistic for 2018/19 was that 5.7% of all adults in the UK experienced abuse at some point.
Though these statistics are sobering, Dr Taylor’s talk presented us with hope. It gave us the right resources to help ourselves and our loved ones to see the signs and seek help.
Below is a summary of the key points from this talk, kindly provided by Dr Taylor.
Warning signs to spot in ourselves and others that may indicate domestic abuse:
- Becoming increasingly self-critical
- Giving up on their own opinions
- Increased stress
- Feeling of ‘dread’
- Scared of partner’s reactions
- Fear of partner
- Feeling pressure
- Feeling like they’re walking on eggshells
- Staying in more
Ways that we can safely support a victim:
- Listen and be supportive
- Avoid judgement, allow them to feel that they can speak freely
- Speak truth
- Offer childcare if you are able
- Offer a safe space if you are able, even if just for a little while
- Use the domestic violence disclosure scheme
Although this can be hard topic to talk about for many of us, having a space to acknowledge it, examine it, and think about how we can face it practically, made us feel a lot more positive by the end of the event than we did at the start.
We hope that the resources in this write-up are a good start for anyone looking for guidance. MyCWA provide a range a resources on their website, as well as contact information for those who need. There are also opportunities to volunteer with them or to donate to their cause.
As a reading resource, we recommend Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft. Although the focus of this text is on male perpetrators, the principles it provides are widely applicable and insightful.
Additionally, Dr Taylor provided us with a comprehensive list of local and national organisations that can be approached by anyone in need of help or advice. This list can be found below.
Many thanks to all who attended, and to Sophia, Monique, Laura, Fides, Ade, Raveena, Amy, and Zakiya (me!) for all the work that went into organising it. Of course, our warmest thanks to Dr Taylor for attending, and to everyone else at MyCWA who put energy into organising the event, and for everything that you do for survivors.
Where To Go For Help
Staffordshire Women’s Aid – Offer refuge, counselling and support programs for women and children
- 24 hour helpline 0300 330 5959
- Office number 0870 2700 123
New Era – Support for victims, perpetrators and children
- 0300 303 3778
- Also operate a live chat
- Perpetrator programmes: 01785 601 690
Galop – National support service for LGBT+ people
- 0800 999 5428
Men’s Advice Line – support for men experiencing domestic violence
- 0808 801 0327
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit – supports people who are trying to stop or escape a forced marriage
- 020 7008 0151
The Refugee Council – provides free advice and information to asylum seekers and refugees in UK
Immigration Advice Service
- 0333 305 9272
Asylum Aid – offers free, independent legal advice and representation to asylum seekers
- 020 7354 9264
Southall Black Sisters – supports Asian and African-Caribbean women experiencing any kind of gender based violence
- 0208 571 0800
Muslim Community Helpline – a confidential, non-judgemental listening and emotional support service for UK Muslims
- 020 8904 8193 or 020 8908 6715
Jewish Women’s Aid Helpline – a confidential, non-judgemental, listening service
- 0808 801 0500
Somalian Women’s Centre – offers advice and information for the Somali community living in and around Ealing on housing, immigration, nationality and asylum, education, employment and welfare rights
- 020 8752 1787
Shakti Women’s Aid – supports BAME women experiencing domestic violence in Scotland
- 0131 475 2399
The Kiran Project – provides a range of services for Asian women experiencing domestic violence
- 020 8558 1986
Chinese Information and Advice Centre – offers free legal advice and support including to women experiencing domestic violence
- 020 7692 3697
BAWSO – provides services and support for BAME women experiencing all forms of gender-based violence in Wales
- 0800 731 8147
JAN Trust – works to combat poverty, discrimination, abuse and social exclusion among BAME women including refugees or asylum seekers
- 0208 889 9433