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How often do you encounter DVA in your work?

In this video, we ask our expert practitioners how often they come into contact with victims of DVA.
In Sheffield, there are around 580,000 people. And last year, 12 and 1/2 thousand incidents of domestic abuse were reported to the police. So we think there’s at least 21,000 people affected by domestic abuse every year because not everyone reports to the police. But it might be higher than that because the national data recording around domestic abuse is based on estimates rather than fact. It’s based on the Crime Survey of England and Wales. And at the moment, the Crime Survey of England and Wales only records domestic abuse between the age range of 16 and 59. I work two days a week. And I would say, with GP patients, I see more than most GPs.
And I would see at least one or two each day. And that would be people who’ve told me they’re experiencing domestic abuse. There may be ones that haven’t yet disclosed. People with depression or chronic pain, the underlying reason for not coping or not managing with their symptoms may well be stress at home or domestic abuse. But they haven’t yet identified all their symptoms to be related to that. So I think it’s quite a close majority probably. But that is probably part of my practice population and the people that self-selected to see myself. But I think when we’ve done local studies, it’s been a good 10%, so at least one, two, three a day per clinic.
I come across instances of domestic violence very, very frequently in the work that I do. I think that it depends on the kinds of issues that people are presenting with. So it’s quite common that people with problems with post-traumatic stress might have kind of domestic violence and stuff in their backgrounds or things like depression. It comes up quite a lot. I’d say more often than not, I probably see people who have a history of a abusive relationships or things like that. But there are situations where it’s a current problem for people as well. Everyday without a shadow of a doubt, we deal with domestic abuse. They can range from someone in immediate danger, where there’s physical injury.
They can range from someone who has finally plucked up the courage to get in touch with the police. And they can also come from what we call third parties. So whether it may be a doctor - I know we’re talking about health care professionals - family members, children, other associates as such, that are voicing concerns for someone who may be a victim of a domestic abuse. Again, whether that be financial abuse, sexual abuse, violence, physical injury, and things like that. And we attend all of them. Once there’s a call, that call will stay in our system. And it will be attended at some point, regardless of whether the person we class as a victim wants us to or not.
We will go out and speak to them face-to-face. In my experience as a child protection and social worker, what I’ve found was that probably eight out of 10 referrals into social care would come in with domestic violence and abuse as part of the referral. Whatever the other information was, there would be that there. If it wasn’t, then quite often you’d go out to a house, and you’d get a sneaky suspicion there was domestic violence there. It’s so prevalent. I think we understand the amount of domestic violence in society a lot better now than in previous decades. But the overall numbers are still shocking.
And it’s that issue of even a slight reduction in numbers of domestic violence offences committed in a single year, even a slight reduction could in real terms mean tens or hundreds of thousands less violent crimes against people. Because so great is the overall number, with more than a million offences committed against women by men every year, for example, in England and Wales alone, not even thinking about Scotland and Northern Ireland. So there are fluctuations every year in the amount of estimated domestic violence perpetrated against women and men, and against children as well as adults.
But the issue might well be that there is less, if you like, resolution of those crimes because the Crown Prosecution Service, the ability with which they can prosecute offences will fluctuate year on year and depends on funding because their work is ultimately supported by the investigative work of the police, whose funding has taken large hits in the last decade or so of austerity. And I think we’re only really starting to see a public acknowledgment of that.

As we discovered in the previous step, domestic violence and abuse is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.

To try to put this into context, we asked our expert practitioners how often they come into contact with victims of DVA.

What do you think?

Does this reflect your own experience?
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Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence

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