My Working Day: Domestic Abuse Support Worker
I am specialist support worker for Behind Closed Doors and I provide emotional support for people who are or have experienced domestic abuse.
Before I start work, I take my two dogs out for a walk and grab some breakfast. Pre-lockdown I would have been travelling to see service unsers in their home or out in the community. Now I walk into my home office and prepare for my first call. Since the start of lockdown, I have continued to work with service users on a one-to-one basis, but now calls take place via Zoom, WhatsApp or the telephone, depending on what works for each person.
I logon to Zoom to speak to a service user who is coming to the end of their sessions with me. She is fearful about continuing the journey on her own and I give her lots of reassurance about what she has already achieved and the changes she has already made in her life. As the session closes, she tells me about what she has got out of my support ‘You have helped me to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and who I am in that’.
I make a referral to bereavement counselling for a service user I spoke to yesterday. She lost a close family member a few months ago and we talked about how accessing specific support for this would help her journey.
I telephone my next service user; they have been on our waiting list and this is their first one-to-one session. He sounds nervous and tells me that he didn’t sleep well last night. I explain what we will talk about today, we go through a needs assessment and talk about what he wants to achieve from the support. I know that I will help him to improve his self-confidence, get back to work and start living again. I book in our next session for a week later.
I take a break for lunch; I pop downstairs to watch a bit of TV and let the dogs outside for a few minutes.
I pick up a call to our office number, she’s not sure whether her relationship is abusive. I suggest she makes a referral to us, I can help her to unpick her experience and make a decision about what’s right for her.
I have been worried about my next service user since our session last week. She split-up with her ex-partner last year following years of emotional abuse and coercive control. I am helping her to understand how her ex-partner is still abusing her through issues over child contact. In the last session I suggested handovers happen away from the home – I’m looking forward to seeing how this has been working.
I call someone who has made a self-referral this morning. She was in an abusive relationship 10 years ago and has since struggled with anxiety and depression. Her GP suggested that she call us. I book her in for an initial call a few days later so that I can explain how we can support her in more detail.
It’s the end of the day, I go outside to take the dogs for a walk which helps me unwind and process what has happened today, then I’m back home to watch Pointless.