A Day in the Life of A Domestic Abuse Specialist
As we continue to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse issues across the world during the 16 Days of Activism, we are sharing some real-life stories by members of the Calan DVS team. This time we have been speaking to Karen Lewis, a domestic abuse specialist at our Neath-based One Stop Shop.
Here’s what Karen says:
My role involves supporting victims of domestic abuse in the community. I work from the One Stop Shop within the community of Neath Town centre where members of the public, male and female, can walk in and receive support and advice if they are experiencing domestic abuse. I discuss with them their options to ensure their safety, signpost them to other relevant agencies as appropriate and generally ensure they are getting the support they need.
This support to services users continues within the community after an initial assessment of their required support needs, including liaising with relevant agencies with/and on behalf of the client as necessary. I also work on a rota to cover 24-hour on call support for the Live Fear free helpline.
Another part of my role is to facilitate and deliver programmes to services users such as the Freedom and Recovery Toolkit programmes.
On a typical day, my time is taken up speaking with service users and building trusting relationships as well as liaising with agencies such as the police, solicitors, housing departments, social workers and any other agencies depending on the service user’s needs.
What I most enjoy about my job is engaging with service users and ensuring all tasks have been completed for their safety. It’s a hugely rewarding to see service users have the opportunity to build their self-esteem and confidence by empowering them move forward in a safer environment and within healthy relationships.
Every day brings its own challenge, particularly in gaining the trust of service users who are frightened and unsure of the way forward to a safe future. It’s always great to see our service users recognise the abuse and working alongside them as they learn to understand the abuse was not their fault.