• Domestic Violence Services At Breaking Point – Tina Royles response to Polly Neate’s Comments

    December 3, 2013

    Domestic Violence Advice

    In all the major newspapers today or in their online equivalents there is the article by Polly Neate (CEO of Women’s Aid) discussing “Domestic Violence Services At Breaking Point’, there is also in the Telegraph a published ‘open letter’ from Polly Neate to the Home Secretary Theresa May raising this issue.

    Polly Neate joined Women’s Aid as their CEO in April this year (2013) and her background and experience is predominantly in Communications, and PR having been a Journalist, and editor of a Community Care Magazine  - hence Women’s Aid’s heightened presence in the media on domestic violence issues and hence the potential public way of perhaps relaying this article.

    Let’s hope such a public display of raising the issue and the petition (which appear to be the thing to do nowadays) brings in funding for the provision of ‘emergency accommodation’. Having been a former police officer who specialised in domestic violence, and who has also been a trustee for a number of Women’s Aid refuges I know only too well that there is a great need for ‘emergency accommodation’ relating to domestic violence for ALL victims regardless of gender, and I also know that funding and resources are often operating to their limits.

    My concerns however in such a public display or media frenzy is that it has the potential to send out a backward message to victims of domestic violence who are at present building up the courage to leave in the next few days, weeks or months that there is no accommodation or help for them. This in turn might prevent them from leaving and instead they remain in the domestic violence relationship, or some might decide to take another way out i.e attempting suicide.

    Let’s hope such victims are aware of the other agencies who deal with domestic violence in which they can turn to for help, support, and options around accommodation in order to make that vital step and leave the relationship.

    To see the articles please see below but here are my comments relating to the articles today

    TINA ROYLES Response to Polly Neate’s Comments:

    “Let’s make no mistake ‘for some victims who do not have a place to stay through family, they may seek the services of a refuge. Although there are many refuges within each country for women, the majority, if not all, of these are at full capacity and are running a service almost hand to mouth, with the lack of permanent funding and without the luxury of extra resources. For male victims within each country, there are a small number of refuges, but these are very limited in number and are sporadic in geographical location, so there is a need for them to seek the services of single-male hostels within their area (1)’ …‘having access to accommodation is a life saver, especially for victims of domestic violence and abuse. Without access to this, many victims are forced to stay in the violent relationship, or are placed in or offered temporary accommodation. Some victims are able to cope with being in accommodation such as refuges or hostel spaces, but for some victims they return home as they are not able to cope with the difficulties and issues this presents (2)’

    In this economic climate funding is limited, and carefully scrutinized. The government have made significant amounts of funding available (£40m ring-fenced), and have implemented new ways of working which will no doubt help in the fight against domestic violence (the roll out of Clare’s Law, Domestic Violence Protection Orders and widening the definition of domestic violence to include 16 & 17 year olds), but yes there is always more that can be done.

    It is time however that the whole ‘system’ involved in dealing with domestic violence and abuse is looked at – to look at establishing a clear overview of services available in order to put in place appropriate resources and funding and to have a clear pathway of options in order for victims to get the appropriate help and support which is needed (in emergency, and ongoing/aftercare) at the appropriate time. Its about allocating funding and resources appropriately.

    It is not just about reviewing the police (who are generally highlighted when failings occur) or reviewing any inappropriate funding for ‘emergency’ accommodation but what is needed is a review of ALL domestic violence and abuse provisions to establish what services are available, what resources are needed, defining ‘core business remits’, eliminating duplication, and looking to eradicate potential mismanagement and wastage, and to be in a position to have a clear overview and pathway to allocate appropriate funding. Its about monitoring and accountability for all agencies.

    What appears to have happened in ‘the domestic violence arena’ is that everyone is stepping on each others toes, widening their remit, and bidding for the same allocation of funding instead of focusing on ‘their core business’, so everything has got complicated and is now one big mess.

    A review should be carried out to ascertain what public money goes where within the arena of domestic violence and for what, lets stop any duplication and have a clear route map of who should do what, and a clear referral pathway.

    In my twenty plus years of working in the arena of domestic violence in a variety of remits (See below) I know that working together is the key. The culture of blame, criticism & scaremongering might get immediate short term results but it generally doesn’t help in the long term and those ultimately losing out are the victims – so let’s try to do something different – by working together; not temporarily, by lip service, technically on paper or when it suits but by genuinely working together not only in partnership but as a team.

    Perhaps an idea for the future would be the possibility of having ‘domestic violence’ frontline/operational teams in each area which work out of same premises who deal with each case together as a whole i.e which would include representatives from police, social services, health, cps, housing, refuges, outreach workers and victim support and any other agency that offers practical support that work together, not in the aftermath like the ‘MARAC’ with its limitations, but as a team from the off, who permanantly work together, and who as a whole receive financial funding – it just might be a potential solution to present shortfalls”

    My experience in the domestic violence arena is:

    Director & Psychotherapist dealing with domestic violence and also relationship difficulties
    Trainer, Educator, Media spokesperson and Author on Domestic Violence

    A copy of my  book  ‘When the Apple of Your eye is Rotten at the Core’ after its release in August 2013 has been sent to Home Secretary Theresa May, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, every Chief Constable in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and to the Police & Crime Commissioners and other Key Agency CEO’s (including Sandra Horley, Polly Neate, Ruth Sutherland, Javed Khan etc)

    I have also been a:

    • Former Police Officer who specialized in Domestic Violence.
    • Former Trustee of a number of Women’s Aid Refuges,
    • Former Chair of a Domestic Violence Partnership Forum
    • Former Community Safety Domestic Violence Officer in a Local Authority Setting
    • Former Manager of a Domestic Violence Voluntary Perpetrator Programme

    For emergency assistance or help with an incident of domestic violence please call 999, for other enquiries contact your local police station.

    For any counselling help with regards to domestic violence why not contact a counsellor or psychotherapist in your area, or contact my practice – www.selyortherapycentre.com

    For any queries relating to domestic violence, or you feel that you are not being listened to and need some signposting or guidance then why not contact me through my website www.tinaroyles.com by either sending me an email or completing the contact enquiry form.

    (1) p. 138 When the Apple of Your Eye is Rotten at the Core
    (2) p. 121 When the Apple of Your Eye is Rotten at the Core





    About Tina Royles

    Connet with me: Google+ Tina Royles is the UKs leading expert in domestic violence offering Domestic Violence Counselling, Relationship Counselling and Anger as well as Stress Management Counselling. She is one of the UK’s most qualified and experienced domestic violence experts providing consultancy and advice to those who have suffered domestic violence, are currently in violent relationships or to friends and family of those affected. Tina provides the materials and tools to manage relationship difficulties and domestic violence through awareness and education and is regularly called upon by the national and local press to provide expert comments on high profile cases. Tina Royles

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