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					City and County of Swansea
 Social Services Department

Domestic Violence Guidelines
Contents

Preface                                                           page 1

1. Introduction                                                   page 2
The purpose of the document                                       page    2

2. Initial action in relation to reported abuse                   page 2
Reception of people/advice/information                            page    2

3. Initial contact assessments                                    page 3
Practical considerations                                          page    3
Basic information to be gathered                                  pages   3-4
Further information to be gathered                                page    4
Dealing with violence and aggression                              page    5
Receiving reports of abuse by telephone                           page    5

4.Risk Assessment                                                 page 5
Use and choice of risk assessment systems                         pages 5 - 6
Identifying serious risk to survivors –issues for consideration   page 6

5. Liaising with key agencies                                     page 6
General principles                                                page 6
The duties of the Local Authority                                 page 7
Duties in relation to confidentiality                             pages 7 - 8

6. Particular practice issues                                     page 8
Working with older people, people with learning disabilities,
people with physical disabilities and people with mental
health problems                                                   page    8
Children and unborn babies                                        pages   9 - 10
Black and ethnic minority women                                   pages   10 - 12
Working with perpetrators                                         page    12
Domestic violence and substance misuse                            page    13
Working with same sex couples                                     pages   13 - 14

7. Staff and domestic violence                                    page 15
Guidance for managers for dealing with domestic violence
involving employees                                               pages 15 - 16
Confidentiality                                                   pages 16 - 17
What to do if a Swansea Social Services employee is a
perpetrator of violence                                           page    17

8. References                                                     page 18
Appendix 1 City and County of Swansea Domestic
Violence Strategy                                                 pages 19 - 22

Appendix 2 Good practice responses to domestic violence pages 23 - 24
General principles in working with domestic violence

Appendix 3 Good practice responses to domestic violence pages 25 - 26
Outline of good interview practice

Appendix 4 Substance misuse and domestic violence                 pages 27 - 30
Information about substances and their effects                    pages 27 - 28
The relationship of substance misuse to domestic violence         pages 28 - 30
Appendix 5 Safety precautions to be considered in the
workplace                                               page   31

Appendix 6 Help and support for employees               pages 32 - 33

Appendix 7 Resource list                                pages 34 - 36
Preface

These Guidelines have been designed for use across the City and County of Swansea
Social Services Department as it is recognised that the physical, psychological and
social consequences of domestic violence have an impact on all service areas.

The group involved in drafting the Guidelines will continue to meet to monitor their
implementation and will be responsible for updating and revising as necessary and to
that end comments on the format and content are invited and should be sent to :

              Domestic Violence Monitoring Group,
              C/o Information Centre,
              Tredillion House,
              26 Uplands Crescent,
              Uplands,
              Swansea,
              SA2 0PB.

It is to be hoped that the ringbinder format will assist in ensuring subsequent revisions
are easily filed.

In addition to hard copies being distributed to each social work team the Guidelines will
be available on the Department’s intranet site.

Training relating to these Guidelines will be provided.

N.B.

(i)    The language used to refer to people who have experienced domestic violence
       has caused much debate. Following consultation with groups that work directly
       with domestic violence issues it was agreed throughout the Guidelines to use the
       term ‘survivor’ which has more positive connotations than other words or
       phrases.

(2)    Although far more women are subjected to domestic violence than men and the
       consequences are greater for them, these Guidelines should be seen as
       applicable to work with women or men.




                                                                                            1
1.    Introduction

      The purpose of the document

1.1   This guidance forms an integral part of the City and County of Swansea Social
      Services Department’s Domestic Violence Strategy and should be read in
      conjunction with that document, which can be found at appendix 1. The Domestic
      Violence Strategy provides employees of the Social Services Department with the
      overarching policy and legal framework for dealing with domestic violence during
      their day-to-day work.

1.2   The purpose of this document is to provide further and more detailed guidance for
      staff of the City and County of Swansea Social Services Department in dealing
      with domestic violence.


2.    Initial action in relation to reported abuse

      Reception of People/Advice/Information

2.1   People who have experienced domestic violence, of whatever type, and in
      whatever setting or situation, are being subjected to frightening and often
      dangerous abuse for which they are looking for solutions. It is imperative,
      therefore, that staff are aware that their response to a person reporting domestic
      violence may be crucial in ensuring that they are helped to stop the violence and
      to exercise appropriate choices about their future.

2.2   It can be particularly difficult for someone to make their first report of domestic
      violence; the initial response which someone making such a report receives can
      therefore be decisive in terms of ensuring that they remain engaged with services
      and are able to gain effective support and intervention.

2.3   Any person, irrespective of service eligibility, making a report of domestic
      violence should be offered a contact assessment and immediate advice and
      support by the receiving team. Details about the longer-term allocation of the
      case can be resolved at a later stage.

2.4   Staff should bear in mind that violence escalates in seriousness and intensity
      over time. A person is unlikely to have made the difficult decision to seek help
      unless they are experiencing violence as a continuing problem. It in therefore
      imperative that staff should take the person seriously and believe them.

2.5   Detailed guidelines for good practice in working with people who are
      experiencing domestic violence are attached at Appendices 2 and 3. Staff are
      advised to utilise the material contained therein, together with the guidance set
      out below, to help ensure a sensitive and effective response to these issues.




                                                                                          2
3.    Initial contact assessments

      Practical considerations

3.1   When a person comes into the office to discuss a report of abuse, staff should
      consider the following practical issues:

          •   Ensure that the person has an opportunity for an interview.
          •   Where relevant, try to ensure that the gender of the member of staff
              conducting the interview is appropriate.
          •   Where relevant, ensure that any language/communication issues are
              addressed.
          •   Ensure that the interview setting ensures privacy and confidentiality.
          •   Ensure that treatment for injuries is provided as soon as possible.
          •   Allow plenty of time. Do not rush or make choices for the person
          •   Ensure accurate information gathering and recording.
          •   Arrange access to a telephone and privacy for the person to use it if
              necessary.
          •   Check on police involvement, and liaise with police if appropriate.

3.2   If there are children present arrangements should be made to amuse/supervise
      them if necessary during the interview.

      Basic information to be gathered

3.3   Staff should firstly gather information about the following issues, where relevant:

         •    Is the perpetrator currently on the premises/following? Before proceeding
              any further, consider whether it is safe and appropriate to continue with
              the interview at the present time, and whether reception/security staff and
              line manager should be informed of possible difficulties. Consider
              informing the police if appropriate.
         •    Name and details of perpetrator or perpetrators.
         •    Details of any current injuries, and how and when they were sustained.
         •    Is any treatment necessary for injuries before interview can be proceeded
              with?
         •    Ensure that any injuries are recorded, and, if Health staff are involved in
              giving treatment, ensure that they record injuries appropriately.
         •    Are there any other immediate medical issues to be addressed, for
              example, is the person reporting abuse taking medication, or receiving
              prescriptions?
         •    Is there a possibility of pregnancy? If so, it might be necessary to seek
              medical attention before proceeding.
         •    Are there any animal welfare issues? Has survivor any immediate
              concerns in relation to animal/s?
         •    Is the perpetrator known to be violent to other people? Are other people
              currently at risk or likely to be at risk in the immediate future? If so,



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         •   immediate action, such as reporting to the police, may need to be taken to
             ensure the safety of others
         •   Is the individual/family known to the Department? If there are child
             care/protection issues then names, dates of birth and addresses of all
             children must be taken and the appropriate team informed immediately so
             that a discussion may be held as to how the matter will be proceeded with,
             and by whom.

      Further information to be gathered

3.4   Once the safety and practical considerations have been addressed as outlined in
      3.1 - 3.3 above, staff will also need to explore the following issues, where
      appropriate:

         •   Details of the nature and history of the abuse.
         •   Are there any factors known to increase risk?
         •   Is substance misuse an issue, for either the survivor or perpetrator?
         •   Is substance misuse a factor in increasing risk?
         •   What is the person’s situation with regard to accommodation?
         •   What is the person’s situation with regard to money/benefits?
         •   What are the person’s wishes and needs in relation to their
             accommodation?
         •   What are the person’s wishes and needs in relation to their ongoing
             support and contact with services?
         •   Are there issues of race/religion/culture which are relevant o this person’s
             situation or needs?
         •   What are the person’s wishes and needs in relation to legal issues; for
             example, do they wish to report matters to the police?
         •   Are there any issues relating to children or vulnerable adult dependents,
             for example, will anybody need to be accommodated along with the
             person, or cared for at home?
         •   What has the impact of the abuse situation been on other family
             members? Are referrals or enquiries with another team indicated?
         •   Are there any disability issues which will affect provision of
             accommodation?
         •   Will presence of animals affect choice of accommodation?
         •   Does the person have access to transport?
         •   Does the person have a named supporter who they would like to have
             informed of what is happening?
         •   What arrangements have been made with the person for ongoing support,
             for example, a follow up appointment with the same team, or
             arrangements to be made for another team to pick up referral?
         •   Ensure contact details are accurately recorded and exchanged
         •   Gain and record the person’s consent or otherwise to the sharing of
             information with other agencies.




                                                                                        4
      Dealing with violence and aggression

3.5   The Social Services Department does not expect staff to carry out or continue
      with an interview when subjected to aggressive/violent behaviour. The decision
      to interview a perpetrator will therefore normally only take place in exceptional
      circumstances, for reasons of necessity (for example, in connection with child
      protection proceedings) and when the perpetrator appears to be in a calm frame
      of mind.

3.6   If, for any reason, it is strictly necessary for staff to see the perpetrator, staff
      should:

         •   Ensure that the perpetrator is not interviewed in front of the survivor.
         •   Ensure that at least 2 members of staff are involved in the interview, and
             that other staff are aware that the interview is taking place, where, and
             when it is expected to finish, and that arrangements are made for the
             interview to be interrupted in order to check on everyone’s safety if it has
             not been concluded by the pre-arranged time.

3.7   Staff are advised to refer to the Social Services Department’s Violence and
      Aggression Policy, (1), which provides further guidance regarding dealing with
      violence and aggression.

      Receiving reports of abuse by telephone

3.8   If the contact is by telephone:

         •   Ascertain whether there is immediate danger and if so contact the police.
         •   Offer an interview and/or give information on relevant resources
         •   Check on safety of others in the house
         •   Check if police already involved
         •   Check if the person is known to the Department
         •   Ensure you give a named contact and telephone number

4.    Risk assessment

      Use and choice of risk assessment systems

4.1   Risk assessment will be a central issue in working with people reporting abuse,
      at the initial contact stage, and also during ongoing work.

4.2   The level of risk which is perceived to exist in any given situation will inevitably
      vary over time, and is also likely to change as more information becomes
      available to the practitioner during the course of their work with a survivor. It is
      vital, therefore, that risk assessments are regularly reviewed and updated so as
      to reflect an up-to-date picture of the risk inherent in the situation in question.




                                                                                             5
4.3   Each specialism within the Social Services Department has its own approach to
      risk assessment, with associated systems for measuring the type of risk which is
      pertinent to its particular area of operation. It will be often be appropriate for
      practitioners to utilise these existing tools in assessing risk. However, there are
      some particular factors which have been found to predictive of elevated risk in
      situations of domestic violence. These are reproduced below, and in addition to
      any relevant tools drawn from within their own specialism, practitioners should
      have regard to these factors when carrying out risk assessments.

      Identifying serious risk to survivors - issues for consideration

4.4   Does the perpetrator have:

         •   A history of assaults on previous partners?
         •   A criminal record of violence?
         •   A history of mental health/substance misuse problems?
         •   A history of use of weapons?

4.5   Does the survivor report:

         •   Current or previous injuries (admission to A&E visits to GP)?
         •   Attempts at strangulation (N.B., this is a common feature in domestic
             murders)?
         •   Threats of suicide by perpetrator?
         •   An escalation in assaults?
         •   Threatened or actual sexual assault?
         •   Pregnancy (some research indicates this is a high risk period when
             assaults increase)?
         •   Plans to separate (increases risk)?
         •   Disputes over custody/contact with children (increases risk)?
         •   Use of weapons?
         •   Substance abuse?

5.    Liaising with key agencies
      General principles
5.1   Current thinking indicates that effective management of domestic violence
      demands a multi-agency approach. No one agency can respond effectively to the
      many complex issues surrounding domestic violence.

5.2   In planning the relevant assessment social workers need to consider the role of
      key agencies, e.g. education department, housing department, health agencies,
      midwifery, police Women’s Aid, the probation service or any other relevant
      agency such as substance misuse agencies.




                                                                                        6
       The duties of the Local Authority

5.3    The Local Authority has a duty to make enquiries when they consider a child is
       ‘at risk of significant harm’ (2).

5.4    The Local Authority has a duty to make an assessment when there are concerns
       that a child is a “child in need” (3).

5.5    In cases of domestic abuse the local authority has a duty to assess the risk of
       significant harm to children under ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’ (4)
       and in accordance with ‘The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need
       and their Families’ (5).

5.6    Working Together to Safeguard Children states that:’ Where there is evidence of
       domestic violence, the implications for any children in the household should be
       considered, including the possibility that children may themselves be subject to
       violence or other harm’ (6).

5.7    The Local Authority also has a duty to assess concerns about vulnerable adults
       and to take appropriate steps to reduce risk.

       Duties in relation to confidentiality

5.8    The common law ‘duty of confidence’ dictates that Information held by
       professionals and agencies is subject to a legal duty of confidence. However,
       disclosure is permitted if it is necessary to safeguard a child or children.

5.9    The European Convention of Human Rights (7) enshrines in law everyone’s right
       to respect for their private and family life. This shall not be interfered with except
       in very particular circumstances, which include the prevention of crime or the
       protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

5.10   The Data Protection Act (8) states that personal information should be treated as
       confidential, and should not be disclosed, except in certain circumstances,
       including for the purposes of prevention or detection of a crime, for social work
       purposes, or where there is an order of the court or a statutory duty.

5.11   The City and County of Swansea therefore recognises its duty to protect the
       confidentiality of information supplied by service-users during their contact with
       the Social Services Department.

5.12   It is also recognised, however, that in many areas of work, including in dealing
       with domestic violence, the Social Services Department can only function
       effectively as part of a network of agencies, with complementary roles and
       functions.




                                                                                           7
5.13   It will often be necessary, therefore, for professionals working with domestic
       violence issues to exchange relevant information if they are to safeguard children
       and vulnerable adults.

5.14   Working Together to Safeguard Children states that “Wherever possible, consent
       should be obtained before sharing personal information with third parties”(9).

5.15   The Department recognises, however, that such consent is not always
       forthcoming, or may not be able to be obtained, prior to disclosure of information
       to other agencies, particularly in situations of immediate and serious risk. The
       City and County of Swansea Managing Personal Information Policy (10), and its
       associated guidance, provides staff with detailed information about this issue,
       and staff are expected to familiarise themselves with the contents of these
       documents, which provide the overarching policy and procedural framework
       relating to the Department’s expectations of staff in this area.

6.     Particular practice issues

6.1    Domestic violence should be treated in the same way, and as being of equal
       seriousness, irrespective of service area. However, there are some specialist
       considerations which arise when dealing with particular areas of practice.

       Working with older people, people with learning disabilities, people with
       physical disabilities and people with mental health problems

6.2    When working with survivors of abuse amongst these groups of service users, it
       may be necessary, at times, to consider issues of capacity and consent.

6.3    However, the principle of believing reports of abuse, should apply equally to all
       adults irrespective of their perceived capacity; for example, a person with a
       learning disability should not be assumed to be more likely to fabricate a report of
       abuse, than a person without a learning disability.

6.4    If the survivor is a vulnerable adult then consideration will have to be given to
       using the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Guidelines (11). The survivor will need
       to be offered the support and guidance outlined in section 2 (above), and
       Appendices 2 and 3.

6.5    In all other situations a contact assessment and immediate advice and support
       should be offered by the receiving team.

6.6    If a vulnerable adult is a perpetrator, an Appropriate Adult will need to be present
       during police interviews.

6.7    If the perpetrator is known to a specialist service, the care plan and risk
       assessment will need to be reviewed.




                                                                                          8
       Children and unborn babies

6.8    It is important to note that this policy also refers to assessing need and risk of
       significant harm to pregnant women and unborn babies. Where the risk of harm
       is considered to be significant then the Department has a duty to take
       appropriate action in relation to the unborn baby (12).

6.9    Current research indicates that domestic violence is under reported and that
       when agencies do intervene they normally focus attention on the survivor rather
       than the perpetrator. It is commonly understood that women will often have been
       assaulted on numerous occasions before they report an incident or seek help.

6.10   Social Services have a responsibility to assess the levels of risk and to promote
       action which reduces such risk to children in families where domestic abuse is an
       issue.

6.11   Research indicates a high correlation between domestic abuse and child abuse,
       therefore it is necessary to assess the risk presented by an individual perpetrator
       to a child in his/her care. This should be a comprehensive assessment which
       includes an analysis of risk to the emotional and psychological health of the child
       and not merely the risk of physical assault (13).

6.12 How the Social Service Department responds and what action it takes needs to
     be seriously considered from the time of the very first referral regarding domestic
     violence. In particular situations an ill thought out response can be inflammatory
     and may increase the level of risk to survivors.

6.13   Indecisive intervention is dangerous intervention and Social Services have a
       responsibility to respond in a professional and considered manner which is clear,
       coordinated and focused on the needs of the child and/or vulnerable adults. The
       Department must take account of the accumulation of concerns rather than an
       incident-based approach to the assessment of need.

6.14   Staff need to be mindful that the typical pattern of domestic violence is an
       escalating one, including after the relationship ends. What a perpetrator has
       done so far may say very little about what he is capable of doing in the future.

6.15   The model contained in the document ‘The Identification of a Child in Need and
       Prioritisation of Service Provision’ (14), indicates that three separate referrals of
       domestic abuse within a 12 month period constitutes a serious concern and an
       initial assessment, must be undertaken. This does not preclude earlier
       intervention when high-risk behaviour has been reported (e.g. severe physical
       abuse or violence to children).

6.16   The Department recognises the need to see the couple separately and will take
       reasonable steps to ensure this happens from the outset. Professionals need to
       give consideration to the arrangements to ensure this occurs. This reduces the




                                                                                            9
       risk to survivors and will also encourage more open and honest participation by
       the survivor and allow for a more realistic assessment of risk.

6.17   It is the responsibility of the social worker to collate information and analyse risk
       (this should include information held by other statutory agencies). Where an
       initial assessment identifies more complex needs a core assessment will be
       undertaken. Social workers should also be familiar with the All-Wales Child
       Protection Procedures and the Department’s Procedure for the Prioritisation of
       Children in Need (15).

6.18   The analysis of risk arrived at by the social worker completing an initial
       assessment should be incorporated into the Core Assessment (this does not
       remove the need to consider All Wales Child Protection Procedures throughout
       the process).

6.19   A plan of intervention should be put in writing and agreed by all. Regular
       reviewing of plans must be carried out and unmet needs should be recorded.

6.20   Supervision needs to provide an effective forum to analyse information and
       assess risk.

6.21   The right to confidentiality on the part of the perpetrator does not supersede
       considerations around public protection or the protection of children from
       significant harm.

6.22   When there has been non-compliance or partial compliance with a plan of work,
       the Social Services Department will need to reconsider the risk to children and
       take appropriate action to safeguard their welfare.

       Black and ethnic minority women

6.23   All women share similar experiences of violence in terms of its nature and
       content but black and ethnic minority women also have to contend with racism
       and encounter it frequently in their dealings with both statutory and voluntary
       agencies.

6.24   There may be cultural factors to consider; most Asian women, for example, have
       strong cultural expectations of a lifelong partnership, enforced by social taboos
       against leaving a husband. It is usually therefore only in very compelling
       circumstances that they are forced to end a marriage.

6.25   The stigma of being divorced or separated has very real and grave
       consequences for women in many cultures, for whom respectability, status and
       honour are all dependent on marital status.

6.26   The fear of bringing shame on themselves and the entire family will often mitigate
       against women making reports of domestic violence.




                                                                                         10
6.27   Staff are reminded of the importance of cultural and religious needs of
       individuals. Some minority ethnic women will only be comfortable talking to a
       female so one needs to mindful of this if a woman comes to the Department for
       help.

6.28   Staff should also be aware that the woman may not speak any English and an
       interpreter would therefore be needed. Make sure the woman knows whom you
       are asking to come and interpret, as the person may be known to her community
       and this would make it difficult for her to talk to this person.

6.29   Many women do not have any information or knowledge of what services may be
       available. Providing her with this information may afford her choices about what
       she wants to do.

6.30   Women with children may have concerns around child protection. It is important
       that staff are honest from the outset about their responsibilities in this matter.

6.31   A particular area of difficulty for some women is that of immigration status. The
       immigration status of black and ethnic minority women often puts them in very
       vulnerable positions and exposes them to situations of abuse.

6.32   Staff need to be aware that the situation can be particularly serious for women
       who have come to Britain to get married or live with a partner; a woman will have
       been given leave to stay for a ‘probationary’ period. If she leaves her spouse
       during this time she normally has no right to remain in the U.K.

6.33   Women in this situation are particularly vulnerable and insecure, since they are
       entirely dependent upon a violent spouse and his family, who know that if they do
       not approve of her, they may easily be able to dispense with her.

6.34   However, women who are able to prove, by way of a court conviction or similar,
       that their relationship has ended because of domestic violence, can be granted
       indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

6.35   Recent changes in immigration policy have meant that, while women are still
       encouraged to bring court proceedings in relation to violent husbands, the
       Immigration and Nationality Directorate will now accept other forms of evidence
       as ‘proof’ that violence has taken place.

6.36   The evidence which is acceptable for these purposes includes medical reports,
       police reports, and letters from Social Services or a Women’s Refuge.

6.37   Staff who are working with women where there are immigration issues will need
       to ensure that they seek advice from a specialist organisation or solicitor in order
       to ensure that the woman has access to appropriate advice, and, where relevant,
       representation.




                                                                                           11
6.38   Staff will also need to be particularly sensitive, to the power that violent men can
       have over their wives in such a situation; in particular, women may be unaware of
       their legal rights to apply for indefinite leave on the basis of violence in the
       relationship, or may find the process of ‘proving violence’ to be traumatic in itself.
       Therefore, the perceived precariousness of their immigration status can be used
       to ensure that women remain silent about the ill treatment they may receive.

       Working with perpetrators

6.39   Domestic violence is a major social issue and current thinking perceives
       domestic violence as a crime, with the criminal alone being responsible for his
       behaviour.

6.40   Violence is defined as learned and intentional behaviour. Whilst families and
       individuals may be keen to engage in therapeutic work to promote change in a
       perpetrator’s behaviour professionals need to be alert to the fact that current
       research is inconclusive in its findings regarding success rates in reducing risks
       by perpetrators.

6.41   There may be occasions when a member of staff becomes aware, during the
       course of their work with a survivor of abuse, that the perpetrator is also
       requesting, or indicating a willingness to accept, some form of help or support
       aimed at changing their behaviour.

6.42   Staff in children’s services, in particular, aim to intervene with a family on the
       basis of a holistic assessment, which includes consideration of how the whole
       family can progress in meeting the children’s needs. This may result in a
       consideration of the means which are available for a perpetrator to address their
       behaviour.

6.43   Therapeutic work aimed at changing abusive behaviour will usually best be
       provided by referral on to an agency specialising in work of this type (such as the
       Psychology Service), or by liaison with any relevant agencies which are already
       involved with the perpetrator (such as the Probation Service).

6.44   Occasionally, it may appropriate for such assistance to be provided by another
       member of staff within the Social Services Department, as part of their usual
       remit. For example, where the perpetrator has an identified mental health
       problem it may be possible for them to receive support and monitoring from a
       colleague in the Mental Health Team in relation to that problem and its
       interrelationship with their behaviour.

6.45   In general, and since the primary focus of intervention in domestic violence must
       remain on the persons at risk of abuse, it will not be advisable for a member of
       staff who is working with a survivor of abuse to also engage in work with the
       perpetrator, aimed at changing their behaviour. In the event that such a request
       is made, the options which exist for the perpetrator to access help should be
       explored by a different member of staff.




                                                                                          12
       Domestic violence and substance use.

6.46   Statistics seem to indicate that there is some connection between alcohol and
       drug use and domestic violence, but no evidence to suggest that one directly

       causes the other. However, substance misuse is known to impair judgment,
       reduce inhibition and increase aggression.

6.47   There are many types of substances that people use and each has a different
       profile in terms of its main effects. The same substance may affect different
       people in different ways and the same substance may have different
       consequences within the same individual depending on how they are feeling
       when they take it, the past experience/tolerance of the substance, the
       expectations of how the drug will affect them, their personality, the way they take
       it (smoking, swallowing, injecting, inhaling) and the amount they take.

6.48   Some research suggests 60 to 70% of domestic assailants are under the
       influence of alcohol and 13 to 20% are under the influence of drugs at the time of
       the assault.

6.49   In assessing the impact of substance misuse, practitioners will need to ascertain:

          •   Is substance misuse an issue?
          •   If so, what substances are being used?
          •   Who is using the substance(s)? In what amounts? How are they
              affected?
          •   If substance misuse is a feature of the violence, are other users present?
              Do they participate in the violence?

6.50   For those with the most difficult and complex alcohol and drug problems, it is
       likely that problematic use will continue over time. Treatment may well prolong
       periods of abstinence or controlled use but relapse, in many cases, should be
       expected.

6.51   The nature of most community services is such that many clients drop in and out
       of services according to their own needs, attitudes and behaviour. It should not
       be assumed that simply because a parent is receiving services that they are
       abstinent or even in control of their alcohol or drug use.

6.52   Nor can it be assumed that it they have dropped out of treatment that they are
       problematically using alcohol or drugs.

6.53   Further information about substance misuse is attached at Appendix 4.

       Working with same sex couples




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       6.54 The Department recognises that, during the course of its work with people
       who meet the eligibility criteria for its various services, occasions will arise when
         gay,


         lesbian or bisexual people are in need of help and support from the Department
         in relation to a range of issue, including domestic abuse.

6.55     In responding to the needs of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, the Department
         expects staff to act in a way which is consistent with the City and County of
         Swansea Equal Opportunities Policy. In particular, staff will need to be mindful of

         the following information in order to ensure a sensitive and appropriate response
         to gay, lesbian and bisexual people who are experiencing domestic abuse:

            •   It is a common assumption that domestic abuse takes place solely or
                primarily within heterosexual relationships. However, recent research has
                suggested that same-sex domestic violence is massively under-reported;
                for example, one survey found that 70% of lesbians and gay men who had
                experienced domestic violence had not reported it to the police (16).

            •   In addition to the lack of awareness of abuse within same sex
                relationships, gay, lesbian and bisexual people have little access to
                specialist services or emergency accommodation designed to meet their
                needs.

            •   In attempting to find help and support, therefore, gay, lesbian and bisexual
                people approaching services are faced with the double obstacle of
                admitting to the abuse which they are experiencing, and ‘coming out’ as
                being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

            •   Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are often discouraged from reporting
                abuse by the expectation that they will experience homophobic reactions
                from staff; this can include, for example, staff displaying ignorance,
                stereotypical notions or outright disapproval about same sex relationships.


            •   For example, one of the factors which can make it difficult for lesbian
                women to admit to and report abuse is the idea that abuse cannot be
                happening or cannot be particularly serious because women are ‘naturally’
                less violent than men.

            •   Similarly, many people hold stereotypical notions of gay men as
                ‘effeminate’ or ‘weak’, with the result that they cannot conceive of a gay
                man as being violent or abusive.

            •   It can be particularly difficult, therefore, for gay, lesbian and bisexual
                people to define what is happening to them as ‘abuse’, and to convince
                others of their need for help and support.




                                                                                               14
       •       Furthermore, gay, lesbian and bisexual people may find that their
       relationships are not recognised as being as valid or ‘serious’ as heterosexual
                 relationships; staff receiving reports of abuse may therefore not be able to
                 understand why the survivor cannot just ‘walk away’ from the situation.


            •   Abusive partners may also exercise power over the survivor by
                threatening to ‘out’ them to family, friends or colleagues if they attempt to
                leave the relationship.

            •   Furthermore, survivors who have children may fear that revealing that they
                are gay, lesbian or bisexual might result in an adverse reaction from
                childcare agencies, and the threat of losing their children.

6.56     The cumulative effect of all the above factors is to make it exceptionally difficult
         for gay, lesbian and bisexual people to admit to, report, and escape from,
         abusive situations; staff should bear this in mind when working with service
         users, and should take responsibility for improving and updating their practice in
         this area as appropriate.

7        Staff and Domestic Violence

7.1      Every employee who is experiencing or who has experienced domestic violence
         has the right to raise the issue within the Department in the knowledge that it will
         be treated effectively, sympathetically and confidentially.

7.2      While all managers must be ready to respond to direct requests for help from
         employees, or incidents of violence or abuse at work, it is more likely that the
         manager will become aware of the situation through absence monitoring or poor
         performance. As with other human resource issues, identifying that an employee
         is experiencing difficulties at an early stage can help ensure appropriate help is
         provided. This can then help enable the employee to deal with their situation
         more effectively.

         Guidance for managers for dealing with domestic violence involving
         employees

7.3      Managers need to develop a sensitive and non-judgemental approach when
         dealing with employees who have experienced domestic violence. This should
         include:

            •   Taking time to listen to the employee and taking seriously what they say.

            •   Ensuring that any discussion about the employee’s situation takes place in
                privacy and that their confidentiality is respected as far as possible (see
                also paragraphs 7.4 - 7.7, below).

            •   Understanding that the employee may not wish to approach their line
                manager and may prefer to involve a third party such as a colleague,
                human resources manager or trade union representative.




                                                                                            15
      •            If an employee does not wish to speak to their line manager, they
      should be advised of the difficulties that may arise if the manager is not aware of
              the relevant facts and circumstances (for instance if there is a potential




               health and safety issue or if other action is being taken on performance or
               absence monitoring).

           •   Being aware that there may be additional issues faced by the employee
               because of their age, gender, sexuality, ethnic background, disability etc.

           •   Being non-judgemental – the employee may need some time to decide
               what to do and may try many different options during this process.
               Research has shown that it can take a long time and be extremely difficult
               to break free of a violent relationship. It should not be assumed, therefore,
               that because an individual returns or stays in a violent relationship that the
               violence was not severe or did not take place. Research suggests that a
               woman will suffer serious assault and abuse around 35 times before she
               reports it to the police.

           •   Being aware of what support is available and exploring these options with
               the employee, for example, the Stress Management and Counselling
               Service. Relevant information about means of support is attached at
               Appendix 6.

           •   Exploring options for support may include the possibility of referral to other
               agencies. However, if the employee does not want other agencies to be
               contacted, this wish must be followed.

           •   Ensuring safety -the responsibilities of employers, employees and others
               for the health and safety of persons at work are defined by the Health and
               Safety at Work Act 1974. The Department has established guidance on
               violence at work, and the strategies outlined in the Department’s Violence
               and Aggression Policy (17) will apply to most situations of violence in the
               workplace. However, managers may have to consider additional factors if
               these incidents involve domestic violence, which are outlined at Appendix
               5.

        Confidentiality

7.4     Once an employee has confided to their manager that they are experiencing
        domestic violence, the manager should reassure them that they will keep this
        information confidential as far as possible. Managers should also refer to the
        suggestions for help and support contained in Appendix 5.

7.5     One of the exceptions to this is where child or adult protection issues could arise
        for instance, if an employee gives information that suggests that their child or
        another child or a vulnerable adult is at risk from abuse (whether physical,




                                                                                            16
       emotional, sexual or neglect). In these circumstances, the manager should inform
       the employee that they are seeking further advice from elsewhere in the
         Department and they may have to pass information on.




7.6      Managers have a duty to maintain a secure environment for all employees and
         this could be made easier if colleagues are aware of potential risks. However, it
         is essential that managers agree with the individual concerned what information
         to tell colleagues. Employees should be reminded that this information is
         confidential and any unauthorised breaches of this could be subject to
         disciplinary action being taken.

7.7      The consequences of breaching confidentiality could have serious effects for the
         person experiencing domestic violence. Statistics have shown that the risk of
         more serious assaults, permanent injury and murder takes place when a woman
         decides to leave home or immediately after. It is important, therefore, not to
         underestimate the danger or assume that the fear of violence is exaggerated.

         What to do if a Swansea Social Services employee is a perpetrator of
         violence

7.8      Employees should be aware that domestic violence is a serious matter that can
         lead to criminal convictions.

7.9      Furthermore, domestic violence is an issue which can be considered under the
         City and County of Swansea’s Disciplinary Procedures. Conduct outside work
         (whether or not it leads to a criminal conviction) can also lead to disciplinary
         action against an employee because of its employment implications and because
         it undermines the confidence the Council (as employer) has in the employee.

7.10     There should be an investigation of the facts as far as possible, a view taken and
         consideration given as to whether the conduct is sufficiently serious to warrant
         instituting the disciplinary procedures. Factors to consider will be:

                   •   The nature of the conduct; the nature of the work to be done.

                   •   The extent to which it involves contact with other employees or the
                       general public and

                   •   The status of the employee.

7.11     In addition such conduct may make certain job duties inappropriate and justify
         consideration for redeployment. For example, it may not be appropriate for a
         perpetrator of domestic violence to be providing services to vulnerable adults and
         children, and a change of duties or a transfer may need to be considered in such
         circumstances.




                                                                                         17
7.12   Similarly, proven harassment and intimidation of Social Services employees by
       their partner or ex-partner who also works for the Department will be viewed
       seriously and may lead to disciplinary action being taken.




References
1)City and County of Swansea Social Services Department Violence and Aggression
  Policy 1998.

2)The Children Act 1989.

3)The Children Act 1989.

4)Working Together to Safeguard Children, National Assembly for Wales 2000.

5)The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, National
  Assembly for Wales 2000.

6) Working Together to Safeguard Children, National Assembly for Wales 2000.

7) The Human Rights Act 1998.

8)The Data Protection Act 1998.

9) Working Together to Safeguard Children, National Assembly for Wales 2000.

10)City and County of Swansesa Social Services Department Managing Information
   Policy 1999.

11)South Wales Protection of Vulnerable Adults Guidelines 2001.

12) The Children Act 1989.

13)The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, National
   Assembly for Wales 2000.

14)The identification of Children In Need and Prioritisation of Service Provision, City and
   County of Swansea Social Services Department 2003.

15)The identification of Children In Need and Prioritisation of Service Provision, City and
   County of Swansea Social Services Department 2003.

16) Gay and Lesbian Arts and Media Survey, 2000.



                                                                                        18
       17)City and County of Swansea Social Services Department Violence and
      Aggression Policy 1998.




                                                                              APPENDIX 1

                           CITY AND COUNTY OF SWANSEA
                           SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
                           DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STRATEGY




1.       INTRODUCTION

1.1     The Social Services Department believes domestic violence to be unacceptable. It
        is not a private matter, but an area for public concern and public responsibility.
        This strategy sets out the Social Services Department’s commitment to working
        with survivors of domestic violence, raising awareness and encouraging initiatives
        aimed at prevention.

2.      THE EXTENT AND IMPACT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

2.1     Domestic violence occurs in all communities and in all social settings. Adults and
        children experience domestic violence regardless of their social group, class, age,
        race, disability, sexuality or lifestyle.

2.2     Abuse can occur at any time and may take place not only in the home but also in
        a public setting such as the workplace, in the street or a public house.

2.3     Research has found that one woman in four reports experiencing domestic
        violence. Every year in Wales and England approximately 63,000 women and
        children spend at least one night in a refuge. Nearly 50% of female victims of
        homicide are killed by their current or former partner which means 3 women a
        week die as a result of domestic violence. In 1995 the police recorded 6.6 million
        incidents of domestic violence.

2.4 Research has also noted the psychological impact on survivors of domestic
    violence. These include anxiety, loss of self respect, low self worth and
    depression, effects which can lead to self injury, actual or attempted suicide.

        There are established links between domestic violence and child abuse.
        Children may themselves be injured or abused or may be at risk of accidental
        injury. They may also be at risk of suffering long-term psychological and



                                                                                         19
     emotional harm.




3.   DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

3.1 Because domestic violence is not a specific statutory offence a number of different
    definitions have been used. The following definition, devised by the South Wales
    Police will apply for the Department:

     Domestic violence refers to any incident of violence or aggression, wherever and
      whenever it occurs. The violence may include physical, sexual, emotional or
     financial abuse of an individual by a family member, partner or ex-partner in an
     existing or previous relationship, regardless of gender, culture or sexual orientation.

3.2 It is acknowledged that the most harmful and most frequently reported abuse is
    carried out by men against female partners ( 85% of reported domestic violence is
    men against women), but abuse can occur by women against men and within
    same sex relationships.

4. LEGAL CONTEXT

4.1 Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act places on Local Authorities and other
    public bodies a duty to consider crime and disorder reduction in all that they do.

4.2 The Social Services Department has a duty and powers under the Children Act
    1989(Parts III and V) which deal with Local Authority support for children and
    families and the protection of children.

4.3 The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their
    Families is issued under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970
    and includes a requirement for the assessment of parents’ capacity to provide
    safety and stability for their children.

4.4 The Department has duties and powers in respect of elderly people and those with
    disabilities under the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 (Section 45) and
    the National Assistance Act.

4.5 The 1983 Mental Health Act gives powers to ensure the protection of people with
    mental disorder.

4.6 The ‘In Safe Hands’ Document on the protection of Vulnerable Adults is issued
    under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act. The Department is
    committed to the guidance developed by the South Wales Adult Protection Forum,
    i.e. Inter-Agency Policy and Procedures for responding to Alleged Abuse and
    Inappropriate Care of Vulnerable Adults in South Wales.




                                                                                         20
      5.          THE CORPORATE CONTEXT

5.1 The City and County of Swansea has the following relevant corporate aims:

           -        Protecting and promoting the wellbeing and health of its residents,
                    including vulnerable people, in safe and supportive communities,


           -        Sustaining and safeguarding our future generations.

5.2        The Safer Swansea Strategy includes the following priorities:

           -       To reduce offences and incidents of disorder involving repeat victimisation.

           -       To reduce offences and incidents of disorder aimed at vulnerable sections
                   of the population.

6.     GUIDELINES

6.1        Staff in the Department need to be aware of domestic violence and address it
           directly when working with survivors and include it in care plans.

6.2        The Department will develop Guidelines for staff working with survivors of
           domestic violence. The Guidelines will include:

           (i)     Reception of people who approach the Department for help in
                   relation to domestic violence.

           (ii)    Advice and information for those who make contact with the
                   Department.

           (iii) Practical help and interventions e.g. resources.

           (iv) Liaison with key agencies.

           (v)     Substance misuse issues.

           (vi) Dealing with difficult partners.

           (vii) Working with ethnic minorities.

           (viii) Unborn babies.

           (ix) Working with older people, people with learning disabilities
                and people with mental health problems.

           (x)     Preventative work

           (xi) Working with colleagues who are survivors of domestic violence.

7.         TRAINING



                                                                                              21
       7.1   A training strategy for the Department will be developed.




8.       SOCIAL SERVICES STAFF INVOLVED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

8.1      Any member of staff who is subjected to domestic violence will be entitled to the
         same levels of support, advice and care available to a member of the public.
         Appropriate arrangements to ensure confidentiality will be made.

8.2      Should an employee be considered to be a perpetrator of domestic violence,
         then the department will view the matter seriously and consider it under the City
         and County of Swansea disciplinary policy.

9.       INTER AGENCY WORKING

9.1      The Department is committed to developing inter agency working in dealing with
         domestic violence.

9.2      Where possible inter agency training will take place.

10.      MONITORING AND EVALUATION

10.1     The Department will need to develop a management information system
         in relation to domestic violence work which will be able to contribute to the
         existing child protection and developing adult protection databases.

11.      REVIEW

11.1     This strategy will be reviewed 12 months after approval.




                                                                                         22
                                                                             APPENDIX 2

                  Good practice responses to domestic violence

                                  General principles

     In domestic violence cases, Social Services staff should bear in mind the
     following principles:

1.   Staff receiving reports of domestic violence may find that their response is
     affected by their own feelings about domestic violence, about family life, about
     women’s role in society, about gender and sexuality, or other fundamental
     values. In order to help the person effectively, staff will need to be aware of their
     own responses, and to put those feelings aside in order to be able to listen
     effectively.

2.   Remember that asking for help is never easy. Admitting that one has been
     subjected to abuse by one’s partner is doubly difficult. Asking for help can leave
     the individual feeling vulnerable and powerless.

3.   Ensuring the safety of the person who is experiencing domestic violence should
     always be a first priority.

4.   Maintain confidentiality. This is an important part of Social Services work and
     staff are already aware of the reasons for this. However, where domestic
     violence is concerned staff should be particularly cautious.

5.   Experience shows that perpetrators who are trying to track down former partners
     are often very persistent and vindictive. They have been known to impersonate
     police officers, social workers and other officials or ask their family and friends to
     help in attempts to get information from voluntary and statutory agencies.

6.   Do not leave ‘loose ends’; should the person need assistance in welfare rights or
     housing benefit, make an appropriate referral.

8.   Remember that asking for help is never easy, particularly when the person is
     feeling vulnerable and powerless, so your sympathetic response is particularly
     important when the applicant first makes contact, whether that is by phone or
     office visit.




                                                                                         23
      9.     Believe the person. Domestic violence is serious and dangerous behaviour
      that can lead to death. Staff are expected to accept the word of the person
         reporting of domestic violence.

10.     Take the person seriously and recognise they are the best person to assess the
        danger.



11.     If the person was referred by a Women’s Aid group, contact them for information
        on their investigations.


12.     Remember that physical assault is only part of the problem, so people who are
        experiencing domestic violence should never be asked to prove that physical
        violence has taken place.

13.     If however, the person offers any information or documents that could help, then
        they should be accepted.

14.     Be non-judgemental. Leaving an abusive situation is often a long process. The
        person may simply want the abuse to stop and the relationship to be saved. A
        person may not want to leave their partner, or they may previously have parted
        and been reconciled but this does not mean that violence has not taken place or
        was not serious. The act of leaving in itself can escalate the violence involved.

15.     Factors such as effect on the children, financial dependence, lack of adequate,
        secure housing, immigration status, lack of information on the subject and lack of
        support networks make it difficult for women particularly to leave violent
        relationships.

16.     It may be particularly difficult for black and ethnic minority women, immigrant and
        refugee women, women with disabilities, elderly women, lesbians and gay men
        to leave an abusive relationship. Class, age, disability, race or sexuality should
        not affect the way in which a person is treated by the department.




                                                                                        24
                                                                           APPENDIX 3

                  Good practice responses to domestic violence

                         Outline of good interview practice

1.    Find an appropriate worker to do the interview – a woman, black woman,
      disabled woman, etc.

2.    Ensure privacy – use a separate room or adapt existing space for maximum
      privacy.

3.    Take the person seriously, believe them.

4.    Give priority to ensuring immediate safety of the survivor and any children.

5.    Let the person talk and/or cry as they want.

6.    Ask open-ended questions (ones that cannot be answered with yes or no) and try
      to make questions non-threatening.

7.    Don’t presume that violence is the problem, but let the person know that it’s a
      consideration, e.g. “I often get people in here asking about re-housing and it
      sometimes turns out that they’re being abused”.

8.    Let her know she is not the only one – reassure her.

9.    Reassure the person that the violence is not their fault.

10.   Remember that the person’s problems may be compounded by racist reactions,
      language and cultural barriers; or other reactions to their age, sexuality or
      disability.

11.   Find out what the person wants – where they are in relation to the abuse (e.g.
      has it just started, is it intermittent or going on for a long time).

12.   Remember that their options may be limited by lack of or access to resources.

13.   Do not make decisions for the person – don’t push them to do things they feel
      unsure about or frightened of.

14.   Consult with specialist agencies and individuals and let the survivor know what
      they can offer.

15.   Outline some options for the person – be clear and honest.

16.   Do not judge the survivor’s choices and decisions.




                                                                                        25
17.   Check if it is all right before sending letters or making phone calls to the home.
      CONFIDENTIALITY IS CRUCIAL.

18.   Respect the person’s wishes if they do not want you to make contact at all.

19.   Let women know that they do not have to leave home to talk to the staff at the
      local women’s refuge.

20.   Help the person explore ways of maximising their safety, whether they leave or
      not.

21.   Take personal responsibility when referring the person on elsewhere.

22.   Keep in contact, if at all possible and if they want you to do so.


DON’T ignore your intuition if you suspect someone is being abused.

DON’T insist on joint sessions with the survivor and the perpetrator.

DON’T fob off someone off if they come to you for help.

DON’T be flippant or cynical or sceptical.

DON’T ask what the person did to ‘provoke’ the violence, just the facts.

DON’T just focus on what the person alone can do in the situation.

DON’T make choices for the person.

DON’T give up on someone just because things are taking longer than you think they
     should.

DON’T give the perpetrator the address or phone number of where the person is
     staying.

DON’T promise to give the survivor a letter or pass on a message from the perpetrator
     or to facilitate contact in any way.




                                                                                           26
                                                                     APPENDIX 4


                  Substance misuse and domestic violence

1. Information about substances and their effects

Analgesics. (Include drugs such as heroin, morphine, methadone and
distalgesics). The results of using these drugs are highly dependant upon the
individual’s level of tolerance, means of administration and nature of the
particular analgesic. Those who inject heroin experience an almost
overwhelming pleasure (a ‘rush’) which lasts for a few seconds followed by a
dreamlike, unreal state. People have described feeling relaxed, elated, calm and
clear. Low dosage may have little effect on functioning, although at higher levels
it produces sedation, sleepiness and unconsciousness.

Methadone. (Usually prescribed in an oral linctus form) induces a milder elation
and no ‘rush’ because it is not ordinarily injected, though some users do grind up
and inject methadone pills. Those who use the same daily dose may have
minimal impairment of consciousness and many hold down responsible jobs and
successfully raise families.

Withdrawals from heroin or other opiates like methadone can induce symptoms
including nausea and vomiting, cramps, aches and pains, craving for the drug,
sleeplessness and lethargy. The experience has been likened to a severe case
of the flu. If no new opiates are taken the symptoms will peak at some 72 hours
after the last ingestion, although sleep problems, anxiety and craving often
continue.

Stimulants. (Amphetamines, cocaine and ‘crack’ – a smokeable form of
cocaine) produce feelings of elation, confidence and happiness. Users become
talkative and feel competent and powerful when under the influence of the drug.
However, this is frequently a misperception as concentration is often impaired
and in the cold light of non intoxication their efforts may not be as good as they
thought. When used intravenously the impact is immediate, while oral or nasal
intake results in a more delayed reaction. As the drug leaves their system users
often experience feelings of hopelessness and depression.

The effect of amphetamines lasts for hours and for the most part, cocaine and
‘crack’ is more intensive but shorter acting. For some people excessive use of
these drugs results in paranoia, hallucinations and other symptoms reminiscent
of psychotic illness. For those suffering from mental illness stimulants may
provoke a ‘florid episode’ leading to hospitalisation. Withdrawals can include
depression, anxiety, craving and sleep problems.

Depressants. (Alcohol, tranquillisers, sedatives and solvents) affect
consciousness in different ways depending on the particular drug. Those who




                                                                                27
drink will, according to how much they drink, suffer from diminished capacity to
concentrate, memory impairment, and reduced psychomotor co-ordination.

  Speech is often slurred and inhibitions lost, which can result in diminished self-
control and violence. The effects of alcohol are mediated by tolerance,
expectation, personality and social setting.

Tranquilliser users can feel calm and relaxed on small doses but consciousness
may be lost when using larger doses or when mixed with alcohol. Such a
cocktail is particularly dangerous because it enhances the consequences of
alcohol while increasing the risk of overdose. The same is true of sedatives such
as sleeping pills.

Withdrawals symptoms for alcohol range from the symptoms of a mild hangover
to epileptic type fits, hallucinations, heavy perspiration, vomiting and
tremulousness in the most severe cases. Tranquilliser and sedative withdrawals
can include anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness and depression.

N.B. Binge drinkers more likely to abuse their partners than heavy drinkers.

Hallucinogenic drugs. (LSD, ecstasy, cannabis, ‘magic mushrooms’).
Cannabis is the mildest form of these drugs and is most commonly ingested
through smoking. When smoked the effects begin about 10 or 15 minutes after
the first inhalation. The user usually feels calm, relaxed and has heightened
awareness. Under the influence of cannabis memory is sometimes impaired,
concentration becomes difficult and the user may lose all sense of time.

LSD and ‘magic mushrooms’ cause visual and other types of hallucinations
which can last for 12 hours or more especially with LSD and shorter periods for
‘magic mushrooms’. Sensual experience will be enhanced or altered when under
the influence of these drugs. Adverse reactions can be depersonalisation,
hallucinations, paranoia and panic attacks but these are not common amongst
those who use the drug moderately.

Withdrawals tend to include sleep problems, anxiety and sometimes mild
cravings. ‘Flashbacks’ (a brief hallucinogenic experience – often less than a
minute) can occur with LDS and less commonly with ‘magic mushrooms’, long
after the initial experience.


2. The relationship of substance misuse to domestic violence.

       In any social welfare issue a question about substance use is now almost
redundant as substance use will always be present in both the perpetrator and
the survivors of domestic violence, whether in legal, prescribed or over-the-
counter forms even if not in illegal terms. The question therefore is not about
whether substance use is present but about how it affects the situation (positively
or negatively).




                                                                                   28
       .
       Since we ALL have inherent attitudes towards other peoples substance use
it is important that workers have honestly considered their own prejudices and
stereotypes. This is particularly important because research now suggests
that the way in which questions about substance misuse are presented by staff
can influence the way in which they are answered.

The policies that agencies adopt towards substance users will also have an
effect on the responses that clients will give. If clients believe that they will be
judged or punished for their substance use (often reflected in their own negative
views of themselves as substance users) they are unlikely to be fully disclosing.

When working with survivors of domestic violence, the following Issues will need
to be considered:

       •   Many drugs blunt unhappiness or pain. Survivors may put up with
           otherwise intolerable situations by using substances. This can include
           children. Drugs such as tranquillisers and anti-depressants are widely
           prescribed (far more to women than to men).

       •   Is survivor dependent upon a substance that causes physical or
           psychological addiction? Violent partners will sometimes use control of
           legal or illegal medication as a means of enforcing the status quo. This
           may go as far as withholding needed substances, or controlling the
           source of supply.

       •   In cases of prescribed medicines, arrangements need to be made with
           G.P. (e.g. check that refuge G.P. is willing to prescribe required
           substance etc.)

       •   Where survivor is an addict under the control of a partner then to help
           them escape the violence means setting up some alternative source of
           supply – usually quick access to substitute prescribing.

       •   Detoxification is rarely appropriate as a response at a time of crisis.
           Workers MUST ensure that the survivor is comfortable. Withdrawal
           should not be considered at this time except where survivor has
           thought it through thoroughly and has support and safety that will be
           adequate to deal with such symptoms as may occur. Likewise tests for
           HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C should not be undertaken until later in
           the future – unless this is indicated by a history of rape etc.

       •   The relief survivors often feel combined with stress of breaking with
           domestic violence may lead to increased substance use initially.
           Services must be able to work with survivors to help them to deal with
           this for themselves – other than by externally imposed ‘bans’ and
           exclusions.




                                                                                   29
    •   However after the initial ‘party phase’ it may be that serious depression
        or personality problems may emerge that might need medication as a
        part of an holistic treatment.

When working with perpetrators of abuse, the following issues will need to be
considered:

    •   Binge patterns of intoxication are associated with violence and
        aggression.

    •   The central nervous system depressant drugs that are disinhibiting in
        their effects, such as alcohol, Valium, barbiturates etc., cause memory
        loss and loss of control.

    •   Steroid type drugs – used principally for training and athletics – are
        also thought to enhance strength and in some cases aggression. This
        is thought to be linked to their effect on the male hormonal systems.
        However research is split on whether steroid rage is actually caused by
        steroids or exacerbated by steroids.

    •   Some drugs may cause paranoid psychosis (notably amphetamine and
        cocaine, which are stimulant type drugs). In these cases heavy or
        prolonged use of the substance may cause delusions of serious
        persecution. The client may act upon his beliefs, subjecting partners
        and children to restraint etc.

    •   LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs are on rare occasions associated
        with delusional behaviour that can involve others. They can produce
        disruptive behaviour which can be frightening to self and others.

    •   Drugs such as heroin and methadone are used chiefly for their
        euphoric and relaxant effects. Most occasional users feel sleepy. In
        cases of addiction to opiate type drugs irritable behaviour may be
        associated with the prelude to withdrawal illness. It may be that
        individuals who are withdrawing from opiates etc. may be prone to
        threats and aggression however this will normally be related to drug
        seeking behaviour only. Where the withdrawal illness continues the
        person may need medical treatment.

    •   Where an individual has addiction to alcohol, tranquillisers, sleeping
        tablets etc. there is maximum risk for serious illness during withdrawal
        and it might be necessary to seek medical assistance.

    •   Perpetrators of violence who are addicted to substances can be
        assisted by substitute prescribing – in particular longer acting drugs
        have a stabilising effect on behaviours. It may be that providing
        treatment (other than detoxification) to perpetrators may give survivors
        some respite.



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                                                                        APPENDIX 5

           Safety precautions to be considered in the workplace

           Managers may have to take into account whether the measures set out
     below are operationally appropriate. However, ensuring that employees are safe
     should be of primary consideration throughout this process.

     Relevant incidents may involve violent partners or ex-partners visiting the
     workplace, abusive phone calls, or intimidation or harassment of an employee by
     the alleged perpetrator. These issues could be addressed by the following
     measures:

1.         Improving security measures, such as changing key pad numbers or
           ensuring that access to buildings is open to authorised employees only.

2.         Reminding reception or switchboard personnel not to divulge information
           about employees, especially personal details such as addresses,
           telephone numbers or shift patterns.

3.         Offering temporary or permanent changes in workplace, work-times and
           patterns, helping to make the employee less at risk at work and on their
           journeys to and from work. This could include changes to the office layout
           to ensure that the employee is not visible from reception points or from
           ground floor windows.

4.         Offering changes in specific duties, such as answering phones or working
           in reception area, or, in exceptional circumstances, redeployment to
           another post if an alternative is not easily found.

5.         Agreeing what to tell colleagues and how they should respond if the
           perpetrator rings or calls at the workplace.

6.         Making sure that the systems for recording employees’ whereabouts
           during the day are adequate and if the work requires visits outside the
           office, considering how risks can be minimised (e.g. changing duties or
           allowing another colleague to accompany them on certain journeys).

7.         Recording any incidents of violence in the workplace, including persistent
           phone calls, emails or visits, to an employee by their partner/ex-partner.
           Details of any witnesses to these incidents should also be noted. These
           records could be used if the employee wants to press charges or apply for
           an injunction against the alleged perpetrator. The employer could also
           apply for an injunction if the actions of an alleged perpetrator impinge on
           the health and safety of employees.




                                                                                     31
                                                                       APPENDIX 6

                         Help and support for employees

Stress Management Advice and Counselling Service

      Help and support is available to staff through the Stress Management
Advice and Counselling Service; information leaflets about this service have
been circulated and can be supplied on request. The service can offer:

           •   consultation, advice and support, as appropriate
           •   confidential counselling which staff can access themselves.

       Appointments are arranged to suit. Counselling can be arranged either in
or out of work time and a variety of venues are used.

Leave and time off work

       The Local Conditions of Service (holidays and other leave of absence) has
provision to allow both paid and unpaid leave, at the discretion of the Chief
Officer, in cases of domestic difficulty. Managers should look sympathetically at
requests for reasonable time-off within these arrangements for employees who
have disclosed that they are experiencing domestic violence.

       Managers may receive requests for time-off from employees who are
experiencing domestic violence, to arrange appointments during the normal
working day. These requests should be treated sympathetically. These
appointments could include:

          •    Appointments with support agencies such as Women’s Aid, Social
               Services or counsellors;

          •    Arranging rehousing;

          •    Meetings with solicitors;

          •    Making alternative childcare arrangements, including meetings with
               schools.

      Managers should also explore other measures supportively, such as
temporary negotiated hours, where requested by employees experiencing
domestic violence.

       Employees may be entitled to ex-gratia leave of absence with pay to
attend hearings as a witness in either the civil or criminal courts if they have been
called under a subpoena or a witness summons. Additionally, if there are




                                                                                  32
circumstances where an employee is attending court and is seeking an injunction



    or order in cases of violence or harassment, time-off with pay could be
  considered.

          Managers should record absences or application for ex-gratia leave in
  accordance with normal council procedures. However, where these incidents
  relate to domestic violence, these records can be placed in a sealed envelope
  within the employee’s file and marked “For manager’s access only”.

  Financial issues

         Individuals leaving a violent partner may face considerable financial
  hardship or have concerns about finding suitable accommodation for themselves
  and their family. Advice from Personnel should be sought about what
  appropriate measures can be taken to help employees in these circumstances,
  for example referring employees to the Stress Advisor and Counsellor for
  confidential and sympathetic financial advice and assistance. Additional free
  advice and support can be sought from the Council’s Welfare Rights and Debt
  Advice Service and also the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit section who
  can advise on the schemes available to reduce housing costs.

         If the employee has disclosed that their partner has access to their
  finances or is exerting economic pressure upon them, the Personnel/Payroll
  sections should be approached to see if any changes could be made e.g.
  temporarily being paid by cheque whilst a new bank account is being opened.

  Health effects

          Employees experiencing domestic violence may be more vulnerable to
  stress at work, and reference should be made to the Council’s policies and
  procedures for supporting employees experiencing high levels of stress. If
  appropriate and with the employee’s consent, the manager concerned should
  refer the employee to Occupational Health.




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                                                                           APPENDIX 7



                                     Resource list

Support for women

Local Women’s Aid Groups

Swansea Women’s Aid 01792 644683
Ammanford Women’s Aid 01269 597474
Neath Women’s Aid 01639 631731
Port Talbot Women’s Aid 01639 894864/898881
Llanelli Women’s Aid 01554 741212
Carmarthen Women’s Aid 01267 234725
Lliw Valley Women’s Aid 01792 862035

Women’s Safety Unit
02920 222022

This is a one-stop shop where survivors of abuse can report, obtain legal advice and
support on matters relating to domestic violence.

MEWN (Minority Ethnic Women’s Network)
22, Craddock Street,
Swansea.
Tel. 01792 467722

Support for ethnic minority women in relation to a range of issues, including domestic
violence.

Organisations providing services for men

Mensaid
Tel. 01334 474348 or 0800 838587
Support for men experiencing domestic violence

RESPECT (The National Association for Domestic Violence Perpetrator
Programmes and Associated Support Services)
Support services tel. 020 8563 8523
Support and advice for male perpetrators of domestic violence

NSPCC Cardiff
Tel. 02920 445200

This project undertakes a range of services around domestic violence including group
work with children and violent men. They will accept referrals from Swansea.




                                                                                         34
Working with children

City and County of Swansea Social Services Department
Child and Family Services
Referral and Assessment Service

This is the front line Child Care Team where issues of domestic violence can be
referred to the Department for assessment.

North Team Tel. 01792 533200
South Team Tel. 01792 635180

NSPCC Cardiff
Tel. 02920 445200

This project undertakes a range of services around domestic violence including group
work with children and violent men. They will accept referrals from Swansea.

Adult Protection

Adult Protection Co-ordinator
Tel. 01792 636278

Police resources

Domestic Violence Unit,
South Wales Police
Based at Cockett Police Station
Tel. 01792 456999

This Unit can offer support and advice to survivors of domestic violence vis a vis
criminal issues. The Unit can organise panic alarms although the service has limited
resources.

Help and advice with substance misuse

Swansea Drugs Project
Tel. 01792 472002

West Glamorgan Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Tel. 01792 472519

Community Drug and Alcohol Team
Tel. 01792 654630




                                                                                       35
Housing and homelessness

Housing options
Tel. 01792 533100

Supporting asylum seekers

Staff are advised to refer to the Social Services Department Asylum Seekers Guidance
and Procedures in the first instance. Further advice may be sought from the
Commissioning Support Unit, tel. 01792 636717.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual issues

SOLA (Survivors of Lesbian Partnership Abuse)

Tel.020 7328 7389
Helpline available Mon-Fri 10.30am -1.00pm, 2.30pm - 4.30pm.

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
Tel. 020 7837 7324

24 hour helpline which can provide up-to-date information about resources and
services, including support in relation to domestic violence.




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