Almost anyone can be the recipient of a domestic violence disclosure, whether from a friend, family member or work colleague and knowing how to respond is essential.
But if you work in an industry that makes you more susceptible to receiving disclosures of domestic violence, responding appropriately and providing support is critical.
Do you understand the best way to talk to and support someone experiencing domestic violence? It’s a complicated issue, but there are five reasons why everyone should have at least a basic understanding of this alarmingly widespread social and welfare issue.
But first, a definition.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is violence, abuse and intimidation between people who are (or have previously been) in an intimate relationship.
The perpetrator uses violence to control and dominate the other person, which causes fear, physical harm and/or psychological harm.
Domestic violence can include:
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Technology-facilitated abuse
- Social abuse– not allowing someone to connect with friends and family
- Spiritual abuse– stopping someone from practising their religion.
If someone discloses their experience of domestic violence, it shows that they trust you. You may not be the most qualified person to receive this information, but you can respond appropriately and with compassion by understanding domestic violence.
5 Reasons Why Everybody Should Understand Domestic Violence.
Former police officer Anthony Macklin, a women’s safety specialist and security and risk management consultant, believes everyone should have domestic violence training.
“If more people had insight into this type of abuse it would give victims more access to support networks. It would provide managers, co-workers and friends with a way of recognising abuse and its victims and offering support and a way out from those situations,” he said.
1. It Affects People From all Walks of Life
Domestic violence does not discriminate. It’s a widespread social and welfare issue that is found everywhere and can affect anyone.
“It affects both genders, all socio-economic levels and across the cultural spectrum of our society, explained Mr Macklin.”
2. It Probably Affects Someone You Know
One in 6 Australian women and 1 in 16 men have been subjected, since the age of 15, to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner (ABS 2017b).
“While it is widespread, it often happens behind closed doors and affects people we work with, interact with and play sport with every day.
“It’s happening to our colleagues, our teammates or the person in front of you in the queue at the supermarket,” said Mr Macklin.
3. It Can be Difficult to Identify
Domestic violence manifests in many ways, not just corporal violence, and often occurs gradually to victims, explained Mr Macklin.
“Perpetrators work on a physical and psychological level, causing victims to doubt what is happening. It can make them feel as though there is no way of escape, or that they are deserving of the abuse.”
4. Because Responding Appropriately is Critical
How you respond to a disclosure of domestic violence, by a friend, family member or work colleague, sends a message and can have a powerful impact on the outcome for that person.
In fact, the way you respond can mean the difference between the victim feeling empowered to move away from the abuse or feeling like the abuse is their fault and remaining in a dangerous situation.
It is important to see a disclosure of domestic violence as an opportunity to respond with compassion and empathy. So, understanding domestic violence is critical, because even well-intentioned responses can be harmful if they are uneducated.
5. As ‘Mandatory Reporting’ Responsibilities Are Serious
It’s important to understand the difference between respecting confidentiality and mandatory reporting when it comes to disclosures of domestic violence. It is particularly important when those affected by the violence are children.
If you or someone you know could benefit from understanding domestic violence, consider the Understanding Domestic Violence professional development course.
Alternatively, if you work in a helping profession, and are more likely to receive disclosures of domestic or family violence, the Certificate of Domestic and Family Violence is ideal professional development for you.
Certificate of Domestic and Family Violence
The Certificate of Domestic and Family Violence will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to recognise and respond appropriately to domestic and family violence. You will also discover how to promote awareness, act as an advocate and use counselling and facilitation skills to support victims.
On completion of this course, you will feel confident to work within the community as an advocate and to provide appropriate support to those affected by domestic and family violence.
Understanding Domestic Violence
Understanding Domestic Violence is a short online course that will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to recognise and respond appropriately to domestic and family violence.
You will discover preventative strategies, learn about the different types of abuse and gain an understanding of family violence orders, mandatory reporting and intervention strategies.
On completion of this course, you will feel confident to appropriately respond and offer support to those affected by domestic violence.
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Visit us online to discover hundreds of industry-relevant, flexible, online courses covering almost every industry sector. Alternatively, contact one of our friendly Learning Consultants today on 1300 762 221 or via Live Chat.