Domestic abuse service aims to break cycle of abuse

​Date: 27/06/2016

PR ref: 8267

Wakefield Council's domestic abuse service is highlighting the help it offers to perpetrators of violence - in a bid to break the cycle of abuse.

The service offers support to both victims and perpetrators at seven hub locations across the district in Castleford, Featherstone, Havercroft, Hemsworth, Pontefract and Wakefield.

While many people will be aware that support is available to victims, they may not realise help is also there for those who are using abusive behaviours and want to change.

John (not his real name) sought help to change his behaviour after being arrested, during a drunken row when he violently assaulted his partner.
He had never been in trouble with the police before and after spending a night in the cells decided to ask for help to understand and change his behaviour.

John joined a men's support group and says this has given him an insight into why he acted as he did and offered him alternative behaviours and coping strategies. By attending groups, he can share his experiences and listen to others to help ensure that he remains focussed on his positive behaviours.

He said: "I've come to understand that growing up in a home where there was abuse and neglect affected me deeply.

"Like many men I didn't have any emotional support, apart from the support I had from my wife and there weren't any other people around to listen to me. I had a tendency to be immature, which wasn't good for the relationship."

It is ten years since his arrest and John, who has never behaved abusively since, has an altered outlook on life since making the decision to get help.

He said: "The support groups I've been to mean there are people who will listen. There's no alcohol, banter or sport – which is how men tend to bond on a superficial level.

"In the group, we recognise and talk about the issues that are affecting us. It is a safe space where we can be heard, as well as listening to others. And I've realised that it's ok to ask for help and it's ok to show vulnerability and express emotion. I've also learned to communicate clearly and if I agree or disagree, I will say so.

"I would say to anyone who has scared a loved one or scared themselves with their own actions – it is possible to change your behaviour and be happy. There is help available locally and you need to take the first step by getting in touch with the Domestic Abuse Service."

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: "No-one should ever be subjected to any kind of abuse at home or anywhere else. We want victims and perpetrators to report it, and report it sooner, so we can provide them with the support they need.

"The Domestic Abuse Service is available seven days a week so if you think you could benefit from its support, please get in touch as soon as you can."

Volunteers at Victim Support, are specially trained to provide immediate support to victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. And the support they provide allows it to operate the service seven days a week, meaning even more people can be supported.

The service supports all forms of domestic abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, so-called honour based violence, FGM (female genital mutilation) and forced marriage.

To contact the Wakefield District Domestic Abuse Service call 0800 915 1561 or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/domesticabuse  

Wakefield Council has recently been awarded White Ribbon Status in recognition of the work it does to support those affected by domestic abuse.

Cllr Richard Forster one of Wakefield's Ambassadors for the White Ribbon Campaign. and Cllr Maureen Cummings unveiled a plaque in Wakefield One.

The White Ribbon campaign is an international campaign to stop domestic violence against women. It was created by a group of men who wanted to end violence against women.

To be awarded the status, the Council has demonstrated its continued commitment to raising awareness of domestic abuse and supporting those to help end it. The campaign enables men to make a pledge to never condone violence against women or stand by when they know it is happening.

Cllr Forster said: "We are delighted to have been awarded White Ribbon status as part of our work to tackle domestic abuse in the district.

"We'll continue to work with local community groups, sports clubs and Academies to help support those who are affected by abuse."

The hubs are at:
Five Towns Centre, Castleford, Welbeck Street, WF10 1DP.
Chesney's, Regent Street, Featherstone, WF8 5EW.
Municipal Buildings, Headlands Road, Pontefract, WF8 1BE.
Platform One, Wakefield Road, Hemsworth, WF9 4AB.
City Limits, Thornhill Street, Wakefield, WF1 1NL.
Caldervale Road, Unit 21 Greens Industrial Park, Caldervale Road, WF1 5PH.
Havercroft Hub, Cow Lane, Havercroft, WF4 2BE.