Victims of domestic violence with substance misuse problems are
being turned away from refuges because their needs are seen as too
complex, women’s organisations warned today,
writes Maria Ahmed.
Marai Larasi, executive director of the Nia Project, formerly
Hackney Women’s Aid, told a seminar at Community Care Live
that most workers lacked the relevant skills and knowledge to cater
to women’s needs.
She said: “Most refuges do not accept women with drug and
alcohol issues as workers are afraid they cannot deal with them.
Working with the overlap of substance misuse and domestic violence
issues presents big challenges on resources and worker’s
The Nia Project is currently seeking funding for a specialist
refuge to address the needs of women with domestic violence and
substance misuse problems that would be the first of its kind in
Larasi also highlighted that that women were more likely to seek
help from voluntary organisations as fear of having their children
being taken away made them reluctant to access social services.
Dr Sarah Galvani, lecturer in social work at Birmingham
University, said there was very little training for workers in
dealing with both substance misuse and domestic violence.
She also pointed to the difficulty of establishing how many
women were affected due to a lack of evidence.
Michelle Newcomb, project-cordinator at the Stella Project,
which offers training for domestic violence and substance misuse
workers, called for agencies to work more closely together.
She said:”There must be greater political will to provide
specific funding to bring the two sectors together.”