One in four women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime and it’s amongst the most common issues within a social workers caseload. Domestic violence often compounds or is compounded by a number of other issues which may require intervention. For example, 47% of women experiencing domestic violence have mental health needs; 11% have drug misuse issues, 12% have alcohol misuse issues, and 5% have been involved with probation . In addition, 90% of women experiencing domestic violence report that their children have witnessed or been in the next room during an incident of physical violence. Exposure to domestic violence is now recognised as a form of emotional child abuse, so children in families where a woman experiences violence will very often need support too.
This compounding creates a complex web of need which the social worker must untangle. However, limited time and budgets often make it impossible for statutory agencies to provide the specialist support women and children experiencing domestic violence need. In order to achieve positive outcomes for the family, social workers need to be able to quickly access specialist services dedicated to supporting women and children escape domestic violence and rebuild afterwards.
Many social workers have links with their local services, but domestic violence often forces women to move long distances, and service funding means that contacts or indeed whole services can be lost at very short notice. That’s why Women’s Aid has developed the UK Gold Book Online: a unique and invaluable online directory of domestic and sexual violence services across the UK, updated every single day.
Subscribers can search on any combination of the criteria for the most appropriate domestic and sexual violence service available in the UK, which includes geographical area; sexuality and gender; accessibility; languages; specialist services for Black and minority ethnic women and specialist services for men. This means that you can find the best possible service for the survivors you are working with and be assured that the information you are using is completely up-to-date.
Women’s Aid is offering Community Care readers a discounted year’s subscription to the UK Gold Book online for 2014/15. Simply enter the code COMMCARE1/3 on the online form to receive your first year’s subscription for one third of the usual price, giving you savings of upwards of £50. To secure the discount, go to http://www.womensaid.org.uk/ukgoldbook and purchase your subscription before 30 April 2014.
 Women’s Aid Annual Survey of Members, Women’s Aid, 2013