Domestic violence victims with substance misuse problems are not having their needs met

Women affected by both domestic violence and substance misuse are not having their needs met, delegates at a Community Care conference in London heard today.

Victims must choose between “safety or sobriety” as very few agencies cater for such complex needs, said Sarah Galvani, social work lecturer at Birmingham University.

Speakers at the conference examined substance misuse by victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

Within domestic violence organisations, “there is often a climate of fear and prejudice about substance misuse,” said Marianna Tortell, training manager at the Nia Project, which works with victims of domestic violence and substance misuse.

Many refuges will not work with drug users, so there is a lack of services for these women, she added.

Tortell said domestic violence workers lack the training and supervision needed to work with substance misuse issues.

Jane Booth, corporate director and policy lead for domestic violence at the Children and Family Courts Advisory Service said a wide range of young people’s services including mental health and Connexions should consider training staff in how domestic violence and substance misuse affects children.

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