Thursday, 27 March 2014

Will the police fail me?

The news today is full of stories about a report which highlights failings in the way police handle domestic abuse cases.

We could all discuss what could be done better, even those of us with positive experiences can find room for improvement and there’s several areas where the law could support victims better.

But actually my concern is for women still in abusive relationships who are reading this report. It can’t fill women with confidence about what support they will receive if they leave. An abuse victim’s biggest fear is that she won’t be believed if she tells and today the newspapers are full of stories about the police not taking abuse seriously, it can’t exactly inspire confidence in women that leaving is a good idea.

And if you’re one of those women I’m here to tell you differently.

 Leaving IS a good idea.

My experience has been that the support services have taken the matter seriously. I’ve had brilliant help and support since leaving, from the police, from Women’s Aid, from my GP.  Even social services, who I have a list as long as your arm of gripes about, on the whole have been supportive.

I have found that whilst there may be a lot of red tape holding people back from giving you the help they want to, whilst charities may face funding issues and not have all the services they would otherwise have, whilst processes and systems and laws might not make things as great as they should,  people care. Yes you read that right:

 people do actually care about you.

 When I started the process of getting help I felt guilty, I felt that I was wasting the time of people who could be helping “real abuse victims” it came as quite a shock when they didn’t tell me to “get a grip” and “go away” but instead told me that what I had been through wasn’t normal, I didn’t deserve it and they WANTED to help me.

And yes of course I came across unhelpful people, people who were scathing or blaming, people who believed his lies or said things like “it takes two to tango” let’s be realistic that’s going to happen. But I was able to cope with them because I was strengthened by people who cared, people who are being discussed in the news and damned as not being good enough, and not being able to help enough and I’m here to say, that whilst the processes didn’t always run smoothly or whilst they didn’t always say the right thing, whilst sometimes they were powerless to stop his rampages they cared.  I got out, I got help-  and now I’m better off.  And if I can do it, so can you, no matter what a bleak picture you see painted in the media. 

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