Explore the idea that organisations fail when it comes to supporting domestic abuse survivors of ethnic minority backgrounds. Explore the difficulties and barriers that are faced. Use evidence to support your answer.

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Explore the idea that organisations fail when it comes to supporting domestic abuse survivors of ethnic minority backgrounds. Explore the difficulties and barriers that are faced. Use evidence to support your answer.


Domestic violence or abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviours that are purposeful, and directed at achieving compliance from and over a victim without regard for his or her rights. These behaviours can be perpetrated by adults or adolescents against their intimate partner or significant other in current or former dating, married or cohabiting relationships. Domestic violence is a combination of physical force or terror designed to cause physical, psychological, social, religious, economic, mental and emotional harm to victims. (Davison, 1997, P632).

I have been working as a volunteer with the domestic violence agency SOADA based in West Bromwich, Birmingham for the past four months. The role I was allocated was working with the female victims of domestic violence that attended our drop in centres. The skills I had to put into practice were my communication and listening skills which are key in these intense situations. I had to be empathetic and understanding at all times in order to make the individual feel as eased and relaxed as possible. The individual had to feel that I was approachable and leave our support group feeling they had options, that they had support or even that they have unloaded feelings which they had kept bottled up for years. Our support group works alongside other agencies in the Criminal Justice System such as the Police, Social Workers and The Courts. We hold sufficient information on individual cases and try to guide the females to take further actions against perpetrators when they come to the realisation that the way they are treated is wrong. The courts use this information to punish them accordingly. This can only happen when the woman has come out of the denial stage. Our work helps this to happen. This in effect will help bring more perpetrators to justice for their offences and limit the amount of these offences that continue to happen behind closed doors.

When having met one particular woman, it made me realise that my organisation had a particular barrier when dealing with Muslim women who were victims of domestic violence. This opinion I had was then reinforced when I overheard and was part of discussions on this topic. It was stated that the organisation had not had sufficient training to deal with such cases and the government puts little money into support groups like SOADA so it is almost impossible to get a grant in order to train groups so we have an awareness of different cultures and are able to give these women the same help and support as other women. This brought to my realisation that there was a huge problem that was potentially leaving Muslim victims of domestic violence behind closed doors as there is little support available for them.

I have been researching this area to find out a little more about the support which is available for the Muslim women. This essay will give an insight into the areas I have researched and will give a more clear view of the problems that organisations face, the underlying reasons behind the problems and how they may be potentially solved.

The aim of this essay is to analyse the support which is available for the survivors of domestic violence. The essay will have a direct focus upon women survivors from the Muslim culture and will explore how agencies are achieving or failing in support for those women and how they seek to overcome barriers faced when working with Muslim survivors and what difficulties appear to be evident when supporting ethnic minorities in Domestic Violence Organisations.

Although the personal significance of violence against men in relationships should not be devalued, Domestic Violence remains overwhelming a problem for women and can be usually seen as a direct product of the subordination of women both within marriage and within society as a whole. Lyndon (1996) argues that research suggests that 95% of Domestic Violence is committed by men against women. Nine times out of ten this tends to be the case but there a minority of cases where this is portrayed to be the other way round.

The Home Office (1999) argues that domestic violence is rarely a one off event. Physical and sexual abuse tends to increase in frequency and severity over time, sometimes ending only when one person has killed the other. Women experience Domestic violence regardless of their social group, class, age, disability, Sexuality or lifestyle. The abuse can begin at anytime - in new relationships and also after many years spent together. The work of Adams (1998) suggests that Domestic Violence is deeply rooted in the British society and its here to stay unless something active is done to solve it.

Myths associated with Domestic Violence, have become an accepted explanation for the causes of these offences. For example: it only happens in low income families: abusers grow up in violent homes: the woman provokes violence: some women are attracted to violent men and choose them again and again: it is caused by drunken or jealous behaviour: or it can be blamed on stress at work or just plain bad temper (Lask, 1998 & Moss & Taylor, 1991). Such myths and prejudices make women who suffer abuse afraid to seek help. There is neither a set time, date nor the place when Domestic violence occurs; it can just as likely be committed by a professional person with high status and respect in the community who would never be likely to be seen as a perpetrator as they are highly trusted. Research by Bewley & Gibbs (1992) suggested that pregnancy is the time when physical abuse is precipitated or exacerbated. Abused pregnant women have been all but invisible in society in part because of historical myths and a contemporary societal view that is romantic and ideal (Noel & Yam, 1992). It had been a hidden issue but over time women have started to report cases of Domestic Violence, through professionals or self referrals.

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When it comes down to what services are available for the survivors of Domestic Violence, there are numerous, but the reality of these services come to live when women use them, but the question is how much support is available for the Muslim women?

Bewley (1994) argues that there are practical difficulties to be faced. Muslim Women are often financially dependent upon their partners, they may not have anywhere else to stay, and there may be children dependent upon them. The women may not seek help and leave because the practical and psychological risks are so great and continue to ...

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