Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

A risk to children

Recently I attended a meeting on a social work student who has been in a violent relationship. As she was pregnant with her abusers baby, the meeting was to consider what support she may need.

I was horrified to hear the local safeguarding officer suggest that the student should be considered for barring. This would mean that she would be classed as a danger to children and would not be able to continue her chosen career path. The rationale for this was that she had not left her abuser until social care became involved and this demonstrated a lack of care and understanding of the impact of domestic violence on her children.

The police officer present also agreed, stating, "if she's working in a nursery and he (the perpetrator) turns up looking for her, that would put those children at risk."
He simply could not see why I was so angry with this and continued to argue that the victim needed to take responsibility, rather than the perpetrator.

Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is rife within professional services such as social work and the police force. We need to get out there and challenge the language and perceptions through training. And we need to include the voices of women who have been in these situations so they can express how it feels to be told its their fault.



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