Zoe is a Mental Health Idva who supports women experiencing domestic abuse by listening, helping them understand their options, explaining their legal rights, talking to the police and other agencies for them, helping them get to safer housing or even attending court with them. She has worked in her current role since February and in the VAWG sector since September 2018, having previously worked in mental health.
What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?
My last job in mental health was in CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health) and sadly most of the children I worked with came from families where there was a history of or ongoing domestic abuse. I wanted to try and make a difference to prevent other generations from experiencing similar issues. I love working with people and believe that everyone has the potential to make a positive contribution to the world, and felt like this could be way to support people to meet their potential.
As a specialist mental health Idva, what kind of support are you able to provide to victims and survivors with mental health needs?
I’ve got a decent amount of experience of working in mental health so can help clients navigate systems in a way that hopefully makes life more manageable, as sometimes this can be tough. I am also able to recognise signs and symptoms that they may not recognise as being part of the impact of abuse. My understanding of how both mental health services and Idva services work can help bridge gaps when clients are struggling to engage or services are struggling to meet their needs.
What keeps you going when the work gets tough?
Two things; the little victories that might not be so little – like getting an urgent repair actually done urgently or getting management transfer approved – and my colleagues. They are the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with, so supportive, passionate and with a sense of loving fun that is so important in the work we do.
What are you most proud of so far?
This is a tricky one, definitely not my diary organisation skills! I think it would have to be being someone who people can share their story with.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?
Do what interests you and what you believe in. Be kind and patient with yourself and that will shine through to the people you work with.
Zoe's colleague said: 'She is endlessly patient, wholeheartedly kind, and absolutely hilarious. Makes the office a great place to be, and does amazing work with clients'
Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line