7th March 2017
Jamila Hassan is a Young Person’s Violence Officer (Ypvo) for South Tyneside Young Person’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Services. In this blog Jamila shares her daily experiences of working with young people experiencing domestic abuse in the form of a diary entry. For an audio version of this blog, visit our Soundcloud profile or scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Its 8.30am Monday is always a busy day in the Ypva Service. I’m checking emails, and catching up with the weekend developments of my cases. I open an email from a staff member who works in the Children's Home where *Vicky, one of the young women I am working with, lives. The email is to inform me that her boyfriend, the perpetrator, has assaulted her again; he'd been arrested and was still in police custody. The staff member confirms that Vicky has provided a statement. This surprises me as she’s been previously reluctant to engage with the police. I ring her and agree to re-arrange my diary to prioritise a visit to meet with her today. I then ring the investigating officer to query if the perpetrator is being charged. The police confirm that he has been charged with common assault and that he will be released on conditional bail, conditions include that he is not to contact Vicky directly or indirectly.
After re-arranging my diary I ring the Children's Home to update them and check that a DASH RIC has been completed. The staff member informs me that Vicky declined to complete the DASH RIC, they confirm that they have started the document but request that I assist with completion. I agree to meet with the staff member following my appointment with her.
It’s now 11.30am - Upon meeting Vicky, she agrees that we can go through the DASH together. The initial question on the DASH RIC asks ‘are you frightened’; although she answers ‘no’ I explain that this question will be answered to take into account the initial disclosure information provided by the police and Children’s Home. The overall score of this DASH RIC is 15 and meets the criteria for a referral into Marac. I explain the Marac process to Vicky and ask her if she wants the police to apply to the court for a Restraining Order. Vicky replies no, adding that she could ‘see no point’. She also discloses that she's been self-harming as a result of receiving threats from her now ex-boyfriend's family. I encourage Vicky to report this to the police but she refuses. I explain that I have a duty to share this with the police and her Social Worker. Vicky said she understands. The remainder of our session focuses on updating Vicky’s individual safety plan, support plan and reminding her of strategies she can use to reduce the likelihood of further self-harm.
It’s 1.30pm and I return to the office, knowing that I still have two more clients to see. I also need to make time to update Vicky's case records, type up the DASH RIC and make the referral to Marac. My colleague explains that she has had a cancellation, and offers to see one of my clients; this is a relief, team work within the Ypva Service is essential. I use the next three hours to finalise Vicky’s documents.
It’s now 4.30pm and I meet my next client *Johnny in the office. Working with Johnny has additional complexities as he presents embarrassed and in denial that he is being abused by his girlfriend, and he also perpetrates harm to her. We are in the process of compiling information for Johnny’s individual safety plan and he laughs when I explain why we want him to consider a safety word. I know I need to be creative and suggest that he could use the safety word if he feels at risk of harming his girlfriend, Johnny agrees and I feel this is progress. Due to Johnny presenting visibly stressed I agree to continue this discussion at our next appointment.
It’s now 5.30pm; I use the next half hour to respond to emails that I view as urgent. My line manager is also in the office and this provides me with an opportunity to de-brief today’s events. Whilst I have regular scheduled supervision, she understands that informal clinical supervision is essential to assist with the day-to-day delivery of this job. We run through the actions and record the actions and discussions on the client’s file.
It’s 6.30pm and I am now leaving the office for home. I’ll be back tomorrow at 8.30am for the next day in the life of a Ypva.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
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