The project is based within the Accident and Emergency Department at Southmead Hospital. The aim is to work with high risk victims who are not supported by other agencies. People often feel that hospital is a safe environment in which they can disclose information about any abuse they are experiencing. Many people attend A&E with vague symptoms/self-induced overdoses/deliberate self-harm/drug & alcohol misuse/pregnancy related concerns. The underlying reason is quite often domestic abuse, but this is only discovered if medical staff ask the right questions. Forced marriage and honour based violence cases are often identified by hospital staff also.
Case Study - Ben, Service User
Ben* – Ben had been with his partner for 10 years who has children from a previous relationship, they have children together and he has one from his previous relationship. He told us the abuse started early on in the relationship and included physical (hitting/kicking/scratching), psychological (being told he was a ‘s*** father’, ‘******g useless’, ‘**** in bed’) and financial (he paid all of the bills despite it being her tenancy and she refused to have his name added to the tenancy). He attended A&E after taking an overdose. He stated that everything was too much for him and he couldn’t cope with his situation. He added that he was upset he had not succeeded in taking his own life. Prior to his attendance at the hospital, she had kicked him and his child out of the house. She had pushed him into the door and he had cut his head. She is known to the Police for DV related incidents and has been prosecuted for assaulting her ex-husband and his new partner. Ben has been sofa surfing ever since the incident and was happy to talk to our worker and felt safe enough to tell her the ins and outs of his relationship. We have helped him with his housing situation and have given him lots of emotional support, including signposting to organisations which specifically help male victims. Ben has said he feels stronger since he spoke to Survive and disclosed the abuse.