There are many services for women to access when we have been victimised in countless ways and most of those services are professional, qualified and accredited in the specific work they do. Their policies, procedures, data and qualifications are laid out publicly so you will always know who you are dealing with.
You may be a victim of male violence but you have rights, never forget that. You have the right to access a service that will honour your wishes and empower you, a service that will listen and believe you.
A service that serves you, not themselves.
What happens when you encounter a service or individual who leaves you feeling disempowered, controlled and confused? Unfortunately they do exist and their methods are confusing and sometimes questionable. I have met quite a few over the years.
No support service has the right to question the legitimacy of your experience. Most don’t but there are those that take this stance and the act of self entitlement is self serving.
Support services are not law enforcement. Law enforcement are the only body who have the right to question you in such a way, any organisation who ‘investigates’ your claim of abuse is not a service which is accessible to women who’ve been raped. We weren’t raped so we could be investigated by every random tom dick and harry under the guise of support, you don’t deserve that kind of support.
You don’t deserve to be disbelieved and threatened with any negative behaviour.
Another self serving act that a few unqualified organisations use is mental health. A tactic which abusers often use against victims of domestic violence, to make out that we’re crazy or can’t cope or without capacity. There are some organisations/individuals who will use this tactic to silence victims if they’ve said no or disagreed over something.
When accessing a service don’t be afraid to ask questions, repeat them if you don’t understand – most will be happy to help.
Don’t he afraid to ask for qualifications, accreditation/affiliation, experience in the field and what approach they take ie Feminist or MRA or religious.
Please remember you can say no. They are not an authority over you.
Please always ask first and foremost for the complaints procedure, by law this must be accessible and followed exactly. This procedure will tell you how to complain and who to at each stage. Remember if you’re still not happy you can approach your local safeguarding unit or CAB for advice.
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say no and walk away. If you feel intimidated, exploited or harassed you can report to the police and whilst there you can access specific support.
You were harmed already, people in these positions should be regulated and coordinated as to not harm you further.
A professional’s public manner is a give away to their behaviour and whether you feel safe. Social media is a perfect tool to see how someone works. Remember if it feels wrong it is wrong.
You can expect non confrontational approach both on social media and in private dialogue, if they are confrontational, it would be recommended to view this as a red flag.
You can expect confidentiality, this means anything you say will be kept in strict confidence and not shared anywhere. Data Protection covers your personal information like name, address but confidentiality covers everything else. This also means that any conversation which references a conversation you’ve had, even if your name isn’t mentioned is a confidentiality breach and is not safe. References to your situation or your location or your friends/family is absolutely a breach even without the mention of your name. If you or anyone else is able to put the pieces together to know its about you then its a breach, this is known as jigsaw confidentiality.
Another note, your permission is required for any service to share your information, you do not have to give blanket permission meaning – yes now doesn’t mean yes later. They must get your permission each time.
A service which serves itself is not a service that serves victims.
A service that believes women and children lie about abuse is not a safe service for a female abuse victim to access.
Remember, you have rights and you owe no one