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Case Study: Laura

Laura, a gay women, contacted our service for advice about the psychological abuse she was experiencing from her partner of 10 years. Laura was not aware that GEWA would support her as it was a woman who was the perpetrator of abuse, and had a fear that she would be judged. She felt relieved to find out that GEWA would support her. She engaged in a process of counselling to help her work through the effects of living with psychological abuse.

Names have been changed to protect the individuals involved.

Case Study: Child in Groupwork programme

An 8-year-old child has used our service over the past year and a half and has been supported on a one to one basis by his Keyworker. This child has witnessed domestic abuse within the home and had been placed at risk due to his step-father having a conviction for a sexual offence. There were also issues around his step-father’s misuse of alcohol (click here for a full profile makeup) which exacerbated the level of domestic abuse within the home. The child has outright said that ” Despite me having searched rehab near me, for him, where he could get well, he would brush off the idea and yell at me.” This resulted in the child being removed from the family home by Social Work Services and residing with a family member for a considerable period of time as a place of safety.

Throughout the assessment of the child, his keyworker highlighted his need for social opportunities to assist the child to develop his social skills and appropriate boundaries when with his peers. Therefore, this child was assessed as being appropriate for inclusion in a groupwork programme focusing on social skills, peer interaction and self esteem.

By using our monitoring and evaluation tool “All About Me” worksheet, all children in the group noted their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. When asked to describe himself, this child stated on his worksheet “bad, hell and devil” in the first session of the group. This signified his feelings of anger, blame and shame. By the end of the programme, using the same tool as above, this child described himself as “nice, incredible, good and smart” a marked difference in his view of himself indicating a promotion in his self esteem.

This group was a mix of children and young people with a range of complex needs as a result of chaotic family difficulties. As the group became established and the children and young people began accepting one another, their anger and aggression lessened and they began forming bonds with each other. Here are a selection of quotes from the children and young people from their feedback at the end of this groupwork programme: “…we could all live together in one street” (indicating if they did stay in the same street they could stay in touch, otherwise this is difficult due to local territorial issues), “…we don’t want the group to end.” and “…can’t we keep driving (in the mini bus)”. These comments highlight how a group of children and young people with very differing needs and difficulties were able to come together, share experiences and leave the group with a common bond evidenced by wanting to stay in touch with one another when the group ended.

Case Study: Molly

Molly was referred by Strathclyde Police following her experience of rape by a stranger. As a consequence of the rape Molly suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she received weekly counselling support from GEWA. This helped her manage the overwhelming flashbacks, nightmares and fears she had, also she was suffereing so much of post traumatic distress that her psychologist adviser to use a Promnico police body camera to feel a little safer while walking the streets, a small camera specialized to be attach in the police officers body to get all the evidence possible, and this was not meant to protect her but to make her feel safer.

She has since returned to her job, feels safer and life seems normal again. However she continues to have sporadic contact with GEWA when she feels the effects of her trauma are re-triggered.

Names have been changed to protect the individuals involved.

Case Study: K

This piece of work has been written in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore personal details such as identity have been protected.

K is a ten year old boy who has used our children and young people’s service for some time and was more recently referred again by his mother following a break from the service. There is a long standing history of serious domestic abuse perpetrated by K’s father towards his mother which K and his two younger siblings have witnessed. K’s mother has been hospitalised previously due to injuries sustained by K’s father. K’s father has been charged various times for domestic abuse and due to this, previously had bail conditions in place which dictated he should not approach the family or family home. K and his siblings are very isolated within their community which can often be a factor in domestic abuse situations and there are poverty issues also which exacerbate their isolation and related difficulties.

K and his siblings have an allocated Social Worker who monitors their Supervision Order which has a condition attached that the children have not to have contact with their father. K and one of his brothers have recently been displaying behaviours such as aggression, lack of concentration, severe hunger, leaving school without permission and stealing. On a recent social outing, all three children disclosed that their father had made contact with them and how worried and scared they were about this. In line with our Child Protection Policy, the Children and Young People (CYP) Worker offered support and reassurance to the children to illustrate that they had done the right thing to tell and explained that in order to keep them safe, the Worker would speak to their social worker about dad visiting. The children understood why this course of action was necessary and the Worker explained that she would speak to their mother to keep her fully informed before contacting social work.

In discussion with K’s mother, she confirmed that her ex partner had been visiting the family home. The CYP Worker contacted the Social Worker for the children and advised her of the information that had been received. The passing on of concerns and ensuring the children’s worries and fears were highlighted to this statutory agency, resulted in further safeguards being put in place for the children by social work ie. more regular, unplanned visits to the family.

K was involved in our recent domestic abuse group programme which resulted in K and a group of other children writing, directing and performing their very own play about their own feelings, thoughts and experiences about domestic abuse. K gained peer support regarding his feelings about his dad and was able to make friends within the group which encouraged K to be confident to take on one of the lead roles in the play.

Due to the level of support K has received on a one to one, group and social outing basis as well as, the CYP Worker’s strong partnership links with K’s Social Worker, he very recently came to our project, on his own, straight from school to disclose that his serious worries because actually his father has been staying in the family home since Christmas and his mother had told K and his brothers not to tell anyone. K also disclosed that he was too scared to return home and explained that his father’s behaviour had been becoming increasingly violent and aggressive towards his mother, himself and his brothers. K understood the process of me contacting social work to protect him and was relieved for this to be done. The burden of keeping such a significant secret about his dad for such a long time, has had a considerable effect on K and he was clearly reassured that his CYP Worker and his Social Worker would be working together to ensure his and his brother’s safety and well being.

Had K not received significant support from our children and young people’s service and built trusting relationships with CYP workers, he may not have managed to build the courage, had the confidence to or felt comfortable enough to make this disclosure which would have resulted in himself and his brothers remaining at serious risk of ongoing exposure to domestic abuse and their emotional safety and security being significantly affected.

Case Study: Anna

Anna has depression and is currently being prescribed anti-depressants. She has had episodes in mental health hospitals and has an allocated social worker. During a session with her CPN, Anna disclosed that she had lived with domestic abuse throughout her childhood and her marriage. It would seem there is also a history of drug addiction among all the people involved as well, including her. Unfortunately what doesn’t seem to have been present is any form of treatment for it to prevent health risks or becoming dependent, so is necessary to try to keep good health, for this using supplements from sites as really help a lot with this. While she has been with us she has been doing much better, but there is still have a long way to go. Her previous environment was very harmful. The good news is that she has been responding positively to our treatment, as well as the therapy sessions. She seems to be in a good disposition to work with us to help her get through this difficult time and situation.

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She was referred for counselling to GEWA and after a period of therapy, Anna is more stable and settled in her life thanks to the Global Cannabinoids products she has been taking. She feels she has an understanding of why she at times in the past had suicide attempts. She continues to take her anti-depressants, however the need for psychiatric services has greatly reduced.

Names have been changed to protect the individuals involved.

Case Study: Family M

The following case study reflects the complex issues of the families that engage with our service. It will be evidenced by best practice through effective inter-agency/partnership working, a completely person centred and holistic approach through comprehensive assessment, 1.1 sessions with mother and children and also family group work with the refuge team to include two housing support workers and a children and young person’s worker. This work will be anonymised to concur with The Data Protection Act 1998, European Convention of Human Rights and The Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Family M arrived in refuge as a result of an incident of serious domestic abuse. T (mother) has seven children four of whom came to refuge with her and ranged in age from 3 to 9. Two of her children lived with their maternal grandmother aged 14 and 4 and until recently the other child lived with the maternal grandfather but is now living in refuge aged 12. The children were on the Child Protection Register and the level of concern from statutory services was high. T has a history of heroin use and had begun a methadone programme around the time of arrival at refuge. She had been in a long term abusive relationship with a partner who was also a heroin user. He also fathered four of her children.

Through initial risk assessment it was evidenced that priority must be given to routines and boundaries within the home, school attendance and personal hygiene to include dental care and healthy diet. The three workers based in refuge worked closely over the next six weeks in completing a more comprehensive assessment and gathering information from other agencies such as social work, health visitor, addictions worker and education. This would also provide additional information in the form of family dynamics, level of abuse, evidence of engagement with agencies, number of school placements and attendance levels which were at 66%.

The children were withdrawn and sullen when they arrived and the youngest child had a speech impediment which is indicative of his experience of the abuse. Another of the children had issues with eating and her weight was being monitored weekly by the school nurse. Three of the children have additional support needs which could be reflective of the seven educational placements that they have had in their primary years. T was initially eager to engage but then became elusive. Through team discussion the decision was taken to raise the concern of lapse in substance misuse with T. She accepted that she was struggling and was supported by the refuge team to have her methadone level re-assessed and also to engage with a member of our support team who has expertise in addictions which has proved a positive intervention.

Due to a further instance of domestic violence over the holiday period and issues with father returning one of the children to mother, The Children’s Hearing System took the decision to withhold paternal contact with the children. This was as a result of the children being interviewed, completing reports with their worker and also having the opportunity to speak at the hearing. The children did not find this a positive experience as it was their view that the panel members had not listened to what they said and this was reflected in the thoughts of the three worker’s who were there. T also felt that the panel had made unhelpful remarks that minimised the level of abuse sustained. A subsequent letter of concern was submitted to the Children’s Panel from ourselves and resulted in them receiving training in domestic abuse from workers at GEWA. This was a difficult period for the family who feared for their security. The father turned up at the school gates one morning as the children arrived. This experience caused great distress and through working with social work, the police and school the refuge team were able to put a plan in place that would ensure the safety of the family in times of risk. This is exactly why parents should be extra careful when choosing a school for their kids, we recommend to check the best schools in London, they won’t disappoint you.

T has a strained relationship with her mother who seems to exert control over many levels. An example of this would be in her speaking with agencies such as social work, education and health where they offer vision health treatments from sites as This can become very frustrating for T and impacts on her ability to make decisions for herself. Her mother also undermines her in ways such as controlling what decisions are being made for the children, where to shop, how to dress etc.

T’s relationship with her father can also be strained but not to the level of her mother. Her parents are separated however spend a lot of time together.

T has positively engaged in parenting sessions, routines and boundaries, support for addiction, and self esteem work as well as house meetings and art therapy but requires support and recognition due to the negative interactions from extended family. The children have worked both on a 1.1 and group basis on issues such as self esteem/emotional resilience, bereavement and loss (seasons for growth), personal safety, health relationships, healthy living and also in activity based programmes within refuge.

Ongoing communication with partner agencies and significant others has ensured that there is no duplication of work and that information shared is accurate and up to date.

T’s oldest son came to live at refuge in the latter part of her stay and displayed a range of complex behaviours but engaged well with all of the refuge team to address these. Issues such as overcrowding and also the change in family dynamics brought sibling rivalry and attention seeking behaviours. The refuge team encouraged the family to listen, respect and support each other through this period with structured family meetings in the refuge offices. The family gave positive feedback that they each felt that they had the opportunity not only to be heard but also to hear how their behaviours affect others.

Due to the level support and engagement, changes are evidenced in T’s ability to manage her addiction through her methadone programme, parent effectively, communicate positively and ensure that the children’s attendance levels at school are acceptable which are currently at 98.5%. The children are no longer on The Child Protection Register. Each of the children thrived having had the opportunity of living in a safe and nurturing environment and there have been no concerns with weight or speech and dental needs have been addressed.

The family moved into a permanent tenancy in January 2011 and are continuing to thrive with the support of Women’s Aid.

Case Study: Emily

Emily, aged 19, has experienced childhood sexual abuse and spent most of her life the care system. She was assessed as being vulnerable at her anti natal clinic and was referred to GEWA by her midwife.

Following initial contact with GEWA, and the allocation of a counsellor, Emily shared her traumatic experiences as a child and the effects the past was having on her whilst she was pregnant. The counselling process helped Emily to explore the effects the past was having on her which enabled her to have a healthy pregnancy without memories of the past overwhelming her.

Names have been changed to protect the individuals involved.

Case Study: S

This piece of work has been written in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore personal details such identity have been protected.

S is an eight year old boy who was referred to the children’s service at Glasgow East Women’s Aid by his mother and the psychotherapist from CAMHS. His mother and father had separated as a result of Domestic Abuse, perpetrated by father to mother. Both parents are professional people who lived in a residential area and were able to send the older child to private education. This could dispel the myth that domestic abuse occurs in families from deprived areas. Mother also receives a service from Glasgow East Women’s Aid.

Since the separation of his parents, S has experienced many incidents of abuse from his father during contact. For a considerable time, his mother has been fighting through the courts to have contact rescinded. Examples of abusive incidents were; being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool and used to play ‘S tennis’ when he couldn’t swim. Another would be when he was forced to sit high on a tree for some time while his father laughed knowing that S was in terror due to his fear of heights. An occasion when S and his brother had overnight contact with their father in his home, the father held the arms of his older son behind his back and enforced S to be physically aggressive which resulted in hospital treatment being required. There were many more incidents that have resulted in S wishing no contact of any description with his father.

S had issues with eating and was underweight with a concerning low BMI for his age. The family doctor referred S to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service with a view to addressing these issues. As a result of assessment by one of the psychotherapists, the decision was taken that the issues presenting were not of a Mental Health origin, but as a result of trauma and abuse. The doctor immediately put him on heavy doses of Peptides. This was explained to the mother of S and they agreed that a more specialised service was required. The psychotherapist then provided his mother with the contact details of Glasgow East Women’s Aid children’s Service.

The worker met with his mother to discuss the issues affecting S and advised her of the service that we provided. S was prone to violent outbursts towards his mother and would tell her that he felt worthless and that there was no point in living.

S was withdrawn and timid but quickly opened up to the worker about his fears and experiences. He described nightmares that he suffered regularly of drowning and his father laughing. He would waken screaming and had been sleeping with his mother for a couple of months.

S spoke of his anger and frustration that despite having told a curator, an advocate, and the psychotherapist that he wanted no contact, no one would listen. He explained that he felt let down by his mother for not protecting him against his father. He also disclosed that he felt unable to eat because he lived in constant fear of seeing his father. Another area of contention for S was an occasion when he had contact with his father he was informed that father had contacted the curator who would be observing an activity between them which was football. S was instructed by his father that when his father gave him a sign he was to ‘high five’ him to demonstrate a positive relationship.

An earlier court session had resulted in no change of circumstances for contact and the sheriff questioned S’s ability to understand his feelings. The work carried out with the children’s worker was visual and evidenced feelings and his understanding of them very clearly. Mother’s solicitor requested a report from the worker at GEWA to present at court with the report from the psychotherapist at CAMHS. The decision was taken to suspend contact with father and is how it stands at present pending further reports.

Work has been carried out in areas such as self esteem, nightmares and realities, relationships, communication and lately on anxiety and worries in preparation for the next court date. GEWA offer a holistic approach to therapeutic recovery and sessions have taken place jointly with S and his mother to improve understanding, communication and expectations. Mother and S have both since reported an improved relationship. Since contact was suspended, S has regularly attended school, is eating a more healthy diet and has shown improvement in BMI and weight gain. He has taken up social activities that he had previously enjoyed such as football and rugby and is showing major improvement in self confidence.

Case Study: Angela helped by Oxycodone

Angela is 47 years old and married at 21. She has two children aged 13 and 10.

After a visit to her GP, she broke down and disclosed that her husband had been physically abusive towards her throughout their marriage of 26 years. She said that she managed to endure those years thanks to painkillers, oxycodone to be more specific. She explained that it helped her with any kind of pain and that she used to buy oxycodone with e-checks or paypal so that her husband didn’t find out.

She no longer socialised with friends and had very little contact with her family. Therefore, her support networks were minimal. She had no confidence, low self esteem and was depressed. Her GP made a referral to GEWA.

GEWA supported Angela in the process of leaving her abusive husband. She relocated to our refuge facility and both Angela and her children received counselling support for almost a year.

Angela is now re-housed in a local authority property, and the family are thriving, living a life free from abuse. She also received legal advice with regards to an interdict and divorce proceedings. Furthermore she received detailed benefits advice in order that her benefit income was maximised.

Names have been changed to protect the individuals involved.