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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

CHALLENGE
Manager was trying to help a member of staff who was the victim of domestic violence and who did not want to leave partner.  Wanted advice on how to approach staff member to support them getting out of this destructive situation. The individual had already spoken to a domestic violence helpline service.

ACTION
Manager gave the background:  They has known the individual for several years, and likes them.  The manager had tried to persuade the member of staff to leave the partner they were living with because of the violence toward them, and threats.

The Management Consultant acknowledged that this was a very difficult situation and people cannot be easily helped especially if they do not want to leave.  Staff member wished to die, as that would solve everything.  They had no children and was lying to parents because it would upset them too much.

The manager was given some information about domestic violence:  issues of shame, low self esteem, loss of confidence, attachment to abuser, fear, brainwashing, abuser needing to control the partner for their own emotional needs and often clever and manipulative.

It was suggested the manager give up trying to persuade the individual to leave, as it was obvious to all of us that this individual is not ready to do that.  Instead, the manager could tell the person how concerned they were and felt for the well being and safety of the member of staff.  Acknowledge how sad they felt about the individual having to make these choices.

The staff member had said she would contact Corecare for counselling but had not done so to date.  The Management Consultant suggested that the manager could encourage the person to talk to a counsellor about the unhappiness (they cried a lot) rather than about leaving the relationship.  It would be the job of the counsellor to gently support the person to address their issues.

The Management Consultant also asked if there was a Refuge in the area and suggested she might take the member of staff there for a visit if that were possible, just to see the place and possibly meet other people in similar circumstances. 

RESULT/OUTCOME
The manager felt much more positive about changing her approach and liked the idea of contacting the refuge. The manager would encourage/help the individual to phone Right Corecare rather than try to continue to try to get them to leave the relationship.  This would be the role of the counsellor.

The manager was reassured that they had done everything possible to support the member of staff - but the step had to be taken by the individual.