What happens if the person chooses not to access support?
It is important to remember that the person experiencing abuse may not wish to accept or explore support options at that time.
Perpetrators of domestic abuse encourage their victims to believe the abuse is their fault and their own behaviour is to blame. Victims may also minimise what is happening to them in an attempt to deescalate proceedings as a survival measure.
Individuals affected by domestic abuse often may not recognise their experience /relationship as abusive. Many victims of domestic violence and abuse will try to justify the behaviour of those who abuse them because they still love and care for them.
The victim may still be invested in the relationship and fear that choices may be taken out of their hands. It is important to provide reassurance that specialist domestic abuse services will make no assumptions and move at the individual's pace.
Regardless, it is important to provide a consistent message that support and encouragement will be available for them in future.
In all cases, it is vital to complete appropriate risk assessment, follow safeguarding procedure, and carry out any immediate safety actions. This can be followed up with providing some initial options and discrete information card if it is safe to do so.
If you are concerned that an individual is in immediate risk of serious harm, workers must follow their own agency's safeguarding procedures.