The Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS)
The Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) Service delivered by Safer Communities, Scottish Borders’ Council supports survivors of domestic abuse, with risk assessments and planning for their safety. Many of the women they work with are considered high risk because of the abuse, and a lot them have children who also experienced abuse.
DAAS carries out diverse and creative work to get the best outcomes for victims. It is often very difficult for our older victims to leave the perpetrator, especially when they have disabilities and are so invested in the relationship. They are the least likely age group to access domestic abuse services and are often the most isolated.
Lena (not her real name) was 82 years old had arthritis, impaired hearing and sight, and was a wheelchair user. She was referred to DAAS after a police incident. The perpetrator, who Lena had been married to for 30 years and was registered as her carer, had stuck Lena to the face, grabbed her arm and shouted racial abuse at her. Lena for the first time managed to get away and call 999 and tell the police what had happened. She was very frightened.
The police made a referral to DAAS and we contacted Lena within 24 hours but by then Lena was very anxious and didn’t want to talk to us. She, understandably, did not want to leave her home as the perpetrator had been due to appear in court and had special bail not to return to their home. He was subsequently charged with breach of the peace and assault. We discussed this with the homeless team and decided that the best option was for the perpetrator to move to the other side of the Borders which allowed us to work with Lena to implement a range of safety measures.
With Lena’s consent, we were able to liaise with her daughter who was able to disclose that there had been physical and emotional abuse for much of the relationship. Lena said that she was frightened of her husband but didn’t want to worry anyone. She had phoned the police as she had feared for her life.
After carrying out a risk assessment it was concluded Lena was at a high risk of further harm. We completed a personal safety plan for Lena which, amongst others, included an object marker on the property ensuring Lena would get a priority response if she contacted the police, a variety of alarms such as a personal and vigilant police alarm, and a referral to adult health and social care for support in her home. As well as this Lena also met with her GP to discuss her healthcare needs and how the trauma of the abuse she suffered had impacted on her over such a lengthy period of time. Lena also regained control of her own money and was referred to victim support.
Lena’s has now moved away from the Borders and lives a mile away from her daughter’s home in England. She contacted DAAS to say she was very happy in her new home.
Quote from Lena
“I am just relieved I can live in peace now, I feel safer knowing I don’t have to rely on him anymore”
Quote from DAAS
“What Lena needed from DAAS was to look at her unique needs and not just to focus on the domestic abuse, she could not safeguard herself due to her disabilities, she relied on her husband to provide her physical care, she couldn’t get out by herself, couldn’t go shopping, manage her finances or do any normal day to day tasks. Lena had only partial sight, was in a wheel chair, she had never attempted to leave before the referral we received from police, Lena felt she had no other options as she would not have known how to access support.
Lena remained in the relationship for 30 years and was dependent on her husband, she could not see a way forward as she could not live independently and the alternative of going into an old people’s home was not an option she wanted to consider. DAAS ensured we had all the partners involved that could provide holistic support such as NHS and Adult Health and Social Care, we included her daughter in the support plan and this helped reduce the barriers to Lena, she now lives abuse free.