A day in the life of a domestic abuse support worker

Ingrid helps victims of domestic abuse who have survived an abusive relationship, by supporting them to re-build their lives. We asked Ingrid to give us an insight in to her role and what a typical day looks like.

Ingrid is based at a communal refuge in Nottingham where she supports 12 women and their children. There are also four, three-bed properties in the local community for families who don’t require high level support. Ingrid does this with the help from two other support workers. There is also a full-time children and young person’s worker. She has five years of experience of working with domestic abuse survivors.

“My role is to support women during their time in our service. We aim to provide a safe place for them to live and provide them the support they need to re-build their lives. No two days are the same. It can be emotionally draining and frustrating at times, but it is worth it. It’s important to lean on your team when you feel like that, NCHA also has a good wellbeing service if you need more support with your own feelings. I am very passionate about what I do because it's about providing a better quality of life for survivors and their families.

“Talking to ladies about intimate and often embarrassing incidents can be hard. These ladies are often confused and scared and find it hard to open up. A big part of my job is listening and building trust. I need to make that connection.

“Sometimes it helps to find some common ground, so I tell them my own story. I’m a survivor too. I was assaulted during my pregnancy and suffered a miscarriage. I knew when I was offered the job I could use my experience positively to support others.

“During the day I have key worker plans to work through, but I let the women we support lead these conversations. Some days are harder than others, so sometimes, we will just chat over coffee or take a long walk. It is important we listen and help solve problems.

“I am not alone, I work in a wider team that includes external agencies (e.g. social care; police; job centre and benefits agencies) There is also a Crisis Team we can contact when we believe a life is a risk.

“The main challenge I face in this role is wanting to support survivors of domestic abuse who are not yet ready to receive that support. The ladies we meet at first are often broken, with no self-worth and it can take some to re-build their confidence.”

At NCHA we provide support and safe, secure housing to people and families living with, or fleeing domestic abuse. If you have the passion to support people to live a stable and safe life free from domestic abuse, we need you. Take a look at our job vacancies today.