Simon’s Story

I phoned a national men’s helpline and told them what had happened and how I felt. My partner was very controlling and had started to threaten to hurt me. The helpline reassured me and referred me to DSAM which is part if the Derbyshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Service (DDVSAS) that helps male victims. The DDVSAS helpline worker, Julie, phoned me back and undertook a risk assessment with me and said that she would ring me back the next day to confirm if I could be allocated a place in their male refuge. Thank fully I was offered a place and she spoke with my local council to arrange for them to organize bed and breakfast for me so that I could travel to North Derbyshire the following day.

I was very nervous during the train journey as I did not know what to expect, but Julie rang me to check I was alright. I probably felt more nervous as I am from a LGBT back ground and I was concerned about what the refuge and other tenants would be like. The DDVSAS advice centre (where the helpline is based) arranged a taxi from the train station to the refuge and I was met there by a refuge worker called Sarah. I was feeling very daunted by the whole experience.

Sarah and Genna (the refuge workers) have helped me to claim the correct benefits, get registered at a local GHP surgery and also with additional help like specialist domestic violence counselling and a grant to help me buy some new clothes. Most importantly I have felt secure knowing I am in a safe environment and with people who understand about me being from an LGBT background. I feel the support I have had from staff whilst at the refuge has been outstanding and the counselling I am undertaking though the DDVSAS counselling service has helped me move forward. I am making progress each week and I am overcoming confidence issues. I feel this will help me in the future identify any potential abuser.

DDVSAS helped me apply for a tenancy with the local authority and within two months of coming in to the refuge I have my own flat. I can now maintain my life for the future whereas I was falling apart but now I have survived and achieved.

As an LGBT coming into this organisation I believe anyone similar coming into the service would benefit from being in this safe and secure environment without worrying about being open about their sexuality. I will pass on any information about DDVSAS to Broken Rainbow so they are aware where to send people to feel supported and safe. I would like to thank Julie who organized getting me away from the perpetrator and Sarah and Genna for supporting me in the refuge. Now I have my own place DDVSAS are providing an outreach worker to help me get back into reality.

                                                                                                                                           

Laura’s Story

I am a third year Social Worker student and my placement at North Derbyshire Women’s Aid has been extremely positive.  It has widened my knowledge base and has provided me with experiences and opportunities that will better equip me to work as a Social Worker in a team advising and supporting service users.  The support I have received from the team has been excellent and they made me feel extremely welcome, encouraged me, helped me gain in confidence and enabled me to work autonomously with a designated case-load. I have gained so much from their knowledge and expertise whilst putting theory into practice, working directly with the children and their families, how to identify signs of domestic violence and how a child’s experience can impact upon their future and that of their families.

                                                                                                                                                                           

JS’s Story

I have been able to build my confidence and communication skills whilst on social work placement with NDWA. I have received a lot of support from the other workers at NDWA as well as my practice supervisor and educator which has given me the confidence to progress in my career. I have been able to write support letters, experience multi – agency working, write in client files, support service users with housing and benefits. This has widened my knowledge in preparation for my next placement, as well as learning a lot about domestic abuse and the effects this has on a person. I am very grateful to feel a part of the team and to be able to share the knowledge I have gained with new relief staff.

As this was my last placement learning opportunity I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with everyone at North Derbyshire Women’s Aid. Every single one of you has been helpful to me. I would like to thank everyone at North Derbyshire Women’s aid for accepting me as part of the team and helping me to be successful in completing my placement here. I have loved my time here and thank you all for your support. I feel that I have developed so much since being here and have gained so much knowledge; which I will take with me and will enable me to be successful in my career.

                                                                                                               

K’s Story

I have been on a 50 day placement for my art therapy MA at North Derbyshire Woman’s Aid. I have found the experience invaluable and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the women I have. I also greatly enjoyed working alongside other staff members and learning about Woman’s Aid and the work they do.

                                                                                                                

Jodie’s Story

My placement at the NDWA advice centre was excellent. I was able to do a great variety of work including risk assessments, safety planning, answering the telephone helpline and working one to one with service users. I was able to obtain a vast amount of evidence for my portfolio. All members of staff have been friendly and a pleasure to work with and I was made to feel an important part of the team. My practice educator was very supportive and we had valuable discussions to enhance my academic knowledge. I really enjoyed my placement and continue to enjoy working for NDWA on a relief basis.

                                                                                                                

Catherine’s Story

My social work placement at NDWA provided me with a supervisor who has been an approachable, enthusiastic and thoughtful mentor from the start and has been instrumental in me feeling welcomed and supported through the placement process. I have never felt as though I cannot approach her or any other worker with an issue and her warm and friendly way of working has meant NDWA has been a great environment to come to work: I have looked forward to every day. I have really appreciated the warmth, advice and support offered by all Women’s Aid staff from the domestic assistants to management.