Domestic  (or "intimate partner") violence

In November, 2021, as part of the PIElink community of practice lunchtime forums, Season Three (HERE), we hosted a discussion on PIEs in domestic violence, and related issues.  That discussion was very wide-ranging; and so far it has not been possible to write up and share a summary.

This is an issue to which otherwise we have devoted too little attention in the past; with scope to explore further, in future forums.   For the future ('Season Five') programme,  see: HERE.

For the moment, here below we have a summary of some of the themes and issues, from the members' Library.


Violence and trauma

The original guidance documents that first launched the concept of a Psychologically Informed Environment in homelessness work were quite clear that the same thinking could be found, and could certainly be consciously applied, in the context of a refuge.

One recent paper here, and one video, suggest the close links between Trauma Informed Care and PIEs, in domestic/'intimate partner' violence; and others then explore the emotional complexity that we need to appreciate.

The first, the paper from Jacqui Smith of the Young Women's Housing Project, South Yorkshire, takes as read the link, with TIC operationalised in PIEs.  The video, from Elizabeth Eastlund of Rainbow services in California, suggests that the PIE framework offers a clearer direction of travel, and an outcome, for those developing TIC as an in-put.  

(NB: Eastlund was also co-ordinator of a published statement on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Homelessness programs in the US, which warned that refuge services in the US may be under threat from an overly rigid interpretation of Housing First by the US government department.)


Contrasting views

Then, in Beyond Binary - domestic violence and complex needs, Prof Jo Little and Sian Hawkins discuss the need to better understand the complexity of emotions that can accompany fleeing domestic violence.

We also have here two alternative and radically differing views of refuge, with two very different 'psychological models'. 

In a presentation on the development of Gloucester Domestic Abuse Support Service, Sally Morrisey outlines the thinking behind NOT having refuges as the first line of response.   Instead of their previous reliance on refuges, as a response to safety concerns, the new model here implements what is, in psychological terms, a strengths model; and what is known in criminal justice terms as a 'target hardening' approach.

In compete contrast, we then have an article by Erin Pizzey, the founder and prime mover of Chiswick Women's Aid, the first ever refuge for women escaping domestic violence, which will doubtless be controversial.

Pizzey herself is not afraid to be bold and even provocative; and the story that she describes here, of the founding of the refuge for women escaping domestic violence, is certainly that.  It was her forthright views on women's own capacity for violence that shocked the emerging Women's Movement of the 1970s.  

Beyond this storm, however, the suggestion that there may be a therapeutic value in chaos - and that for some, a degree of chaos can even be a necessity, to enable them to engage effectively -  may prove equally controversial, equally at odds with the prevailing contemporary culture of service provision, which prefers carefully planned, tested and professionally controlled interventions.

(Chiswick Women's Aid was also, incidentally, very much a dispersed, peer support community.)


Peer support and a community approach

By contrast again, the video interview with Sian Erickson suggest there is scope in peer support with an approach that seems to reconcile the contrasting approaches of Gloucester and Chiswick.

Here she describes the development of her peer mentoring project for child protection support in the drug and alcohol services in Anglesey, North Wales. Siam describes first her own journey of discovery, as a health visitor.

From recognising her mounting discomfort with the authority figure role, and the dysfunctional, blaming culture of child protection, to working WITH parents - including the fathers - she has been developing a peer support and peer mentoring approach.

NB: This novel approach is now being researched, in conjunction with Cardiff University and the Anglesey Integrated Family Support Service.

Further background reading/listening/viewing


PIElink pages


Library items

Beyond binary - domestic violence and complex needs; Jenny Murray with Jo Little and Sian Hawkins (HERE)

Person-centred, holistic, psychologically informed : the Young Women’s Housing Project approach:  Jacqui Smith HERE

Rainbow services: Trauma Informed Care and Psychologically Informed Environments with Intimate Partner Violence services in Los Angeles : Elizabeth Eastlund (video of a presentation to National Alliance to End Homelessness, Los Angeles, 2017) HERE

Supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse: Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Service: Sally Morrissey   (presentation at Chartered Institute for Housing conference, Torbay, 2016) HERE

also: "The sheer irrationality of controlling violence" Helen Keats:  (pending)

Marinated in violence: therapeutic intervention for victims of domestic abuse: Erin Pizzey HERE

'Reflections on Marinated in Violence' (video interview with Erin Pizzey that accompanies this paper)  : HERE


From: Recently added to the Library (HERE)

Trauma and violence, including domestic violence

  • The effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for adolescent or adult survivors of recent rape or sexual assault : (HERE)
  • Inter-relationship of Post-traumatic Stress, Hassles, Uplifts, and Coping in Women With a History of Severe Sexual Abuse - A Cross-Sectional Study : (HERE)
  • Liminal identities - research ethics, power, & portraits of DV surviving : (HERE)
  • Recognising & responding to domestic violence & abuse - a quick guide : (HERE)
  • Seeking sanctuary- rethinking asylum and mental health: (HERE)
  • WHA toolkit on domestic abuse in supported housing & homelessness services : (HERE)
  • Hurt to homeless - breaking the cycle of trauma : (HERE)
  • Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) Pilot Evaluation Report : (HERE)

Housing Care & Support Editorial comment on 'Marinated in violence' Robin Johnson : No longer available 

See also: Recently added to the Library : HERE

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