Is Anyone Listening? Accountability and Women Survivors of Domestic Violence

By Gill Hague; Rosemary Aris et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Practical ways forward and innovation, including domestic violence survivors' forums

The humanness of trying it is what is so important and is often overlooked by boring procedures and doing it because you feel you have to, not because you are committed to it. You need the humanity of it. You need to do it on a deep 'felt and lived' level as human beings, as equals in the endeavour. Survivor accountability is a real human thing and it touches all levels. What we have learned from trying to do it here is that the people who are doing it need great commitment and humanity and depth.

(Agency worker)

'You need the humanity of it.' This powerful quote is from an agency employee working with groups of domestic violence survivors to develop ways of raising their voices and feeding their views into the policy-making process. In previous chapters, we discussed the complex general issues involved in engaging in survivor participation and consultation within domestic violence projects. In the next three chapters, we move on to discuss some of the innovative methods that are currently being tried. While inter-agency domestic violence forums and specialist projects generally appear at present to have little expertise in how to go about such consultation, there are a few pioneers who are experimenting with new and exciting ways forward from which we could all perhaps learn.


An example: Hammersmith Standing Together against Domestic Violence

The Hammersmith Standing Together project has developed an innovative multi-agency response to domestic violence, modelled, broadly speaking, on the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minnesota. One of its founding principles is 'putting the survivor at the centre of the change process' (Standing Together, 2002:9). Standing Together believes in the empowerment of women and that:

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