Domestic Violence and Counselling
Domestic violence is a public health issue affecting many millions of people worldwide. The majority of these are women. Statistics indicate that 36% of women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. In the UK specifically the Home Office estimates that 1.2 million women and 700,000 men are victims of this every year.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales indicates that those aged 16-30 are the most at risk. As a result of this most support resources have been focused in this area. These surveys however stop reporting at age 59 and so people experiencing this age 60 and over are not reported upon. It is said also that most research focuses on women up to age 45. There is little data available therefore on violence experienced by women in mid life and older. The impact of this is that women in this age group can find it difficult to gain help and support.
As well as the physical injuries, domestic violence can result in a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, panic attacks and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). With older women they may have experienced the violence for many years and this may have become ‘normal’. It may be harder for them to report historic abuse that has never been previously disclosed.
Counselling can help in many ways including:
- Talking through any changes that may want to be made.
- Speaking to someone who can understand experiences.
- Understanding how violent experiences can lead to symptoms and behaviors.
- Talking through experiences with someone who can cope with disclosures without giving pity, judgment or sympathy but showing care and compassion in a confidential setting.
- Time to talk things through – with private counselling the number and frequency of sessions can be self-led.
Therapy Today March 2016 – article by Hannah Bows and Jeannette RoddyDomestic Violence and Csounelling