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New specialist service launches to support victims of domestic abuse

Thursday 19 September 2019

A new specialist counselling service is launching at the University of Salford to help support victims of domestic abuse in the local community.

Counsellors working in the new service have all received specialist training through a programme which was developed at the university. The training is based on client research looking at what is helpful and unhelpful in responding to people experiencing psychological difficulties as a result of domestic violence. 

Research across the world over the last 20+ years has shown that general counselling is of limited value when working with people who have experienced domestic violence. Clients have indicated how helpful it is to work with someone who both understands the way domestic violence happens and how they might have been impacted as a result. 

Many people experience mental health difficulties after domestic abuse, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and trauma, which can last for many years after the abuse has ended. 

The new training programme, which consisted of 42 hours of training over three weeks, involved academics and trainers from across the university and voluntary sector. It specifically prepares counsellors to work with this client group by looking at how people use and experience power and control, rather than using a gender-based approach. This means it is suitable for people of any background, gender or sexuality who have previously been in an abusive relationship.

The programme is based on research conducted over the last eight years by Dr Jeannette Roddy, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Salford.

Jeannette said: “We are delighted to be launching this new service at the University of Salford. The 10 practitioners (both qualified and trainee counsellors) come from a range of backgrounds and are united in their desire to provide a counselling service for all those who have experienced domestic abuse, irrespective of gender, age, sexuality or race. 

“The service will form part of the university’s research programme into domestic violence counselling. This means that individuals taking part in the research programme will be benefitting from previous research participants’ experiences, as well as contributing to future knowledge.”

Clients can self-refer now through an online portal service and should simply state domestic abuse or violence when asked what they wish to work on in counselling. A link to the service can be found here

Find out more

Róisín Schofield

0161 295 2929