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WHY DOESN’T SHE LEAVE ?

One of the most frequently asked questions in relation to domestic abuse is ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’ Leaving a perpetrator of domestic abuse is seen as the ultimate answer and it is one that many of our services focus upon. Many practitioners feel frustration when a woman experiencing abuse stays with the perpetrator and, where children are involved, child protection is often invoked on the grounds that she is ‘failing to protect’ those children. But how many women experiencing abuse are still living with their partner? And does leaving a perpetrator really mean safety? Furthermore, how easy is it simply to ‘leave’?

This training session will highlight research literature in relation to domestic abuse and leaving and introduce theoretical models that help practitioners work more effectively with their clients. Delegates will get the opportunity of applying the models covered to illuminate their implications for practice.
By the end of the session delegates will:

  • Consider what research literature tells us about the answer to “why doesn’t she just leave?”
  • Apply Evan Stark’s theory of coercive control and Michael Johnson’s theory of intimate terrorism to our understanding of the practical and psychological barriers associated with leaving a partner who abuses
  • Use these theories to consider the actual lived experience of abuse
  • Identify practice changes that reflect this new understanding and encourage practice that increases safety and decreases harm.

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