Some clients who come to ACCORD for counselling have experienced domestic abuse in their relationships, others have engaged in abusive behaviours. Both males and females can behave abusively. ACCORD understands that it can be very difficult for those in abusive relationships to acknowledge their situation and make the decision to attend counselling. Nonetheless, ACCORD encourages those in abusive relationships to come to ACCORD to begin the process of changing behaviours, and as a consequence, their lives and those of their children and families, for the better, in terms of safety and quality of life.
All ACCORD counsellors receive training in working with domestic abuse as part of their core counsellor training and are knowledgeable and skilled in working with individuals and couples in such situations. Domestic Abuse can take many forms, physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial. It is a complex issue and can range from reciprocal out of order behaviour by couples towards one another, where there is no fear involved, to pathological behaviour perpetrated by one partner towards the other aimed at domineering, controlling and frightening their partner.
Depending on the history and nature of the abuse and the level of risk involved the ACCORD counsellor, in consultation with their supervisor, as appropriate, will assess and decide whether a couple will be counselled individually or jointly. This decision will be made in the interests of the safety of the partner who has been the recipient of abusive behaviours. ACCORD’s priority at all times is the safety of its clients, their children and families. Counsellors are guided by ACCORD’s policy and procedures for working safely and ethically with domestic abuse
Individuals who have used abusive behaviours towards their partners will be asked to take responsibility for and refrain from such behaviours with immediate effect. ACCORD has a zero- tolerance policy towards abuse of any kind. They will also receive information about other supports for individuals who have used abusive behaviours and are committed to change.
Individuals who have been the target of abusive behaviours will be supported to take responsibility for their own safety and that of any children in the relationship/ home and will be encouraged to have a safety plan in place for themselves and their children in the event of any unsafe situation occurring for them. They will also receive information about other supports available for recipients and targets of abusive behaviours.