Drug misuse may affect someone‘s ability to access and engage with
domestic violence (and other victim support) services, and vice versa. DrugScope‘s ‗Using
Women‘ report found that only one in 10 of the 450 refuges in Britain for women fleeing
domestic violence had a policy of automatically letting in women with drug problems.
Another study found that women‘s access to, and engagement with, treatment services is
negatively affected by domestic abuse and that most service providers had not yet taken
steps to identify and address this issue. Some of the barriers to accessing treatment that
were identified included concerns over childcare, perpetrator control, lack of gender-specific
provision and a lack of refuge access for women using substances.
Domestic abuse cannot be blamed on drugs. Some perpetrators may have been taking drugs when they are abusive, but many have not. Also they are not generally abusing everyone; they are able to control their behaviour so that it is only towards their partners or family members.
Domestic abuse is far more prevalent however in households where alcohol or drugs are being misused and it is common for alcohol or drugs to be used by victims of abuse as a coping strategy to deal with the abuse they are experiencing.