How my Criminology & Criminal Justice MA has enabled me to support victims of domestic violence
Me and my role
My name is Lisinayte Lopes, I am originally from Sao Tome and Principe. I work as an outreach support worker for BAWSO in North Wales and my role is to support victims of domestic violence. I speak Portuguese as a first language which enables me to reach out to many people from the Portuguese community living across North Wales as well as victims from othernationalities. My role involves supporting victims, providing emotional and practical support, advice and information. This also includes BME men who experience domestic abuse from partners and family members.
MA in Criminology & Criminal Justice
I gained a degree in Social Work in Portugal and last September finished my Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wrexham Glyndwr University. I completed my research looking at Human Trafficking in North Wales. The research aimed to examine the issue of human trafficking in North Wales and offer a broad picture of current practices used to support victims and gain a better understanding of the perceptions of both the victims and the front-line staff working with them.
During my studies at Glyndwr my intention was to use semi-structured interviews with support workers in BAWSO who work directly with victims of human trafficking and with the North Wales Police Crime Commissioner. Due to Covid-19, I had to change those plans. I was mindful of the incredible pressure front line staff are under at the moment due to Covid-19. Therefore, I completed an extended literature review, which provided a comprehensive and critical discussion on the topic.
The importance of recognising human trafficking
I became interested in the topic because human trafficking is a global problem and one of the world's most shameful crimes, affecting the lives of millions of people around the world and robbing them of their dignity.
Traffickers deceive women, men and children from all corners of the world and force them into exploitative situations every day. Trafficked persons are recognised as victims of crime and therefore, granted the protection measures provided by law. It increases the ability of the police to gather evidence in investigations. It allows trafficked persons to make informed decisions about their future.
Human trafficking is a massive violation of human rights, as the perpetrators are holding a human being in captivity and forcing them to work without being able to make their own decisions. We are responsible for the advancement of our race as a whole, and the people who take advantage of those who can't fight back should be brought to justice.
Awareness and education are the key to beating human trafficking. Everyone needs to be aware of indicators of human trafficking such as multiple people in a cramped space, employers holding identity documents, poor living conditions, living with an employer, inability to speak to an individual alone, signs of physical abuse, victims submissive or fearful etc.
Human trafficking is a crime that shames us all. Victims needs to be aware that there is help out there for them.
Any trafficking or slavery victim, can get help and support through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). This process identifies victims of human trafficking or slavery and ensures they receive the right protection and support.
Victims can only be referred to the NRM if they give consent. Contact the Police if victims want to be referred.
If victims enter the NRM, they can get help with:
- living expenses
- access to health and social care
- legal and immigration advice
If you don't want to use the National Referral Mechanism, you might get help from others organisations. If you are under 18 years old, a Health and Social Care Trust will give support.
I have credited the support I have received at Glyndwr, as well as the ability to carry out much of my studies online, for helping me to continue with my role at BAWSO. I strongly believe that education is the most empowering force in the world. It has opened doors for me. My current studies have enabled me to gain more knowledge and confidence and helps me to break down barriers.
I loved studying at Glyndwr University, I have had excellent lecturers and my tutor was always there for me when I needed them. I was a part time student and most of my work was online - the university kept the processes simple and effective.