Domestic abuse means any threats, violence, controlling or coercive behaviour that takes place between family members or people aged over 16 who are in a relationship with each other (or have been in the past). Domestic abuse can happen regardless of gender, social group, class, age, race, disability or sexuality of the individuals involved.
This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes honour based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
How should I feel following domestic abuse?
Help and support is available
Domestic abuse can leave you feeling trapped, lonely and frightened. It is important to remember that it is not your fault, and there is help and support to keep you and your family safe.
What can I do if I’m suffering from domestic abuse?
Remember call the police in an emergency on 999 or 101 for all non-emergencies.
If you’d rather speak to an independent voice about the situation, the experienced team at Victim Care are here to help.
Making A Safety Plan:
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, having a safety plan could help reduce the risk to yourself and your children. A plan will help you to keep safe both within the relationship, and if you decide to leave.
- Leave with support and at a time you know your partner will not be around. Try to take everything you will need with you, including any important documents relating to yourself and your children, as you may not be able to return later.
- Use the links about local organisations offering information and support. The Women’s Aid Survivor’s Handbook is an excellent source of information.
- Keep a diary of domestic abuse incidents and keep it safe
- Work out where you can quickly and easily access a phone (mobile, neighbour, relative or friend)
- Carry a list of emergency numbers, including relatives, friends and local police
- Have an extra set of keys cut for your home and car
- Keep the keys and some spare clothes for you and your children packed and ready – leave them somewhere safe, perhaps with a trusted friend or relative
- Keep documents somewhere safe, ready to take – birth certificates, benefit books and passports (if you can’t get the originals make a photocopy)
- Put aside a small amount of money for bus, train or taxi fares.
- Some form of identification.
- Birth certificates for you and your children.
- Passports (including passports for all your children), visas and work permits.
- Money, bankbooks, cheque book, credit and debit cards.
- Keys for house, car, and place of work. (You could get an extra set of keys cut, and put them in your emergency bag.)
- Cards for payment of Child Benefit and any other welfare benefits you are entitled to.
- Driving licence (if you have one) and car registration documents, if applicable.
- Prescribed medication.
- Copies of documents relating to your housing tenure (for example, mortgage details or lease and rental agreements).
- Insurance documents, including national insurance number.
- Address book.
- Items of sentimental value.- family photographs, your diary, jewellery.
- Clothing and toiletries for you and your children.
- Your children’s favourite small toys.
- You should also take any documentation relating to the abuse – e.g. police reports, court orders such as injunctions and restraining orders, and copies of medical records if you have them.
- Avoid any places, such as shops, banks, cafes, that you used to use when you were together.
- Alter your routines as much as you can.
- If you have any regular appointments that your partner knows about (for example, with a counsellor or health practitioner) try to change your appointment time and/or the location of the appointment.
- Choose a safe route, or alter the route you take or the form of transport you use, when approaching or leaving places you cannot avoid – such as your place of work, the children’s school, or your GP’s surgery.
- Tell your children’s school, nursery or childminder what has happened, and let them know who will pick them up. Make sure they do not release the children to anyone else, or give your new address or telephone number to anyone. (You may want to establish a password with them, and give them copies of any court orders, if you have them.)
- Consider telling your employer or others at your place of work – particularly if you think your partner/ex-partner may try to contact you there.
- Identify all your digital electronic devices such as mobile phone, tablet, laptop or Bluetooth tag trackers which could be ‘tracked’; this is only supposed to happen if you have given your permission. However, should your partner/ex-partner has had access to your digital electronic devices; they could use these to track you. If you think this could be the case, you should contact the company providing the tracking facility, refer to your devices manufactures reset settings and check all mobile app settings. Remember to check any devices your children may also have access too.
- Ensure you change online passwords and apply security settings on all your social media and online accounts such as banks, utility bills and online shopping accounts.
- Avoid using shared credit or debit cards or joint bank accounts: if the statement is accessible physically or digitally to your partner/ex-partner, they will see the transactions you have made and where the transactions took place.
- Make sure that your address does not appear on any court papers. (If you are staying in a refuge, they will advise you on this.)
- If you need to phone your partner/ex-partner (or anyone with whom they are in contact), make sure your telephone number is untraceable by dialling 141 before ringing.
- Talk to your children about the need to keep your address and location confidential.
Additional Support Services
Womens Aid National Domestic Abuse Helpline
Available 24/7 for help and advice. 0808 2000 247
National Centre for Domestic Violence
Free emergency legal support and help.0800 970 2070
Men’s Advice Line
Help and advice for men in abusive relationships. 0808 801 0327
Help and advice for men in abusive relationships. 01823 334244
Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse. 0800 999 5428.
Domestic abuse and sexual abuse adviceand support.111
Home office website promoting healthy relationship advice for young people.
National Stalking Helpline
Help, advice and support for stalking, Tel. 0808 802 0300
Paladin Stalking Helpline
Service to assist high risk victims of stalking. 020 3866 4107
Revenge Porn Helpline
Help, advice and support if someone has shared your intimate images online without your consent. 0345 6000 459
Available 24/7 Provides support, advice and information: 0300 561 0077
The Harbour Centre (Sexual Assault Referral Centre)
Provides a caring, sensitive and dedicated service for victims of rape and serious sexual assault: 01603 276381
Help, advice and safeguarding information. Non-emergency dial 101
Provides support, advice and information. 01473 745 111
The Ferns (Sexual Assault Referral Centre)
Provides a caring, sensitive and dedicated service for victims of rape and serious sexual assault: 0300 123 5058
Help, advice and safeguarding information. Non-emergency dial 101