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Living with domestic abuse

Don’t feel ashamed about being a victim of domestic abuse. You don’t have to go through things alone, it is not your fault and you deserve help.

Leaving an abusive relationship isn’t easy but remember that you deserve better and is support out there to help you.

This webpage aims to provide victims of domestic abuse with information on how to protect themselves, report their abuser and what to do in an emergency.

Prepare yourself in case of a domestic emergency

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, we recommend you;

  • when it is safe for you to do so, contact us to report your abuser 
  • confide in someone you trust, such as a neighbour, to listen out for trouble and be close by for if you need them urgently
  • make arrangements so that you have somewhere to go in an emergency
  • think about the things you would need to take with you if you need to leave in a hurry, for example: ID, money, keys and medication
  • make sure your home is secure if you don’t live with the abuser
  • tell your neighbours and local police officers who your abuser is so that they can keep a look out and alert you if they are seen in your local area.

If you find yourself needing our help in an emergency, always call 999.

What to do during a domestic incident

Advice for when an incident of domestic abuse happens;

  • get out of danger and go straight to a safe place
  • if you’re unable to get out of the house, move to a room where there is an exit window but avoid going anywhere near potential weapons such as the kitchen
  • try to keep your body language, movement and tone of voice as non-threatening as possible as it could make the offender become more violent
  • avoid entering the offenders personal space as this could escalate matters and being too close may put you in more danger
  • try to alert someone without putting yourself in more danger, for example; agree a signal with a neighbour to alert them to get help or ensure you have access to a mobile phone or a silent alarm to call for help.

What to do after a domestic incident

After an incident of domestic abuse;

  • if you’ve been injured, ensure you get medical help as soon as possible and try to get your injuries recorded with medical professionals
  • try to take photographs of your injuries as this could be used against the abuser in criminal proceedings
  • try to seek professional advice with a domestic abuse support agency as speaking to a professional may help you access the support you need and deserve – you won’t be forced to talk if you don’t want to
  • if you’re unable to seek professional help, try to tell someone you know and trust who could contact support professionals on your behalf.

Leaving your home to escape domestic abuse or violence

If you decide you’re ready to leave your home to escape the violence or abuse, try to make a plan to ensure you take everything you need with you. Consider;

  • taking all your important documents with you such as passport, driving license and bank details
  • redirecting your post and phone calls to where you are intending on staying such as a refuge or a family members house
  • thinking about opening your own bank account if you currently have no financial independence – you’ll then be able to keep your details confidential and financial statements will be sent through the post to your new, chosen address
  • packing a bag to allow you to leave quickly -  keep it in a place where you can retrieve it easily and where your abuser won’t be able to find it.

After you leave your home

If you go to a refuge, always remember that you cannot tell anyone where it is. This is to keep yourself and those living there safe from harm.

If you think your abuser may start following you, try to make a plan so that if you are being followed you can go straight to a safe place, such as a friend’s house. You may also consider changing the places you regularly visit to avoid any confrontation e.g. shops, doctors, dentist etc.

If you’re a parent, your children could be involved in your safety plan. You should create a code word that tells them to call the police, get out of the house, or alert a relative or neighbour. Sometimes it isn’t always necessary to tell your children everything, but keep this in mind as it may be a safe option for both you and them.

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