Are You a Woman Being Abused?

Are You a Woman Being Abused?

Definition of abuse

Domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner's reaction is being abused.

Did you know...

  • One in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in their life.
  • Two women are killed by a current or former partner every week in England and Wales.
  • Domestic violence has the highest rate of repeat victimisation of any crime.
  • An incident of domestic violence occurs every six to 20 seconds in the UK.

Recognising abuse

  • Shouting/mocking/name calling/verbally threatening.
  • Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to commit suicide: take the children away: report you to agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up children; lying to family or friends, feeling that you have no choice in any decisions.
  • Disrespect; persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you talk; interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking; refusing to help with children or housework.
  • Breaking Trust; lying to you, withholding information from you; being jealous; having other relationships. Breaking promises and agreements.
  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends or family.
  • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who telephoned you; embarrassing you in public.
  • Threats; making angry gestures; using physical size, shouting you down, destroying your possessions; breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill you and your children.
  • Sexual violence; using force, any degrading treatment, based on your sexual orientation covering their tracks.
  • Physical violence; punching, kicking, slapping, biting, pinching, hitting, pulling hair, pushing, shoving, burning , strangling, tearing clothes.
  • Denial; saying that the abuse does not happen, saying that you caused the abuse, being publically gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying the abuse will not happen again.

If you are a victim

If you are a victim of domestic violence and abuse, remember:

1) you are not alone
2) it is not your fault
3) help is available.

Useful Contacts for a Woman Suffering from Domestic Violence:

  • Police - 999
  • 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247
  • Forced Marriage Unit - 020 7008 0151
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline - 0808 800 012
  • ChildLine - 0800 1111
  • Shelter - 0800 7766 00
  • Brent Samaritans - 0845 790 9090
  • Look Ahead - 02079371166
  • Advance - 020 8733 3715
  • Refuge - 0808 2000 247
  • Shelter - 0800 776600

Safety planning advice

Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are few tips to help keep you safe.

Increase your safety if you are in an abusive relationship:

  • Plan in advance how you might respond in different situations.
  • Know who you can contact in an emergency.
  • Carry a list of emergency numbers, or learn them.
  • Keep spare change with you at all times, for using the telephone and for transport.
  • Tell someone you trust about your situation. Think if you have neighbours you could trust. If so, tell them what is going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack.
  • Think of the ways you can get out of the house safely.
  • If you suspect that your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house (e.g. where there is a way out and access to a telephone. Avoid places where there are likely to be knives or other weapons (e.g. kitchen, garage, etc.); and avoid rooms where you might be trapped (e.g. bathroom).
  • Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave.
  • Go over your safety plan often.
  • Increase your children's safety
  • Explain that they should not get involved in an incident, even if they want to help
  • Show them how to use the telephone to dial 999, ask for the police, and state their address; Make up a code word that you can use when you need help
  • Show them how to get out of the house safely
  • Tell them where they can go to ask for help
  • Increase your safety if you are considering leaving your abuser
  • Think about few places you could go if you leave your home.
  • Think about people who might help you if you left.
  • Open a bank account or getting a credit card in your name.
  • Consider the ways how you might leave. Practice how you would leave.
  • It is important to think how you could take your children with you safely. Sometimes taking children might put all of your lives in danger. Remember you need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
  • Put together a bag of things you use every day. Hide it where it is easy for you to get. However if you think your abuser might find it, it is better not to have a bag or leave it with at you neighbour's or friend's house.
  • Remember 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 late.
  • Increase your safety if you have left your abuser
  • Domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law.
  • You're not alone. One woman in four is abused during her lifetime.
  • You don't have to deal with this on your own. You can call the 24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline which is run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge. Its open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are confidential.
  • The abuse is not your fault. You can't make a person hit you. Violence is a choice and only they are responsible.
  • You cannot try to change your partner. They must accept responsibility for their behaviour.
  • Abuse is hardly ever a one-off - it generally gets worse over time. Although abusive people can change, it is rare.
  • If you are in danger, call 999. The police have a duty to investigate and charge.

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