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Domestic Violence Print E-mail

What is domestic violence?
Who are the main victims?
How widespread is domestic violence?
How will it affect my children?
Where can I get help?
How can I secure my safety now that my ex has left?

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is about power. It can come in many forms, the most common being:

* Physical assault
* Sexual dominance which can include rape
* Verbal abuse, shouting and screaming
* Continual put downs and ridicule: telling you that you are stupid, attempts to make you feel worthless
* Control of family finances in an attempt to have total control over what you do
* Limiting or stopping contact with friends and family
* Irrational jealousy, if you even smile or look at a member of the opposite sex whilst shopping for example

Who are the main victims of domestic violence?

Domestic violence can affect anybody regardless of age, class, occupation, culture, race, disability, sexuality or gender. Attacks are predominantly against women by men, but men can be victims too.

How widespread is domestic violence?

The following statistics might put domestic violence into perspective:

* In the UK a quarter of all reported violent crimes are domestic
* Over half of all victims of domestic violence are subject to more than one incident
* Every minute in the UK the police receive a call reporting an incident of domestic violence
* Three-quarters of victims suffer post separation violence which can be verbal abuse, physical or sexual attacks or threats towards themselves and their children

How will it affect my children?

Children can often be abused too both physically and pyschologically. They can also get hurt when trying to protect one parent from the other. However, there is evidence that witnessing the violence in itself can be damaging and some children try and imitate the behavior they have seen. Many perpetrators of domestic violence witnessed violence in the home themselves as children.

Children can be angry, blame themselves, be afraid, lose confidence, become withdrawn and develop behavioural problems at school. Having come out of a violent relationship you should inform your child's teacher and ask them to monitor any behavioural changes carefully. Speak to your GP or school about counselling for your child.

Click here for further information from the NSPCC

Where can I get help?

The following organisations can offer help and advice to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. You can also try your local police station and Citizen's Advice Bureau for details of local organisations and refuges.
British Association of Anger Management (BAAM)
Offers anger management programmes to children and adults

Campaign Against Domestic Violence (CADV)
Campaigning to increase awareness and reform the law and facilities for victims of domestic violence

Telephone helpline for men who are violent, can provide counselling. Telephone 020 7737 6747 (Tues & Thurs 7.30pm-10pm)

Family 2000
Information on what domestic violence is and the causes

Hitting Home
BBC Campaign highlighting awareness of issues relating to Domestic Violence, including help for male victims

Male Advice and Enquiry Line
Helpline for the male victims of domestic violence - telephone 0845 064 6800

Services and information for the male victims of domestic violence

Metropolitan Police
Statistics and information on police strategies to tackle domestic violence

Not Your Fault
Welsh domestic abuse site with useful advice and information for young people aged 11-17 years

24 hour crisis line providing help and support to victims of domestic violence. Also refers women and their children to refuges. Telephone: 0870 599 5443 (24 hours)

Organisation helping primarily Asian women in the Coventry area who have suffered domestic violence

Survivors UK
National helpline for men who have been the victims of domestic violence or sexual attack, Helpline (Tues & Thurs) Tel: 0845 122 1201

Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 80 10 800 (freephone daily 8am-2pm, 8pm-2am)

Women's Aid
National Organisation aiming to protect women and children from domestic violence, 24 hour emergency helpline number 08457 023 468

Women's Aid, Northern Ireland
Advice and information for women experiencing domestic violence in Northern Ireland. 24 hour emergency helpline number 028 90331818

Welsh Women's Aid Telephone 029 2039 0874
Scottish Women's Aid Telephone 0800 027 1234

If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence as a way of preventing you from seeing your children or to prevent access to your home by an ex spouse click here. See also our section on Children

How can I secure my safety now my ex has left?

Many victims suffer post relationship abuse but there are practical steps you can take to minimise the risk:

* If you are seriously threatened or an attack takes place ring 999. The police can move you to a place of safety if there is an immediate risk. They have the power to arrest where a physical assault has taken place or where you have been seriously threatened or harrassed.

* Seek advice from a solicitor to help you get a court order preventing your ex from coming near you or your home. If you are not working you should be entitled to assistance with your legal fees. Click here for information on finding a solicitor.

* Ensure your home is secure and you take practical steps to protect yourself when out and about. See our section on Personal Safety.

* Inform a trusted neighbour, family member or friend who lives close to your home. Have an emergency telephone number to hand in case you are worried that your ex might show up.

* If the above steps fail, consider moving to a place of safety. Seek safe haven in a refuge specially provided for the victims of Domestic Violence. Contact your local police or Citizen's Advice Bureau for details, or visit one of the organisations listed above.

* Do not fall for an apology and accept your former partner back with the promise that they will change before they have had a chance to seek help regarding their violent behaviour. Only then consider that they may have changed but be cautious, most perpetrators do not change and may be apologetic or try to blame you for their actions - this does not excuse their behaviour.

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