Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is physical or sexual violence and can also include psychological or financial controlling behaviour which is abusive. This takes place within an intimate or family relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

But I have not been hit - yet
Sometimes the abuse is more subtle, like making you feel worthless, not letting you have any money or stopping you from leaving your home. You still need to take advice and protect yourself and your children as emotional abuse can have as damaging an effect as physical abuse. Domestic violence is not caused by alcohol, poverty, drugs or unemployment. It is a result of the abuser's desire for power and control.

The CAB defines domestic violence:
Domestic violence covers a range of situations where one person in some way harms another person, with whom they have some pre-existing relationship. Domestic violence can therefore be one person physically attacking another or it may be another form of abuse such as pestering with phone calls, installing a lover in the family home, or putting superglue in the locks of the victim's car doors.For the above actions to be counted as domestic violence, the victim and the perpetrator must have had some form of relationship, but they do not need to be heterosexual partners and they need not live in the same property.

Relationship Checklist
Domestic violence and abuse can take many forms. To assess your relationship, answer the following questions. (Reprinted from MALE website - see below)

Does your partner ...
Humiliate you, call you names or make fun of you in a way that is designed to hurt you?
Threaten you that you will never see your children again?
Prevent you from attending family or other social events?
Have sudden outbursts of anger?
Act over-protective and become jealous for no reason?
Make it difficult, or prevent you, from seeing friends or family?
Control your money against your will?
Threaten you with violence or hit, kick or throw things at you?
Physically or emotionally hurt your children?
Hurt your pets?
Force you to engage in sexual acts that you aren't comfortable with?

Or do you ...
Change your behaviour or your appearance so your partner doesn't get angry?
Avoid talking about money or other topics?
Feel scared, anxious or like you are 'walking on eggshells'?
Cut yourself off from your friends or family?

If any of these apply to you
You may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse. Similarly, do you know a friend or relative whose partner behaves in any of the ways listed above? If so they may be experiencing domestic violence. This checklist applies to male and female victims.
All types of domestic violence are wrong and some are illegal.

If you are in immediate danger, then call 999 for the police.
The police can also generally advise you about your situation: if you do not need urgent assistance, you can call their local number and ask to speak to their Domestic Violence Unit. Be prepared to leave your name and number on an answering machine, they will be careful and discreet when returning your call.

The beauty of life is that there is always another chance. You cannot change other people but you can make a fresh start.

'This thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.' Mary Pickford.

The law is there to protect everyone who suffers domestic violence. Social isolation and emotional abuse, as well as physical assaults, can have long-lasting effects for all members of the family. We look at how this abuse can affect children.

The NSPCC advises: Children can themselves be physically abused - Witnessing the violence can be damaging

  • Children often try to intervene to protect the adult victim, which puts them in a dangerous situation
  • Children can copy the violent behaviour they witness, both as children and as adults
  • They can develop stress related illness
  • They can lose confidence, be afraid and angry, and blame themselves for what is happening

The NSPCC helpline never closes, day or night, someone is there to speak to you. Calls are free except from a mobile and you are never turned away. The NSPCC provide counselling, information and advice to anyone concerned about a child. If you are a child or young person who needs help, an adult concerned that a child may be at risk of abuse or a parent, carer or relative who needs help and advice, call 0808 800 5000
If you have hearing difficulties phone 0800 056 0566

All counsellors are trained child protection officers with many years experience of dealing with families. This service is confidential. You don't have to give your name if you don't want to but remember that these are the people you can trust.

If you have difficulty getting through and you or someone else in your family is in danger, don't hesitate to dial 999.
Check out their website if you want further information.

Write to:
The NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
P O Box 18222
London EC2A 3RU

This is not an emergency service but they will try to get back to you within 24 hours.
If you need urgent advice, phone 0808 800 5000

Everyone has the right to feel safe and to be safe.
If you need advice for yourself, a friend or a member of the family, call one of the helplines or log onto a website listed below.

If you are in danger and need urgent help, do not fail to dial 999 for the Police. The Family Law Act 1996 provides protection for all victims of any domestic violence and their children. You have the right to be protected. Reach out now.

How can the Family Law Act help you? Domestic violence
Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996
This article explains who can apply for an order, describes what you need to do and tells you what will happen once the court receives your application. This Court Service guidance deals only with applications that are made at a county court.
This new Act, which became law in October 1997, protects victims of domestic violence with two different types of orders:
A Non-Molestation Order - which prevents another person from harming you or a child.
An Occupation Order - which will indicate who can live in the family home and can direct another person to leave the home. Click on Domestic violence and the courts

The Courts Service
Southside 105 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QT

Women's Aid
Women's Aid is a national charity aiming to end domestic violence against women and children. They offer support and a place of safety to abused women and children by providing refuges and other services. There are over 250 local projects, over 400 refuges, outreach services and advice centres.

24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline Freephone 0808 2000 247
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is now run in partnership by Women's Aid and Refuge. Keep trying if this line is busy and, if it is safe for you, leave a message. Someone will get back to you as messages are checked throughout the day.
Post: Women's Aid, P.O.Box 391, Bristol, BS99 7WS

The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is a member of Language Line and can provide access to an interpreter for non-English speaking callers. The Helpline can also access the BT Type Talk Service for deaf callers
Keep trying if this line is busy or, if it is safe, leave a message.
Visit their website at
Write to them at: Women's Aid, P O Box 391, Bristol BS 99 7WS

The Women's Aid 24hr National Domestic Violence Helpline provides support, information and a listening ear to women experiencing (or who have experienced) domestic abuse and to those seeking help on a woman's behalf. Helpline staff will discuss the available options and, if appropriate, refer callers on to refuges and other sources of help and information. Our aim is to enable women to discuss options for action and to empower them to make informed choices to change their life and their children's lives.

Women's Aid in Northern Ireland
24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline 0800 917 1414
Advice, information, listening, support and referrals. Also runs refuges.
Welsh Women's Aid
Tel: 029 2039 0874
They refer you to local Women's Aid offices in Wales. Sometimes this number just has an answering machine with another useful number to call. You can leave a message if your call is not urgent. If not, please phone the national number on 08457 023 468
Also see 24 Hour Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 8010 800 below.
Scottish Women's Aid
National Office Tel: 0800 027 1234
Offers information, support and referrals to local groups. Line open Mondays to Fridays 10am to 4pm except Tuesdays 1-4pm You can obtain your local office details, outside these hours, by contacting the Police, Social Services, your local phone directory or by dialing 118 500 for directory enquiries. You may also leave a message. Kiran - Asian Women's Aid
Tel: 020 8558 1986 Offers advice, support and refuge for Asian women and women from other cultures e.g. Turkey, Iran, Morocco and Malaysia for example. Helpline open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Outside of office hours please phone 08457 023 468.

24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline
Freephone 0808 2000 247
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is now run in partnership by Women's Aid and Refuge. Keep trying if this line is busy and, if it is safe for you, leave a message. Someone will get back to you as messages are checked throughout the day.

Refuge offers:
24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline
Freephone 0808 2000 247
Safe, emergency accommodation through a growing network of refuges.
Individual and group counselling for abused women.
A resettlement service offering continued emotional and practical support during a woman's stay in a refuge and after she has been rehoused.
An outreach project for women from minority ethnic communities.
Refuge also offers a children's programme as detailed below.
A unique children's programme from Refuge
In 90% of domestic violence incidents, children will be in the same room, or in an adjacent room. Refuge's pioneering children's programme helps children come to terms with the violence they may have witnessed or experienced themselves. This includes group and one-to-one counselling with child psychologists, full time nursery care, a holiday programme and an after school club for children living in the refuges. This is a unique and ground breaking project, which helps up to 600 children every year, offering the chance to learn new social and communication skills which the children can use to avoid violence in their own lives. The Refuge Children's Programme is a recognised model of excellence. See

The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
24 Hour service on 0808 8010 800
Llinell Gymorth Camdriniaeth yn y Cartref Cymru yw’r wasanaeth rhadffon, cyfrinachol cenedlaethol i fenywod, plant a dynion yng Nghymru sy’n profi neu wedi profi camdriniaeth dan law aelod o’r teulu neu rywun y mae neu y bu perthynas agos rhyngddynt.
The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline is the national free support and information service for women, children and men in Wales who are experiencing or who have experienced abuse at the hands of someone close to them.

The helpline provides a bilingual free and confidential information and support service to anyone experiencing domestic abuse, someone that is concerned about someone they know, or for other agencies. The helpline takes its lead from the callers and our friendly Helpline Support Workers are non-judgemental and don’t pressure callers to take action. The helpline offers support and information on a range of issues relating to domestic abuse, such as emergency refuge, face-to-face support and counselling, welfare and benefit rights, housing issues, legal issues, perpetrator programmes, concerns about children, etc. We can discuss what the police, courts and other agencies can do to support and protect people, or if a caller just wants to talk then we will listen.

The helpline has 24 hour access to Language Line and can provide access to an interpreter for callers who do not speak Welsh or English. We can also access the BT Type Talk Service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Call 0808 8010 800.

Are you worried about a female friend who may be a victim of domestic violence?
If you suspect or come to realise that a family member, friend or work colleague is experiencing domestic violence it can be very difficult to know what to do. For parents and other close relatives it can be very upsetting to think that someone is hurting a person you love and your first instinct may be to stop it immediately but this isn't always possible. If you witness an assault you can call the police on 999 but all too often domestic violence is hidden behind closed doors and perpetuates the myth that it is nothing to do with anyone else.

Domestic violence IS everybody's business!
It is helpful to remember that:

Domestic violence is a crime
Domestic violence is totally unacceptable. Every woman has the right to live her life free of violence, abuse, intimidation and fear.
Domestic violence is very common. One woman in four experiences domestic violence at some point in her life and many women live with domestic violence for years.
Domestic violence is very dangerous. Each week in England and Wales, two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner.

Domestic violence is intentional and systematic behaviour. It is about an abuse of power and control. It is about forcing a woman into doing something that she doesn't want to do - or out of doing something that she doesn't want to do.
The abuser is 100% responsible for his abuse. His abuse is his problem and his responsibility. No-one is responsible for someone else's behaviour.
So what can you do?
Talk to her. Try to be direct and start by saying something like, "I'm worried about you because ..." You may have to try several times before she will confide in you as domestic violence carries with it a stigma of failure and shame for many women. Often women believe that they are at fault and that if they change their behaviour the abuse will stop. Many women will have strong feelings for the abuser, and may be dependent upon him emotionally and financially. Many women will feel the need to protect the perpetrator from negative comments. You may need to be patient as she may take some time to open up to you. When she does...

Believe what she tells you and don't judge her.
LISTEN to her even if you are shocked by the detail of the abuse she may be experiencing. Don't tell her to leave or criticise her for staying. Although you may want her to leave remember that it has to be her decision and she will make it in her own time - you will not be able to force her into it.

Women are often in more danger at the point of leaving an abusive partner and just after she has left. Leaving an abusive relationship takes a great deal of strength and courage. An abused woman often faces huge obstacles such as nowhere to go, no money and no-one to turn to for support. If you push her into leaving and she has not made the decision for herself she will be more likely to return to the abuser after a short time. Focus instead on supporting her and building her confidence. More importantly talk to her about her safety and how she can protect herself and her children.

Help her to make safety plans
Don't make plans for her but ENCOURAGE her to think about her safety more closely as she may not realise the danger she is in. Offer to be around when the abuser is there, give her lifts home, find out information about local services, keep spare sets of keys or important documents she may need for emergencies. Offer any practical help you are able, or feel able, to give. Agree a code word or action that if she says to you, or you see, you know that she's in danger and cannot access help herself.

Help her to understand that the ABUSE IS NOT HER FAULT and reassure her that you are there for her. Helping her to build her self-esteem is key; remind her of her good points, challenge her if she puts herself down or blames herself, praise her for every step she takes, no matter how small, and let her know she has your support. If she has not spoken to anyone else, encourage and assist her in finding a local domestic violence agency that offers counselling and support groups. REASSURE her that you are there for her.
Encourage her to call the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247 - run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge. The Helpline support team can offer confidential practical and emotional support and if necessary, access to emergency accommodation.

Domestic violence isn't a private matter between two people. It is against the law and it's everybody's business. By helping someone who is experiencing domestic violence, you may save a life.
(This material was provided by: Refuge, Women's Aid and the Greater London Domestic Violence Project via MALE - see below)

Male domestic violence
Mens Advice Line & Enquiries
The MALE helpline provides a range of services aimed primarily at men experiencing domestic abuse from their partner.
They help male victims by:
Giving men a chance to talk about their experiences
Providing emotional supportProviding practical advice
Providing sign-posting to a range of services including housing and legal options
Providing solutions that are focussed on the needs of our callers
Non-judgmental approach
Informed by research
Led by practice

Call the Mens Advice Line on 0808 801 0327
This is open Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm and we are informed that it's free from landlines and most mobiles. An answer machine operates out of these hours.
You can also email them at
Please see their excellent website for a range of information and leaflets (for women and worried friends and relatives also) at

Men: are you abusive towards your partner?

Are you worried about your behaviour towards your partner?
Have you been violent or abusive?
Do you think you have a problem controlling your anger with her?
Is she ever scared of you?

First of all, we know it can be tough facing up to difficult problems. We want to support you to make the changes you need, so that you are safe around your partner and kids (if you have them).

Call the Respect Phoneline 0845 122 8609
The Respect Phoneline is open:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10-1 and 2-5

CALL US: 0845 122 8609 (same cost as a local call if you ring from a landline)
TEXT US: 07624 818 326
You can leave a message when the lines are closed or busy and we’ll get back to you within 2 working days.
Website: Respect

Citizens Advice Guide
To read more information (this CAB guide applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) about what you can do, please click Domestic Violence Guide

Samaritans are always there for you, day or night, 24 hours, on 08457 90 90 90

Everyman Project
1A Waterlow Rd
N19 5NJ
Tel: 0207 263 8884

This provides counselling, support and advice to men who are violent or concerned about their violence, and anyone affected by that violence. If you are a man and need information about counselling, please ring the above number and leave a mesage including your name, address and post code. Information will then be sent to you in the post. You could have a look at their new website. Please kindly say that you found them via this site.

Tel: 0207 263 8884
This offers information, advice, and telephone counselling between 6:30 pm and 9:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to men who are concerned about their violence or abuse and to any person affected by a man's violence or abuse.

Rights of Women
52-54 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT.
This a women's voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights. Founded in 1975, they offer free confidential legal advice to women on their advice line. Please note that advice is only given over the phone and not in person or by any other means except for referrals to other agencies and information leaflets. Advice is only given in English but some publications are translated into other languages. Please ask. They also offer specialist advice in family law, divorce and relationship breakdown, children and contact issues, domestic violence, sexual violence, discrimination and lesbian parenting.

They provide education on women's rights through several publications. These include the Domestic Violence DIY Injunction Handbook, information sheets on key issues of family law, and publications on key issues relating to women and the law.

Advice Line
Free legal advice for women by women:
Tel: 020 7251 6577 Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 2-4pm and 7-9pm.
Also open Friday, 12-2pm. Please note that this is a very busy service. Do check the website for current details.
Confidential advice on: Divorce and relationship breakdown, Children and contact issues, Domestic violence, Sexual violence, Discrimination and Lesbian parenting.

If you have trouble getting through, try in the evening. This is of course due to demand.

You can speak to a qualified woman solicitor or barrister and get legal help for free.
You do not have to be a member to obtain advice but please remember that membership enables this organisation to grow. Maybe when times are better, you could fill in their online membership form and pass the word round. Please mention Divorce Aid if you contact them.

The Samaritans are always there for you, day or night, 24 hours,on 08457 90 90 90

"God give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed; COURAGE to change the things that SHOULD be changed; And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other." R. Niebuhr

Have the courage to speak up and get help, the courage to accept assistance to change the things that should be changed and the wisdom to know that you are doing the right thing. You and your children have the right to feel safe. You are not alone. There are many people and new laws to assist you.
Please reach out

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