Domestic violence may consist of threats, punches, kicks or sexual force. The abuse can range from verbal harassment to stabbing and shooting. Domestic violence is a serious matter. It HAS often ended in death or permanent physical injury.
Perhaps you are one of the many people looking for a way out. Or perhaps you grew up in an abusive home. Or just the idea of any person being physically harmed by someone who claims to 'love' them infuriates you.
For any of these reasons, you want to make it - domestic violence - stop.
- A woman is raped, stabbed or beaten every six seconds.
- In England and Wales two women are murdered each week through domestic violence.
- One in four UK women will become domestic violence victims at some point in their lives.
- In 4% of reported domestic violence the victim is male.
- One in nine is experiencing domestic violence NOW.
- Domestic violence first begins during pregnancy in 30% of cases.
- Statistics suggest that world-wide, 52 per cent of women have been assaulted by a partner at some point in their lives.
- The world health organisation claims that, worldwide, violence causes as many deaths among women as traffic accidents, malaria and cancer put together.
- According to a recent survey UK police forces receive more than 1,300 domestic violence related calls every day - that's more than 570,000 each year.
- In 2000, the Women's Aid National Domestic Violence Helpline took 35,000 calls from abused women. In the first six months of 2001 the number of calls to this helpline was 32,600, roughly double the figure for 2000.
- Most of the victims of domestic violence does not open their heart and talk about the problems they have in their homes, or try to find solutions BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.
What is domestic abuse?
There are many forms of domestic abuse, ranging from screaming threats to pushing and shoving. Contrary to what many think, abuse isn't just physical battering.
Domestic abuse may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly the men of the family.
Nearly one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
Domestic abuse does not discriminate against race, age and socio-economic background. No specific type of person is more prone to being battered by their partner, nor is any particular type of person completely safe from abuse.
What Victims of Domestic Violence Need to Know
- The abuse is not your fault
- You don't deserve to be abused
- You can't change someone who is abusive
- Staying in the relationship won't stop the abuse
- With time the abuse always gets worse
- If you stay, make a plan to keep yourself safe
when the abuse happens again
- You CAN Fight Back!
Signs of Domestic Abuse
Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of these categories:
- Physical battering -- The abuser's physical attacks or aggressive behavior can range from bruising to murder.
- Sexual abuse -- Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by or culminates in, sexual violence.
- Psychological battering -- The abuser's psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the woman from friends and family, and depriving her of food, money, clothes, and destroying her personal property.
If you have been assaulted, you can report it to the police
Domestic assault is a criminal offence. There are three types of assault:
- Simple assault (most common assault). Examples are slapping,
pushing or shoving, punching or threatening that he or she will harm you or your children.
- Assault causing bodily harm. An example is an assault where you get a black eye or bruises.
- Grievous Bodily Harm is an assault where your life is endangered or you are wounded, maimed or disfigured. Examples are where the offender threatens to kill you or where your injuries from the assault leave you with scars.
Warning signs of an Abusive Relationship
- Are you frightened of your partner's temper?
- Are you often compliant because you are afraid to hurt your partner's feelings or are afraid of your partner's anger?
- Do you have the urge to "rescue" your partner when your partner is in trouble?
- Do you find yourself apologising to others for your partner's behaviour when you are treated badly?
- Have you been hit, kicked, shoved, or had things thrown at you by your partner when he was jealous or angry?
- Do you make decisions about activities and friends according to what your partner wants or how your partner will react?
- Do you drink or use drugs to dull the pain or join your partner so he won't get mad?
- Do you consent easily to your partner to avoid angering him?
What are some of the warning signs?
- They are extremely jealous.
- Wants to know where you are at all times.
- Gets upset if you spend time with friends or family.
- Holds rigid expectations of male/female or adult/child role.
- They expect you to meet their emotional needs.
- Blames others and you for their problems.
- Threatens you with violence.
- There may be many other warning signs.
Do something before it's too late!
In your contact with any family member, the following observations should be considered clues to the possibility of domestic assault.
- A history of assault or child abuse in their family of origin.
- A suspicion of child abuse or sexual abuse in his role as a father.
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol.
- A history of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
Such characteristics as:
- Temper tantrums
- Excessive dependence on their partner
What do we know about abusers?
- They try to isolate victims from family and friends
- They minimise and deny their behaviour
- They veil power and control over others
- They blame victims
- They distrust others
- They often have been victims or witnessed abuse
- They usually have low self-esteem
- They are not in touch with their own feelings
Preparing to Leave
- Keep evidence of abuse (i.e., pictures, police reports, etc.) in a safe place that is accessible to you.
- Know where you can go to get help; tell someone you trust what is happening to you.
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or emergency room and report what happened to you.
- Make sure that they record your visit.
- Make sure that your children know that it is their job to stay safe, not protect you.
- Keep a journal of all violent incidences.
- Start an individual savings account and have statements sent to a trusted friend. Acquire job skills.
- If you must sneak away, leave extra money, extra car keys, important papers, and extra set of clothes for yourself and children with a trusted friend (avoid family members and mutual friends who may be influenced by the abuser). Include a list of important numbers (insurance numbers, driver's license, medication, chequebook, credit card numbers, etc.)
What to do when leaving an abusive relationship?
If you are contemplating leaving an abusive relationship, there are some things you should do that may assist you in the process of leaving:
- Make a safety plan
- Write down Contact Places in the community for support
- Assess your safety and that of your children
- Contact a shelter for a safe place to stay
- Seek interim custody
- Seek a support system from family, friends and advocates
- Be prepared, it helps you in a case of emergency.
- Make an Escape Plan
- Make sure you have important documents
- Save money in secret when you can
- Keep extra keys and clothes with friends
- Plan out all possible escape routes - doors, first floor windows, elevators, stairwells and rehearse escape routes with your children
- Arrange a safe place to go such as a friend or relative who
will offer unconditional support - or a motel, hotel, or shelter
- Memorise the telephone number of a domestic violence shelter
or support agency
- Secure transportation
- Work out a signal system with a friend or other family
members so that they know you are in danger
- Go when he is gone
- Don't tell him you are leaving
- Create an excuse to slip away
- Avoid arguments in areas with potential weapons such as the
kitchen, garage, or in small spaces without escape routes.
- When leaving your home, be aware. Your spouse may try to
hurt you to stop you escaping.
What can you do if you have been abused?
- You can, and you should talk to someone about the abuse.
- You can tell a family member, a friend, or your doctor
- You can also talk to a support group in your community.
- Women's centres and legal aid offices may be able to tell you of other services which offer help.
You can get medical help
- If you have been hurt you can go to your doctor or to the Emergency Department at a hospital.
- If your injuries are visible you can have pictures taken. They can be used in court should you decide to lay assault charges.
- There are special medical and police procedures for sexual assault cases.
Further Information and Help
Calderdale Women's Centre
23 Silver Street
Tel: 01422 323339
Information support, training & learning opportunities for any women. Free counselling service, legal clinic, domestic violence support, volunteer training.
Click for a map
Star Project (Surviving Trauma After Rape)
14 Laburnum Road
A free and confidential support service for adult women and men who have been raped or sexually assaulted ,offering counselling, emotional and practical support in various locations throughout West Yorkshire
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Relate (Relationship Counselling)
38 Clare Road
Tel: (01422) 363845
Description (from their website):
"Relate is about relationships, all kinds of relationships. Whether you are having problems getting on with your partner, your kids, your siblings or even your boss Relate can help."
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Domestic Violence Support Project Halifax
5/6 Park Road, Halifax
Tel: 01422 323339 (Office hours only)
A confidential and non-judgemental service provided by trained workers and volunteers, for any woman living in the Calderdale area; Support is available in groups, individually by appointment or by telephone; Advocacy and court accompaniment is also available.
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Calderdale Women's Aid
PO Box 6
Telephone 01422 351498 for details.
(Advice Line) (Office) (Out of Hours)
Fax: 01422 381587
We offer emergency temporary accommodation to women & children fleeing domestic violence. Our support package includes; structured play sessions, link working and accessing other statutory & voluntary agencies.
Help, support and refuge for women and their children who experience physical, sexual or emotional violence at home.
Survivors UK Ltd.
Tel: 0845 1221201 (Tuesday & Thursday 7pm-10pm)
"Survivors UK supports and provides resources for men who have experienced any form of sexual violence"