What is domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling and aggressive behaviour that is used to maintain power and exert control on victims.
The government definition:
Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. It can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships and can involve other family members. Domestic abuse is affects one in four women and one in six men. One in four LGB and three in four Trans people will experience Domestic Abuse.
Domestic abuse is not only about being physically or sexually abused and it is rarely a one off incident. Domestic abuse can take many forms, it can be any incident of threatening behaviour, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional, violence or abuse. It can include forced marriage, honour based abuse and female genital mutilation.
- Physical abuse is any action that is taken that causes you physical harm it can include hitting, kicking, chocking, throwing objects at you, slapping.
- Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, it can involve using force, making threats or coercing a person into sexual activity. It can include rape, sexual assault, making you do things sexually you are not comfortable with.
- Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Emotional abuse can include verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, threats of violence and controlling behaviour.
- Economic abuse is the controlling of a person’s finances. It can include. Preventing you getting a job or making you lose your job, making you account for every penny, Withholding information on the household finances/benefits, demanding your wages/benefits, putting all the bills/debt in your name, destroying your clothes and other belongings.
- Forced marriage is a marriage where one or both parties do not give their free and full consent, it is against their will, pressure and abuse has been used.
- Honour based violence is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the perceived honour, cultural or religious values of the family/and or community
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injure or changed, but where there’s no medical reason for this to be done. It’s also known as “female circumcision” or “cutting”.
How you can stay safe
If you or someone else is in immediate danger please call the emergency services on 999. You can also call the police on 101 if it’s not an emergency but you still want their help.
We understand that you may not want to contact the police, however in an emergency you should contact them, as they have the resources to come out at any time and have powers to protect you and prosecute the perpetrator.
You can contact us on 0161 636 7525 to talk about your options and how to remain safe.
Are you at high risk of serious harm?
If any of the following are happening to you, you could be at risk of serious harm and we strongly encourage you to seek support and protection from the police or another domestic abuse service:
- The violence is getting worse or you have been seriously hurt
- The perpetrator (= the person who is abusing you) has threatened to kill you
- You have recently separated, or told your partner you are going to leave
- The perpetrator has access to weapons
- The perpetrator has raped or sexually assaulted you
- The perpetrator is harassing or stalking you after you have left
- The perpetrator is extremely jealous, possessive and controlling
- You are pregnant or have recently given birth
- You are socially or culturally isolated by the perpetrator
- There is extended family involvement and collusion with the abuse
- The perpetrator is misusing drugs or alcohol
- The perpetrator is abusive, aggressive or threatening towards your children
- The perpetrator has a history of ignoring or breaking injunctions or other court orders.
Even if you have not answered yes to any of the questions above it is still important to think about your safety.
This is a list of things to consider about your safety
- See if there is someone who lives nearby who you can tell about the abuse, ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance
- Talk to the children (if you think it would be appropriate/safe to do so) so that they understand and can help/co-operate in an emergency. Teach them how to dial 999; even if the phone is left off the hook the police can still trace the call.
- Think about where you would go; have a couple of options. How would you get there?
What you can do to protect yourself in an emergency
- Try to move to a low risk area/room. Avoid places with sharp instruments, such as the kitchen, bathroom or garage. Avoid places that you can get trapped in; try to stay near a door so that you can get out
- Find somewhere you can easily and quickly use a phone, at a neighbours or relatives house etc.
- Ring 999 yourself or if possible get one of the children to ring
- Trust your own judgement. If you’re frightened don’t hesitate to find a way to get help or to get out.
Things to remember if you plan in advance to leave
- Leave when the abuser is not around
- Take all your children with you
- Have some money saved in case you need to use a taxi or public transport
- Take legal & financial papers (court orders etc.), marriage & birth certificates, national health cards, passports, driving license, benefit books, benefit/tax credit award letters, cheque book, credit cards, bank statements etc.
- Take clothing for at least several days
- Take any medicine/details of repeat prescriptions you or the children might need
- Get an extra set of keys cut for the house/car
- Take personal possessions, which have sentimental value such as photographs & and jewellery & take favourite toys for the children
- If you discover you have left something essential behind, you can always arrange for a police escort so that you can return for it. Never return on your own.