Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse is defined as:
'An incident or a pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. It concerns people aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members and it can happen regardless of your gender or sexuality'.
Domestic violence can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and financial. It also includes what is known as 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
Domestic violence affects people of every class, gender, level of wealth, geography, age, race, disability and sexuality. The violence can begin at any stage of the relationship and may continue after the relationship has ended. It is a pattern of controlling and aggressive behaviour that is intentional and calculated to exercise power and control within a relationship.
What can I do if it’s happening to me?
Don't blame yourself:
- It can happen to all people of all ages, classes, races, religions and levels of intelligence
- You are not responsible for the violence
- You can't change the abusers behaviour
- It is rare for it to happen only once and often gets more serious the longer it continues
- Don't keep it a secret - there is a lot of help available
Talk to someone
- Talk to someone you trust like a friend or family member
- Contact a support agency like Hestia Harrow Domestic Abuse Support Service on 0208 907 8148,
Leaving an abusive partner
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse you may need to leave in a hurry so it is good to have a safety plan in place.
- Have a list of phone numbers with you including the police, women's aid, victims support, friends and relatives you trust
- Have a place where you can quickly and easily use a phone (a neighbour, friend, phone box or relative)
- Try and keep some money somewhere safe for a train, taxi or bus fare
- Try and make a copy of all important documents like passports, birth certificates and bank accounts and keep them somewhere safe
- Get a spare set of keys to the house / flat
- Pack a small bag with the spare keys, copies of documents and money and keep it at a trusted friends house
- Tell someone you trust
- See your GP so there is a record of your injuries
- Explain the escape plan to your children (who are old enough to understand), explain that you may need to leave in a hurry and that you will take them with you or come back for them