Domestic abuse is the umbrella term for many types of abuse at home. Domestic abuse comes in many forms – physical violence, emotional abuse and verbal abuse. Domestic abuse is underreported and it erodes the fabric of society. Many live with abusive partners, silently tortured and not sure where to turn.
It can be hard to leave an abuser and the dynamics of an abusive relationship can be complex. One thing is guaranteed though, the abuser lives a life of misery, walking on eggshells and constantly second guessing the mood their abusive partner will be in. It’s no way to live.
I grew up with domestic abuse and remember how frightened I felt as a child witnessing physical abuse, shouting and fear. It can be a lonely place and some abused victims end up feeling they are somehow to blame. Often, the results of domestic abuse leave a victim in a brainwashed, depleted state where they struggle to think for themselves. They are constantly told how to be and what to do and their sense of self gets eroded day by day until there is just a ‘shell’ of the former bright and sparkly person that used to exist.
This may sound melodramatic but I assure you it isn’t as I have seen this first hand. Not only in my personal life but also in my professional life. I have helped many abused victims and seen the devastation that emotional and physical abuse has over time.
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
- Tells you that you can never do anything right
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
- Controls every penny spent in the household
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Prevents you from making your own decisions
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Prevents you from working or attending school
- Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
For more info on domestic abuse: https://ncadv.org/statistics
Good books to read:
Living with a Dominator by Pat Craven
Why Does He Do That: Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft
Power and Control: Why Charming Men Make Danger Lovers by Sandra Horley
Women who love too much by Robin Norwood
If you need help, there are many ways to find support. Here is a list of useful agencies and help numbers to call. You can also contact me via the contact page on this website.
Victim Advocacy (USA): https://online.maryville.edu/blog/victim-advocacy-guide-domestic-violence
If you are in the UK and you are in an emergency, dial 999 – to confirm the call is genuine (and if you are unable to speak), dial 55 to confirm.
Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327 www.mensadviceline.org.uk
Confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse
Safe Lives www.safelives.org.uk
Providing domestic abuse support and guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 www.refuge.org.uk
Guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428 www.galop.org.uk/domesticabuse
Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people.
RespectUK – 0808 802 4040 www.respect.uk.net
Advice and support for those who are finding it difficult to manage their behaviour during this difficult time and want to make a change.
Silent Solution – If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine by pressing ‘55’. When transferred to your local police force, the police call handler will attempt to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions. If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so they can assess your call and arrange help if needed.
Surrey Against Domestic Abuse – 01483 776822 www.healthysurrey.org.uk/domestic-abuse
Provides information on how to get help and keep yourself and your children safe.
Your Sanctuary – 01483 776822 www.yoursanctuary.org.uk
Helpline service available 9am to 9pm 7 days a week, offering support, information and signposting. An online chat service is available via their website. Your Sanctuary also runs two safe houses for women and children fleeing from domestic abuse, and a specialist male support service available to men across Surrey.
Website for children and young people witnessing domestic violence.
Love Don’t Feel Bad
Aimed at 16-25 year olds, Love Don’t Feel Bad explores what is and isn’t a healthy relationship – from physical violence to coercive control, how to get help and what the law can do for you.
Live Fear Free – All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline
Live Fear Free Helpline: 0808 8010 800
Text service: 078600 77333
The helpline provides a bilingual free and confidential information and support service for women, children and men in Wales who are experiencing or who have experienced abuse at the hands of someone close to them.
Northern Ireland Women’s Aid Federation
25hr Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
Women’s Aid provides a wide range of services to women and children affected by domestic violence throughout Northern Ireland. We offer a safe place to stay in refuges or outreach support for those remaining at home. Children’s physical and emotional needs are met through many types of support.
Victim Support Helpline
Helpline: 0808 168 9111
Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation
Helpline: Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30 0207 920 6460
Emergency numbers 24 hrs
Kurdish / Arabic 07846 275246
Farsi / Dari / Turkish 07846 310157
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation provides advice and support to Middle Eastern women and girls living in the UK who are facing ‘honour’ based violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage or female genital mutilation.
Ashiana Project (London)
Helpline: 020 8539 0427
We believe everyone has the right to live a life free of oppression, fear and violence. We are a charitable organisation based in London, to help women from the Asian, Turkish & Iranian community get help when they need it. We are here to offer our help support and guidance to Women in need. We offer confidential and culturally specific advice, support and information to our clients. Our aim is to empower the women and young people who use our services so that they are able to make informed choices and decisions about their future.
The Freedom Programme
The Programme was primarily designed for women as victims of domestic violence, since research shows that in the vast majority of cases of serious abuse are male on female. However, the programme, when provided as an intensive two day course, is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of same sex domestic abuse themselves. The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help them to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, instead of the whole experience just feeling like a horrible mess. The Freedom Programme also describes in detail how children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and very importantly how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed.