I Am Experiencing Domestic Abuse

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship there are number of things you can do to access support and take back control of your life.

Trust your instincts

Often abusive people will try to make you doubt that you really are experiencing abuse. They may blame you for their abusive behaviour, minimise their actions or even deny them all together. This is called gas lighting and is a common behaviour of abusive people. If you feel that you may be experiencing domestic abuse you can look at our Warning signs page to get a better understanding of what is happening. If you want to speak with somebody you can call our confidential referral line on 020 8317 8273 for advice and support.

Remember you are not alone

Even though domestic abuse is not widely talked about we know that in the UK 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Often survivors are made to feel ashamed or scared to talk about heir experiences. Nobody should have to face domestic abuse on their own and there are lots of services and groups available to support you on you. Please refer to our Directory or call the referral line to find services near you.

Reach out for support

It can be really scary to take the first step and reach out for help. However there are many domestic abuse services across the country which specialise in providing non directive and non judgemental advice, emotional support and practical solutions. The majority of services including our own are confidential and you can initially contact them without providing any of your personal details if you do not want to.

Safety plan

Safety planning is about taking steps to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible. Some good examples of safety planning are: Making a plan with your children so they know to go to a safe place if anything happens, trying to avoid running up stairs, or into the kitchen or bathroom during an incident, keeping curtains open and staying in sight where possible. If you are in immediate danger call 999. You can call our confidential helpline to discuss other safety planning options with us.

If you are in immediate danger call 999. You can call our confidential helpline for advice and support on 020 8317 8273

Your Legal rights

If you are frightened of your current or former partner, then you have a right to be protected under the law. These are some of the legal options you have:

  • You have rights under the criminal law. Being assaulted by someone you know or live with is just as much a crime as violence from a stranger, and often more dangerous.
  • You can apply for a civil court order (an injunction) to tell your abuser to stop harassing or hurting you, or to keep out of or away from your home.
  • You can get help with emergency or temporary accommodation.
  • The law can also help to protect children. You can apply to the Family Courts for an order specifying where and with who the children should live, and regulating contact with the other parent.

 

  • Domestic abuse is dealt with both under the criminal law and the civil law. The two systems are separate and are administered by separate courts.
  • The civil law is primarily aimed at protection (or in some cases compensation). A survivor of domestic violence can make an application for an injunction (a court order) either to the Family Proceedings Court or the County Court (usually through her solicitor). Other family proceedings (such as child contact or divorce) also take place in the County Court.
  • The criminal law is primarily aimed at punishing the offender. The police together with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initiate the process. Criminal cases are heard in either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court depending on the severity of the charge.
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