We want to start by putting some facts on the table. According to statistics 2.1 million people suffer from some form of domestic abuse every year in the UK – 1.4 million of these people are women. Disturbingly, on average, 7 people a month are killed in this country as a result of domestic violence and approximately 130,000 children in the UK live in homes where domestic abuse occurs. The numbers are clear, domestic abuse is a big problem in this country and chances are you could yourself have experienced this or have come in contact with someone suffering at the hands of an abuser.
Have a look at our checklist to see some of the key indicators of abuse.
- Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
- Has your partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
- Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
- Does your partner accuse you unjustly of flirting or of having affairs?
- Does your partner constantly belittle or humiliate you, or regularly criticise or insult you in front of other people?
- Are you ever scared of your partner?
- Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do or say to you?
- Has your partner ever deliberately destroyed any of your possessions?
- Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you or your children?
- Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you’re unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
- Has your partner ever forced you to do something that you really didn’t want to do, including sexually?
If someone you know has confided in you that they are the victim of domestic abuse, assure them that this is a positive step and there are ways that you can support them:
- Be there for them, an ear to listen is an important step and let them know they can contact you at anytime
- Don’t judge. The decision to tell someone is a big step and the decision to leave is even bigger
- Reassure them that it is not their fault and they do not deserve to be treated like this
- Find out what help and support is available for them and share this
- Talk through their options with them
- Speak to an expert – contact National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or go to http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/