Domestic Abuse Support
No one should live in fear of abuse. We echo the thoughts of the ENOUGH campaign and want to play our part in bringing about change. Abuse is never justfied. It must stop!
This page is a safe hub which aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse in society and its harmful impacts, provide support and information to colleagues affected and offer reassurance that it is safe and acceptable to raise concerns.
What is abuse?
Domestic abuse is described as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.
Domestic abuse takes many forms including physical, emotional, economic, stalking and harassment and sexual.
Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse. Anyone can be a victim, but some people - particularly women - are more likely to be. However, it is also important to remember that men can be the subject of domestic abuse too.
The abuse can happen at home or in a public place like a community centre, school or work. It can be in person or online.
Recognising Domestic Abuse
The dropdown list below highlights just a handful of the many different ways you, or someone you know, can recognise whether they are in an abusive relationship.
- Destructive Criticism and Verbal Abuse
Shouting; mocking; accusing; name calling; verbally threatening.
- Pressure Tactics
Sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnecting the phone and internet, taking away or destroying your mobile, tablet or laptop, taking the car away, taking the children away; threatening to report you to the police, social services or the mental health team unless you comply with demands; threatening or attempting self-harm and suicide; withholding or pressuring you to use drugs or substances; lying to your friends and family about you; telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
Persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you talk; interrupting your telephone calls; taking money from you without asking; refusing to help with childcare or housework.
- Breaking Trust
Lying to you; withholding information from you; being jealous; having other relationships; breaking promises and shared agreements.
Monitoring or blocking your phone calls, emails and social media accounts, telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends and relatives; locking you in the house.
Help and Support
- Help if you are being hurt
Help if you are being hurt
Domestic abuse can affect anyone at any time – there are no restrictions and it happens to people from all walks of life.
You might not even realise that you are a victim, but perhaps something isn’t sitting quite right with you. You can call the helpline number below who will be able to offer support if this is the case.
24/7 National Helpline Number: 0808 2000 247
If you are in an abusive relationship and do decide to leave this relationship, we know there are lots of things that need to be considered. Refuge - Against Domestic abuse have a guide to leaving an abuse relationship which you can view by clicking here.
Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Claire's Law)
DVDS is a police-run scheme that lets you, or any member of the public formally request or receive usually confidential information about a romantic partner’s criminal history.
This might be a current partner who you are worried might have been abusive in the past. It can also be an ex-partner you are no longer involved with but believe may be a threat to your safety.
You can make a DVDS application if you believe you are personally at risk of abuse, or are concerned on behalf of a close friend or relative.
Under Clare’s Law you have two rights: to ask, and to know
1- The ‘right to ask’ means that you can make a DVDS application to ask about a current or ex-partner that you think might have a record of abusive behaviour or violence. Any information that the police share with you about a partner is called ‘disclosure’.
You can also ask on behalf of a close friend or relative, who you think might be at risk from their current or former partner. However, you may not necessarily receive any disclosure depending on who you are. The police may decide it is more appropriate to share with your loved one directly, or with someone who is more able to protect their safety.
2- The ‘right to know’ means that if police checks show that your current or ex-partner has a history of abusive behaviour, they may proactively share that information with you because they believe you are at future risk.
Support for men experiencing domestic abuse
We recognise that men can experience domestic abuse too. Nobody should have to live in fear of their partner. There are specialist services to support men which you can view by clicking here.
- Helping someone you know
It can be very upsetting to see someone you know stuck in an abusive relationship. If you are worried about someone, you can call one of the helplines on the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 or visit their website by clicking here.
They have support services who will listen to you and suggest ways in which you could help your friend or relative.
Here are a few tips they could give you:
- See your friend on their own (not with their partner) as often as you can and make sure that they know you are there for them.
- Listen to them, try to understand and take care not to blame them.
- Try telling them that you are worried about them, say why you are worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it.
- Never approach or challenge the abuser - this could put someone in more danger.
- Find out about where your friend can go for help and where to find more information – not so that you can tell your friend what to do, but so that you can help them to decide for themselves.
- Offer to go with them to see the doctor or solicitor or to make a report to the police.
- Try to help your friend to feel good about themselves. If their partner has been undermining them, their self esteem may be low.
- Let them know how much you care about them or tell them how much you appreciate their company – you know best what your friend might like to hear.
- Try to arrange social occasions that involve your friend without their partner, but without doing this obviously.
- Be aware that the abuser may try to undermine you and isolate your friend from any support network, for example the abuser might make it very difficult for your friend to go out or be rude to you if you visit.
- Always prioritise safety – yours and theirs. The abuser won’t appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it. Have a look at the Safety Plan.
What to say if you are supporting someone who is being abused:
“It’s wrong and it’s not your fault – you don’t deserve this, no-one should have to feel afraid of their partner or ex.”
“It’s illegal for your partner or ex-partner to do this.”
“You (or your children or neighbours) can always call 999 in an emergency or the police station or domestic violence unit.”
“If you want, you can leave now, whether it’s for a break or for good – there are refuges you can go where you’ll be safe, or you can stay with a friend or relative.”
“Whatever you decide to do, you can always talk to me. I do care what happens.”
- Help if you are hurting someone
Are you concerned that your behaviour towards your partner is costing you your relationship? Are you worried your children are witnessing too many arguments between their parents?
It’s ok to ask for help, support is available.
People from all walks of life become offenders of domestic abuse and, much like victims, there are no restrictions on who commits these offences. It can be tough facing up to difficult problems.
The Respect website includes information about domestic abuse. Respect encourage you to think hard and face up honestly to the things that you have done.
You might have done some things only once or twice, but in many cases you’ll notice that there is a pattern to the abusive things you do. By making yourself more aware of your abusive behaviours it will become easier to make changes and stop. However, changing abusive behaviours is a long and difficult process.
The Respect website is not designed as an alternative to a specialist perpetrator programme, however. We encourage you to get in touch with your local project so that you can get some support.
Why communities need to work with domestic violence perpetrators. Support services for victims and children are vital but unless communities engage directly with perpetrators, domestic violence will not stop.
This is because:
- Many perpetrators don’t come into contact with the criminal justice system.
- Even if they are convicted and imprisoned, they will soon be back in the community, often back in the same family.
- Most perpetrators have ongoing contact with their children, even if the relationship has ended.
- When one relationship ends, most perpetrators have other relationships, creating new victims.
- One of the requests from some victims is for someone to work with their partner, to help them change and to keep them safe from his violence.
Domestic Abuse Workplace Impact
Domestic abuse is a workplace issue for many reasons. It has the potential to:
- Damage job security and career prospects
- Control working hours or the ability to participate in work-related activities
- Cause the victim to be late for work
- Isolate the victim from colleagues
- Lead to low self-esteem and confidence where they feel unable to work
- Lead to low levels of motivation
- Result in the victim being less productive at work
- Lead to the perpetrator demanding that earnings be paid into a specific bank account or diverting monies to be paid into a joint account
- Cause injuries that result in sickness absence
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, there are many workplace adjustments and support mechanisms that can be put in place as shown in the dropbox link below.
- Special Leave (paid) for Relevant Appointments
This can be granted by contacting the HR Business Partner & Advisory Team
- Flexible Working Hours
You may be granted temporary of permanent changes to working times and patterns or help to feel less at risk when travelling to and from work.
- Paid Special Leave
You may be granted paid carers leave.
- Changes to Specific Duties
It may be that you are moved away from publicly accessible areas and answering phones.
- Measures to Ensure a Safe Working Environment
It may be that a telephone number is changed to avoid harassing phone calls, or switchboard staff are alerted not to provide information about colleagues, especially personal details such as home address, work email address, personal or work telephone numbers or shift patterns.
A safe parking space may be provided closer to an entrance along with an escort to and from the car park if necessary. Lighting and security measures such as security cameras can also be improved.
Being accompanied on any off-site visits may also be an appropriate step, as well as considering removing a specific name form the GMC website.
- Health and Wellbeing Support
Providing wellbeing support is also important, some of which you can find on our website here.
Further Support and Resources
Domestic Abuse Support - This is a blogpost where members of the Health, Saftey and Wellbeing Group (HSWG), Samantha Whann and Kim Sunley, discuss the importance of having a workplace policy and bespoke support for staff regarding domestic abuse.
EIDA - The employers initiative on domestic abuse (EDIA) have several webinars and events that you can get involved in.
Contact us in Confidence
If you, or somebody you know, is currently the victim of domestic abuse, please contact us in confidence by completing the form below so we can get you the help you need.
- Contact us in Confidence
Contact us in Confidence
If you are worried about someone knowing you have completed this form or visited a website, please follow the following link for information on how you can cover your tracks: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/cover-your-tracks-online/
Please note that this form is confidential and any information provided will not be shared.