What can you do?
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What can you do?
- Recognise that what is happening to you is domestic abuse - it is abuse and it is unacceptable.
- Accept that you are not to blame, they are responsible for their own actions.
- Find help and support to work out your options and increase your safety.
Are you at risk of serious harm?
If any of the following are happening to you, you could be at a high risk of serious harm – we strongly encourage you to seek support and protection from the police or another Domestic Abuse service if:
- The abuse is getting worse or you have been seriously hurt
- The perpetrator has threatened to kill you
- You have recently separated, or told your partner you are going to leave
- The perpetrator has access to weapons
- The perpetrator has raped or sexually assaulted you.
- The perpetrator is harassing or stalking you after you have left
- The perpetrator is extremely jealous, possessive and controlling
- You are pregnant or have recently given birth
- You are socially or culturally isolated by the perpetrator
- There is extended family involvement and collusion with the abuse
- The perpetrator is misusing drugs or alcohol
- The perpetrator is abusive, aggressive or threatening towards your children
- The perpetrator has a history of ignoring or breaking injunctions or other court orders.
If you are concerned that you or your children may be at risk of serious harm always call the police on 999. Their first priority is to protect you.
If you have decided to leave your partner
- Try to take your children with you.
- Pack a change of clothes for yourself and your children, and favourite toys.
- Take all official documents, for example, birth and marriage certificates, benefit books, passports, savings books, cheque books and cards, driving licence and insurance documents with you if you leave.
- Take any medication that you or your children may need.
- If you leave and later discover that you have left something essential behind, the police may be able to escort you so that you can return for it.
Having a safety plan
Even if you are still committed to your relationship and don’t feel ready to seek help from an agency, having a safety plan in place to deal with a crisis can help keep you and your children safe.
- Talk to a friend, family member or neighbour you can trust about the situation. Ask if you could go to them in an emergency.
- Keep a list of useful phone numbers – or programme them into your phone memory.
- Make a plan of where to go and how to get there in an emergency.
- Set aside cash for a taxi, bus or train.
- Have a set of spare keys cut for the house and car, and keep them in a safe place.
- You may want to pack a bag with some of the items listed above and leave them with your trusted friend or relative.
For further information visit our contacts page for support services and support organisations who can give advice.
If you know someone suffering domestic abuse - what can you do?
People experiencing Domestic Abuse are more likely to tell a trusted friend about what is happening to them than they are to contact an agency for help. If you are concerned that someone you know is being abused there are things you can do to help.
- Make sure they are safe - if you witness or overhear a violent incident, call the police on 999. The police take Domestic Abuse very seriously and will take action to protect the victim. Consider if you are able to offer them a safe place to get to in an emergency
- Be understanding – explain that there are many people in this situation, and that you know they are not to blame. Offer them time to talk about it, but don’t pressure them into giving too much detail if they don’t want to
- Don’t blame the victim – even if they seem to be blaming themselves. Avoid asking questions like “what did you do to make him so angry?” No-one deserves to be attacked or abused, and the abuser is responsible for their actions
- Don’t criticise the abuser – this may put the person off telling you any more, or make them feel defensive
- Be supportive – be a good listener, encourage them to express how they feel
- Ask if they have been injured – encourage them to go to the doctor or hospital, offer to go with them if you can
- Give them information on the help that is available – look at the options together. Offer to phone agencies to find out what they can offer your friend. Offer to go with them to appointments if you are in a position to do so. Encourage them to find out about their options, even if they don’t feel ready to make any big decisions
- Help them put together a safety or crisis plan - Refer to the section above.
- Offer to let them use your address and phone number for receiving information and messages – their partner may open their post and screen their calls – this can prevent them from being able to seek help
- Do not put yourself in a dangerous position – don’t offer to talk to the abuser about your friend, or let the abuser see you as a threat to the relationship
If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 112 (from a mobile) for the Police