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If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we recommend that you take the following safety measures to protect yourself.

We are frequently contacted by concerned friends and family members asking about what they can do if someone they know is experiencing abuse. If you know them well, encourage them to speak to someone and give them our telephone number so they can receive prompt and informed advice for their unique situation. Many women who reach us have experienced accelerated abuse because they have been given uninformed and unsafe advice.

If you know someone who is experiencing abuse but do not know them well (for example, a neighbour, a member of your local faith group or a parent at your child’s school), call us to receive information cards that you can either give directly to the person in need of help or pass on to the school, faith establishment or mutual acquaintance.

You can also encourage the person experiencing abuse to:

Dial 999 for emergency help

Dial 111 for non-emergency help

Talk to their GP

Explore appropriate legal pathways such as non-molestation orders and injunctions

Escape to a refuge or safe house accommodation (this can be well away from the local area)

Seek help from Aanchal, particularly if they do not have British citizenship. Their information will be kept confidential.

Stay vigilant about the various forms of domestic abuse, including physical, emotional, financial and sexual.

You can read more about the common signs of domestic abuse at ' How do I know I am experiencing abuse?'

20% of children in the UK have been exposed to domestic abuse (Radford et al. NSPCC, 2011)

62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed (SafeLives, 2015)

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you have probably tried to shield your children from the worst of it. But it is important to realise that in most situations where abuse is present, children inevitable become aware of it and are often the subject of the abuse. A large number of these children suffer through the physical and psychological effects into adulthood.

To cope with the impact of domestic abuse, children can adopt many different coping strategies. Some of the signs that your child is experiencing the effects of domestic abuse are:

How can I keep my children safe?

1) Talk to your children: You can keep your children safe by keeping them informed and by creating a healthy and safe relationship with them so they are able to talk to you.

Children are silent witnesses and what they witness can create lifelong confusion. Talk to them and communicate reasons for decision making regularly.

2) Understand the abuse: You can keep your children safe by understanding the behaviours perpetrator adopt to use children in an abusive situation.

3) We can speak with you about child protection and reporting abuse. Your local social care support will help you with action plans towards safeguarding. Parents find this useful in helping them understand the depth of the abuse and take decisive actions to move away from an abusive environment.

4) Report the abuse: You can report to the police, to your GP or to you child’s school.

If you think you are experiencing abuse, call Aanchal Women’s Aid now on 0845 451 2547. Do not dwell on doubt. Talk to us. Our service is confidential and non-judgemental.

“I could heal the cuts and hide the bruises, but it was his words that really hurt me. His words stayed in my head, tormenting me, long after he has gone. He taught me that I was worthless and I believed him. I still hear his voice in my head all the time, telling me I am nothing.”
– AWA survivor

The ultimate goal of an abuser is control. They want you to behave only in the ways that they prescribe and they achieve this control with abuse. For many women and children who have been subjected to abuse, it is difficult to know what a healthy relationship is. Abuse is normalised and accepted.

Domestic abuse can make you feel isolated, unable to talk to others, embarrassed, ashamed, worthless, low self-esteem, insignificant, vulnerable and powerless to change your circumstances. As a result, many women remain with an abuser, lacking the self-esteem to act or living in the hope that the abuser will change. Abusers do change – they frequently get worse. Violence is progressive. It almost always escalates over time. Emotional abuse almost always leads to physical violence.

Each case of domestic abuse is unique but there are some common trends that we see across each case. The list below can help you recognise if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse.

Remember, an abuser can be a family member not just an intimate partner:

The facts:

Many women endure abuse for a long period of time before they report the violence or leave the situation. Some never leave.

The impact of domestic abuse can be devastating and far-reaching. Violence against women has serious consequences for their physical and mental health. Many survivors suffer physical harm, which can have fatal consequences. Besides the obvious physical injuries abused women are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic systems, eating problems and post traumatic disorder.  Sustained abuse may also trigger suicide attempts or psychotic episodes.

Domestic violence and abuse is:

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

Controlling behavior is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploring their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behavior.

Coercive behavior is an act or pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

The definition includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour based violence', female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily.

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