Would you recognise these signs of domestic violence?
- Credit: Anglia Care Trust
Would you recognise the signs of domestic violence - either in your own life, or that of a friend?
Anglia Care Trust, which in partnership with Suffolk County Council has launched a free, 24/7 Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline (0800 977 5690), has outlined a series of questions and answers around the issue - and explained what to do if you suspect abuse.
Q: What is domestic abuse?
A: Domestic abuse is any behaviour in a relationship that makes one person scared or frightened for their own safety - mentally or physically.
Q: Is there a typical domestic abuse victim?
A: The simple answer is ‘no’. Domestic abuse can happen to someone of any gender, any age, any ethnicity, any religion, any sexuality and any profession. The one thing that all people who experience domestic abuse have in common is that they are not to blame.
Q: Is there a typical domestic abuse perpetrator?
A: The simple answer, again, is ‘no’. Domestic abuse can be carried out by anyone that you have a relationship with: a partner, a spouse; a child; a parent; any other relative. A perpetrator of domestic abuse can be of any gender, any age, any ethnicity, any religion, any sexuality and any profession.
Q: How do I know I’m being domestically abused?
A: If any of the following applies to you, you may be living with domestic abuse. You can phone the Suffolk Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 977 5690 for advice; there is never an excuse for any type of abuse in any relationship:
- If you are in a relationship where you feel frightened of any consequences.
- If you ‘walk on eggshells’ around someone that makes you scared.
- If you are being isolated from friends and family by someone that you’re in a relationship with. Coercive control is a type of domestic abuse.
- If you have no control over your own finances, if you aren’t allowed to keep your own cash/cards. Financial abuse, another form of domestic abuse.
- If you are constantly being told that you’re ‘going mad’ or ‘losing the plot’. This is gas lighting, another form of domestic abuse.
- Stalking is a form of abuse.
- The most well-known form of domestic abuse is violence.
Q: How do I know that a friend/relative/colleague is being abused?
A: Signs to look out for are:
- Unexplained injuries, or injuries for which the explanation from your friend seems doubtful.
- A change in behaviours such as:
- Not being invited to your friend’s house any more
- If your friend is refusing all invitations to socialise
- Your friend begins to become anxious if they are late home
- Your friend never has any money
- If your friend’s personality changes and is on edge or vaguer than usual or suffers from self-doubt
- Is your friend receiving constant texts, calls or emails?
Q: What should I do if I believe I’m being abused, or if I suspect abuse in others?
A: Depending on the circumstance and urgency, there are several things you can do:
- If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial 999. If it’s unsafe to talk, press 55 afterwards and the operator will know you need help
- If you’re able to, call the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 977 5690 for help, advice and action
- Visit the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline website: www.suffolkdahelpline.org.uk for information
- If you’re unable to call, but can use a computer, visit: www.angliacaretrust.org.uk during office hours and use the live web chat facility
Q: What happens when I call the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline?
A: An operator will take your details and listen to your query and then, depending on the urgency of your situation, they will direct you to one of the following:
• They may advise you to dial 999
• They may refer you to Anglia Care Trust's own Domestic Abuse Outreach Support team
• They may contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on your behalf and initiate a refuge search
• They may contact other local charities to find a refuge for you
• They may direct you to other specialist charities/organisations for more support
• They may take your details and obtain advice for you
The Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline is there for anyone; people living with or survivors of domestic abuse; friends, family or colleagues concerned about someone; and for advice.
For information on identifying domestic abuse, a guide to what happens when you call the helpline, and for resources to help you share the message, visit: www.suffolkdahelpline.org.uk
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