Mon 30 November 2020

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Domestic Abuse Awareness


What is Domestic Abuse?

It includes mental, emotional, sexual as well as physical violence, and can include damage to the aggrieved property and vehicles.  The abuse usually grows worse once it starts.  It is not trivial and can lead to death.
Anyone can be subjected to domestic abuse. It includes all social classes, occupations, culture and origins.
You are not on your own, just remember that there are literally thousands of other individuals in this country each year who are being abused.
  • Do not believe it is your fault.
  • You have the right to live a life free of violence of any type.
  • You can do something about it and help is available. 

Myths and Facts

Myth: Domestic Abuse is violence which takes place inside people’s homes.
Fact:   Domestic Abuse can take place anywhere
Myth:  “It can’t be that bad, or they’d leave”.
Fact:   A person remains in a violent home for reasons ranging from love to terror.  There are often    also practical reasons why they do not leave.
Myth:  “They must ask for it, deserve it or provoke it”.
Fact:   No one ‘deserves’ to be beaten up, mentally tortured or subjected to any abuse whatsoever.  The so called provocation has often been simply to ask for money for food, not having a meal ready on time, etc.  The person often blames themselves at first but there is no justification for violence.
Myth:  “Domestic Violence can only occur in ‘straight’ relationships”.
Fact:   Anyone can be subject to Domestic Abuse, whatever social class, occupation, culture, origin or sexual orientation.
Myth:  “No one should interfere in the domestic affairs within the home”.
Fact:   A large percentage of reported violent crime takes place within the home.  Everyone has the right to be protected by the criminal law, in their own home.
Myth:  “It’s only drunken men who abuse people”.
Fact:   Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone, and not only people living together.  An ex-partner, son, daughter, mother or father and it cannot be blamed on alcohol alone, but drink can provide an easy excuse.  Drugs taken by addicts or for medical reasons are also be no excuse for violence of any kind.
Myth:  “They’re not really threatened by violence and it’s just an excuse to be re-housed”.
Fact:   A refuge is no palace.  Few people would choose to take this action unless they are desperate.  Councils have limited resources and cannot help people whose problem is solely housing related and long waiting lists usually exist.

What can be done?

Step 1: Recognise Domestic Abuse for what it is.  Stop denying or playing down the abuse you are experiencing.
Step 2: Recognise that the responsibility for the abuse lies with the abuser.  You have the right to live free of fear, threat and abuse.
Step 3: Seek help and support which will enable you to do this.

How can something be done?

There are a number of different methods that can be used to help your situation and it is up to yourself to choose the method which is best for you.
  • Challenge their control of you by seeing your friends, doing a course or getting a job.
  • Persuade them to go (either alone or with you) for counselling.
  • Get a family or community member who they respect to talk to them and openly challenge them.
  • Call the police – being strongly cautioned or arrested and detained may change their behaviour.
  • Join (or set up) a support group.  Here you can meet other people with similar experiences.
  • Leave in order to show the abuser that they are not prepared to tolerate abuse. 
  • You may be concerned that racism, cultural differences or languages will create barriers.  Being a person from any minority group will not prejudice police action.
Interpreters can be arranged if required.  There are multi-cultural refuges and expert advice that can be provided.
Change for an abusive person involves more than stopping the violence.  It also means giving up other forms of control that they have used, e.g. threats, humiliation or controlling you with money or limiting what you can and cannot do.
If you are trying to save your relationship but it ends in violence, you should check out sources of support, and places you can escape to if the behaviour gets worse.
One thing that you can do is build up a crisis plan, and by doing this will help you feel more in control of your life.
Most of all is not to suffer in silence and keep yourself SAFE.

General observations

The police take domestic abuse very seriously.  An attack in your home is just as an attack in the street by a stranger. Call the police if you feel threatened in any way.  Do not be afraid to dial ‘999’ in an emergency to get help as quickly as possible.  If a neighbour, friend or relative has called the police without your knowledge, do not say that everything is all right and send them away if everything is not. Always seek legal advice before setting out to obtain an injunction or filing for divorce.  A Solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to help you. 
Domestic Abuse is happening all around us and there is a lot of help available from different agencies so you do not have to face it on your own.  Ask and act before it is too late.
Tom Carrick 03.01.15