First Aid: Part 15 (12min)
Empower – Domestic Abuse
Did you know……
1 in 4 women in Surrey has experienced abuse from a known partner since the age of 18.
1 in 8 women are suffering right now!
1 in 6 men have been affected.
Are you being hurt by someone close to you?
Do you know someone who is being hurt by someone close to them?
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse is any form of physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse within the context of a close relationship, usually between two partners or ex-partners.
Domestic Abuse may happen in any close relationship no matter what age gender, sexuality, or physical ability, across all social classes, and ethnic or racial backgrounds.
Abuse can involve:
Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking and bruising
Rape and forced participation in sexual acts
Ridicule, constant criticism, threats and manipulation.
Isolation, sleep deprivation, intimidation and threatening or controlling behaviour.
Are you experiencing Domestic Abuse?
Sometimes people in an abusive relationship feel that what they experience is not serious enough to be called abuse.
People in abusive relationships often become isolated from friends and family. It can feel as if you are the only one experiencing this.
Many people feel that the abuse they are experiencing is their fault
You may feel that you would not be understood or believed if you told family, friends or even professionals.
Suffering abuse can seriously affect your health, your confidence and belief in yourself.
Please remember you are not alone.
For example, the South West Surrey Outreach Team can offer support and advice to women, men and children within the community, whether they have left or are still living in an abusive relationship.
They can offer you support over the telephone or at an agreed meeting place where it is safe to do so.
They can offer advice with housing issues
They also offer advocacy work to support you when attending court hearings or solicitors appointments.
They can find you emergency accommodation if needed.
They can just sit and listen to you if you just need to talk.
If you want to access support over the phone, you can call:
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123
Please remember in an emergency to call 999.
Other helpful numbers to call:
South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach – call us in confidence: 01483 577392
Surrey Women’s Aid (24hr helpline) 01483 776822
Samaritans 08457 909090
Refuge 24 hour helpline 0808 2000 247
Childline 0800 1111
Awareness of key situations
In 90% of domestic abuse incidents, children are in the same or next room.
At least 750,000 children witness domestic abuse every year. (Women’s Aid)
Kerry thought she could ‘handle it’ – and it took a long time and a great deal of harm before she realised that she couldn’t. No-one could. (See video)
Effects of Domestic Abuse from conception to 2 – it’s not just the parent who is affected:
- An unborn baby may be a target of an attack
- Premature birth Stillbirth
- Low birth weight
- Poor antenatal care
- Baby feels their mother’s fear and anxiety and exhibits signs of stress
- Poor health
- Difficulty sleeping and settling
- Excessive screaming or crying
- Frozen awareness (‘bunny in the headlights’)
- Slow emotional development
- Withdrawn or challenging behaviour
- Poor attachments/bonding with parents/others
(‘In Plain Sight: Effective Help For Children Exposed to Domestic Abuse’, 2013, CAADA ( Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse’ )
An estimated 130,000 children in the UK live in households with high-risk domestic abuse; that is, where there is a significant risk of harm or death.
6% of all children are estimated to be exposed to severe domestic abuse between adults in their homes at some point in childhood. Thousands more live with other levels of domestic abuse every single day.
Children are at greater risk of direct harm if they are exposed to domestic abuse. 62% of children exposed were also directly harmed.
Exposure to domestic abuse causes serious physical and psychological harm to children.
There is a relationship between the cessation of domestic abuse and the cessation of direct harm to children.
(A Place Of Greater Safety’, 2012, CAADA)
66% of victims in our data-set had children living in or visiting the home where domestic abuse was taking place. Most of these children were under 5 and had been living with abuse for the majority of their lives. On average it took those with children a year longer to access support than those without children. Children who live with domestic abuse are at increased risk of behavioural problems and emotional trauma as well as mental health difficulties later in life. (‘Kidspeak: Giving Children and Young People a Voice on Domestic Abuse’, 2007, Jackie Barron, Women’s Aid.)
“Domestic violence of any kind is never okay. Sadly, as we have found it doesn’t just end with the act itself when the perpetrator stops – but goes on to have far-reaching and a continuous impact on the victim, the children and even the children’s children.
Research has shown that many children who grew up in a domestically abusive home grow up either as perpetrators themselves or enablers. We can’t just turn a blind eye any more….the elephant is definitely resident in the room.”
Parents with children often stay and try to make the marriage work because of the children, not wanting children to grow up without a parent. They don’t want to take the child and move into a refuge, and don’t have anywhere else to go. They also fear that they would be unable to financially support themselves and the child alone.
None of these are good reasons to stay in an abusive relationship. Women’s Aid can help resolve all of those issues and help direct abused women – and men – to the support they need.
Domestic Abuse is often psychological – not just physical. Many men also suffer abuse – including physical abuse – from their spouse – so don’t hold any preconceptions.
If one person is in physical danger from the other even in a public place, then obviously traditional mediation would be a bad idea. But what then can happen is that the abuser goes to court and represents themselves, and cross-examines their (previously abused) spouse in the court over child access or other issues – which is merely carrying on the abuse in another form. This cruel situation will hopefully change but to date that is still a real possibility in the family law system.
So it’s useful to know that in extreme cases, there is still the option of Online Mediation where the couple can be miles apart and unaware of each other’s locations.
More often – if no immediate danger is present, then Shuttle Mediation allows the mediator to move between two rooms so that the couple remain separate, but the mediation can continue.
With Collaborative Law – perhaps with an experienced counsellor/therapist in the room – two Collaboratively trained solicitors representing each of the couples can seek solutions without having to go to court. The couple still both need to be willing in all cases to try to seek a solution out of court, but even a Narcissistic abusive Ex may not want to waste thousands on the divorce by using the courts – so never rule out the options.
If an employee is at risk in the workplace from a spouse/ex-partner – their employers have a legal duty of care to keep their employees safe. Which in extreme cases may involve hiring a security guard to protect that vulnerable member of staff.
suzyMillerCreator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
6th March 2022
2nd March 2024