Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Both men and women can be abused or abusers, but in the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men. It’s described as any incident or pattern of incidents that are: controlling, coercive, threatening, violent. It is called domestic abuse because it affects those in a relationship, the whole family or all those living together in a home. It affects those who witness the abuse and the wider family and friends who are aware of the abuse. Domestic abuse can happen:
- inside and outside the home
- over the phone, on the internet and on social networking sites
- in any relationship and can continue even after the relationship has ended
- to men and women. Both can be abused or abusers.
What to do if you’re experiencing domestic abuse
To report abuse please:
- complete an online form or referral form
- contact Community Health and Social Care Direct
- contact someone you trust, such as a GP, nurse, police officer or care worker, then they will pass on your concerns to the safeguarding agencies
If you’re worried someone might see you have visited a domestic violence help page, the Women’s Aid website tells you how to cover your tracks online.
Types of domestic abuse
Domestic abuse (also known as domestic violence) can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological, such as:
- kicking, hitting, punching or cutting
- sex or a sexual act without your consent, rape, unwanted sexual demands
- controlling someone’s finances by withholding money or stopping someone earning
- controlling behaviour, like telling someone where they can go and what they can wear
- not letting someone leave the house
- reading emails, text messages or letters
- threatening to kill someone or harm them
- threatening another family member or pet
- belittling you
- making unreasonable demands for attention
- destroying things that belong to you or family members
Signs of domestic abuse
It can be difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening. Abusers can act very differently when other people are around. There are signs that family members, children and young people have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse which include:
- aggression or bullying
- anti-social behaviour, like vandalism
- anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts
- drug or alcohol use
- eating disorders
Children may also show these signs
- attention seeking
- bed-wetting, nightmares or insomnia
- constant or regular sickness, like colds, headaches and mouth ulcers
- problems in school or trouble learning
Effects of domestic abuse
Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as behaviour. With children and young people this can last into adulthood.
What’s important is to make sure the abuse stops and the family and particularly children and young people have a safe and stable environment to grow up in.
Domestic abuse support services
- have a refuge for women and their children who are moving from abusive relationships. It’s open 24 hours a day.
- support men who need alternative housing to leave abusive relationships
- offer an outreach service where they support people at risk of abuse
- give independent advice about domestic and sexual violence for victims at high risk of harm
- offer support with housing and legal issues, access to benefits, training, employment and finding schools and childcare
Newcastle Women’s Aid offer 1 to 1 or group support to help recover after experiencing domestic abuse.
Changing Lives offer help for those needing accommodation when escaping abuse.
Victims First support witnesses to crime, violence and assault.
Women, children and families support services
- Refuge provide a 24 hour helpline and provide specialist accommodation and support to women and children escaping domestic violence and other forms of violence and abuse.
- Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service has a refuge for women and their children who are moving from abusive relationships. It’s open 24 hours a day.
- West End Women and Girls Centre carry out preventative work and offer support and courses to victims of domestic abuse.
- Barnardo’s is a children’s charity that run over 1,000 services in local communities, and support around 300,000 children, young people and families every year. This includes families affected by domestic abuse.
Men’s support services
- Men’s Advice Line provides a range of services aimed primarily at men experiencing domestic abuse from their partner.
- ManKind Initiative helps and supports male victims of domestic abuse and violence.
Sexual assault support services
- REACH is the north east SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) providing 24-hour crisis intervention and support for anyone who has experienced a sexual offence, regardless of when the offence occurred or whether the incident was reported to the police or not.
- Rape Crisis is a charity that provides sexual violence services to women and girls over the age of 13 who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland. They provide free, safe, professional support and information for women and girls over 13 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives. They offer: counselling, telephone helpline, email support, practical and emotional support and specialist information.
Emotional support services
- Breathing Space provides practical and emotional support to survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. It’s an app that can be used on any device, including a computer browser. Helping you find the right support at the right time with an easy-to-use signposting section. As many perpetrators of abuse monitor website use or phones to further control their victims it is designed so you can exit information quickly to a website of your choice such as BBC weather.
- Harbour provides online help and a 24 hour telephone line for families and individuals who are affected by abuse from a partner, former partner or other family member.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBTQ+) support services
- Galop provides hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence support services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans + victims and survivors by telephone, email, text and WhatsApp.
“Honour” Based Abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation support services
- Karma Nirvana run the national Honour Based Abuse Helpline.
- Angelou Centre offers BAME people support including forced marriage, honour based abuse, modern day slavery and support for women with no recourse to public funds.
- IKWRO provides advice and support to Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls living in the UK who are facing Forced Marriage, Child Marriage, “Honour” Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Domestic Violence. They offer advice in Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Pashto and English and run a free counselling service in Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and English.
Support in other languages
- SignHealth provides domestic abuse service support for deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL)
- Chayn provides online help and resources in several languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.
Older People support services
- We Are Hourglass (formerly Action on Elder Abuse) is a charity which provides information and support to older people who have experienced or are concerned about abuse. They have a confidential helpline which provides information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse.
Perpetrators of domestic abuse – support to change their behaviour
The Respect Phoneline is a free phone helpline for people using violence and abuse in their relationships to get support to change, and for professionals who would like information about services.
Wearside Women in Need (WWiN) are working in partnership with Harbour to deliver FREE Ask Me Community Ambassador training online for people who live, study, work or volunteer in North Tyneside, Northumberland or Newcastle. Sign up through this link Women’s Aid Our approach: change that lasts – askme or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team will be in touch.
FLOWS offers a free legal advice and support to front-line workers working with women responding to domestic abuse. They can advise women themselves.
The Silent Police Solution
If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard to let the 999 operator know your call is genuine. All 999 calls are directed to call centres where you are asked which service you need. If no service is requested but something suspicious is heard during your call, BT operators will connect you to a police call handler if you can communicate with them using the steps described below:
How to Make Yourself Heard if unable to speak or making a noise would put you or someone else in danger:
- Listen to the call handlers questions
- Cough or tap the handset if possible
- Press 55 if prompted, to let them know your call is genuine. You can then be put through to the police
- If calling from a landline the silent solution can’t be used. They will try to ask you questions and get a response from you. If they can’t decide if your call is genuine, the call may be ended. However the call may stay connected for 45 seconds. Pick up the handset again to let the police know your call is genuine. If the call handler is worried about your safety you’ll be connected to your local police. Calling from a landline gives the call handler more information about your location.
- NHS domestic violence or abuse
- Operation Sanctuary continuing support
- Three steps to escaping Domestic Violence – a free downloadable GOV.UK leaflet available in 13 different languages
- Dogs Trust Freedom Project is a free and confidential dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse and going into refuge.
- Personal safety
- Adult abuse
- Fearless.org provides non-judgemental information and advice about crime. You can send information about a crime anonymously using their website. It educates and empowers young people about crime, allowing them to feel Fearless when speaking up against crime
- SafeLives have online resources for survivors, professionals and policymakers. This includes covid related information
- Against Violence and Abuse have online resources which includes sections on supporting survivors, professional self-care and a Covid-19 resource hub
- The Revenge Porn Helpline supports adult victims of intimate image abuse who live in the UK. They provide advice, guidance and support with helping to remove intimate content which has been non-consensually shared online.
- StopNCII.org is a free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse.
Last updated: January 19, 2022