Am I being abused?

RECOGNISING IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP IS THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING HELP

Everyone has arguments, and everyone disagrees with their partners, family members, and others close to them from time to time. We all do things at times which we regret, and which cause unhappiness to those we care about. But if this begins to form a consistent pattern, then it is an indication of domestic abuse. It might not be easy to identify domestic abuse at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time.

Female Victims

1 in 4 women suffer domestic violenceRECOGNISING IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP IS THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING HELP

One in 4 women will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic abuse can happen to any woman regardless of where they live, their profession, or their social, economic, or ethnic background.

 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic abuse, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth. Domestic abuse during pregnancy puts women and their unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, and injury or death to the baby. It can also cause emotional and mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety, which can affect the development of the baby. Support is available from your midwife and health visitor.

 

If you are unsure, you are being hurt

The following questions may help you…

  • Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Has your partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
  • Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
  • Does your partner unjustly accuse you of flirting or of having affairs with others?
  • Does your partner constantly belittle or humiliate you, or regularly criticise or insult you in front of other people?
  • Are you ever afraid of your partner?
  • Have you ever changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you?
  • Has your partner ever destroyed any of your possessions deliberately?
  • Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you or your children?
  • Has your partner ever kept you short of money, so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to do something that you really did not want to do?
  • Has your partner ever tried to prevent you from taking necessary medication, or seeking medical help when you felt you needed it?
  • Has your partner ever tried to control you by telling you that you could be deported because of your immigration status?
  • Has your partner ever threatened to take your children away, or refused to let you take them with you, or even to see them, if you left them?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have sex with them or with other people?
  • Has he or she made you participate in sexual activities that you are uncomfortable about?
  • Has your partner ever tried to prevent your leaving the house?
  • Does your partner blame their use of alcohol or drugs for their behaviour?
  • Does your partner control your use of alcohol or drugs? – For example, by forcing your intake or by withholding substances.

If you have answered yes to one or more of the questions above, this indicates that you may be experiencing domestic abuse.

 

Myths and Facts

WHAT SORT OF THOUGHTS MAY STOP SOMEONE SEEKING HELP OR LEAVING

“It is my fault”
It never is, no-one deserves to be abused in a relationship that is meant to be based on love and respect.

“It will stop soon”
Domestic abuse is very rarely a one-off event. It does tend to get worse and to happen more often over time.

“They are only abusive when they drink”
Alcohol is not an excuse for unacceptable behaviour.

“I wouldn’t be able to leave or cope on my own”
People often lose their confidence because of abuse. But many people do leave, and with the right help and support feel much better in the long run.

“I can’t deprive my children of their parent and home”
Children are always affected by domestic abuse. They need to feel safe.

” What if Social Services take my children”
It is acting responsibly to seek help for yourself and your children, and you are not to blame for someone else’s abuse. It is important that you – the non-abusing parent – are supported so that in turn you can support your children and ensure that they are safe.

” I am not ready to end this relationship”
Domestic Abuse Agencies do not expect you to leave your partner to receive help and support from them.

” What will other people think?”
People can be very concerned about what others may think and about the possible loss of friends, family, and their community. There is support available to look at all these issues.

” I love my partner and they love me”
Abuse has no place in a loving relationship.

” It is not domestic abuse as it does not happen all the time”
It does not matter if you experience domestic abuse daily, weekly, monthly, or infrequently – it is still abuse.

” If my partner only does these things occasionally, am I still being abused?”
Domestic abuse can vary in how often it happens and what happens. You may not think you are a victim of domestic abuse because there is no obvious pattern to the abuse. It may not happen every day or every week or even every month.

Has my own behaviour changed to try and cope with the abuse?

You might find you are:

  • Not socialising with friends or family because your partner doesn’t like it.
  • Staying at home and not wanting to leave the house.
  • Relying on your partner for money/having little control over finances.
  • Constantly trying to change to be what your partner wants.
  • Using alcohol or drugs as a coping strategy.

Facts you should know

  • Abuse rarely happens only once. In fact, it’s much more usual for the abuse to get more serious the longer it goes on. Despite their dominating ways, many perpetrators appear to go to pieces after an assault or if their partners threaten to leave them. They can be very remorseful and promise to stop the abuse, give up drinking etc. Partners sometimes feel sorry for them and agree to stay, but the abuse very rarely stops without the perpetrators gaining help with their abusive behaviour.
  • If your partner is concerned about their abusive behaviour and would like support, they can contact Talk Listen Change or the Respect National Helpline. The Respect National Helpline is a confidential helpline for domestic violence perpetrators (male, female, in heterosexual or same sex relationships).
  • There is life after an abusive relationship: Although this may seem very difficult, there are many benefits. Many people start new and rewarding lives.
  • Break the silence – don’t remain isolated: You have nothing to be ashamed of. Get help from someone you trust, or you can contact any of the organisations your area. You can phone them even if you want to talk. You don’t have to do anything. The more isolated you are, the harder it becomes to act. Don’t suffer alone, there’s lots of help available

Children and Domestic Abuse

Despite the best possible efforts of a child’s mother or carer to protect and shield them from the abusive partner, it is now well known that any child living in a household where domestic abuse occurs could have their physical health development, or emotional well-being affected. It is very important to remember that for any child, seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of others can be extremely distressing, resulting quite often in them not being able to make sense of what is happening in their home.

In a household where domestic abuse occurs, children can also be at serious risk of physical injury themselves, which could range from bruises, broken bones to serious multiple injuries. The emotional impact on children could include anxiety, bedwetting, difficult sleeping, changes in eating habits, behaviour changes, decreased self-esteem, insecurity, fear, or aggression.

For some children self-harming can occur, issues with schooling might develop and some children can place themselves at risk by avoiding coming back to their chaotic and unpredictable homes.

As part of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.

Male Victims

1 in 6 men suffer domestic abuseEssential Information for Men affected by Domestic Abuse

One is six men will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime:

You are not to blame
You are not weak
You are not alone

It can be especially hard for men experiencing abuse to seek support and assistance. You may feel confused and ashamed of the situation and fear that others would not believe you. However, experiencing violence and abuse as a man, does not mean that you are weak. It takes a lot of strength and self-control not to retaliate and respond either verbally or physically against someone, especially if you are physically stronger than them. Always try to avoid retaliating as this could lead to the situation escalating and someone getting seriously hurt. Try to leave the situation when you recognise the signs and triggers from your partner and feel that they may become violent or abusive to you.

You might stay in a harmful relationship to support your partner, hoping they will change, or to protect your child(ren), and endure years of suffering as a result. Always living in fear of violence and abuse has a massive impact on your confidence and self-esteem and can make it difficult to see a way out of the situation. As fewer men suffer long-term domestic abuse you may feel especially isolated and see no way out of the situation.

Domestic abuse is about power and control and can happen in all types of relationships, but in an abusive relationship the dominant partner actively chooses to use violence and abuse to intimidate, frighten, punish, and control the other partner. They may be remorseful, sorry and promise to change, but they are always responsible for how they behave, and it is not your fault. Domestic abuse is always wrong, there are no excuses.

You may feel that there is no advice, support and help for men in abusive relationships and you have few options, however this is not the case, professionals will take allegations of violence and abuse seriously and can listen to your story and help you make sense of the situation. Social attitudes are changing and, as people start to understand domestic abuse better, you might be surprised at how supportive agencies, family and friends can be.

You can contact a Male Domestic Violence Advisor at Stockport Without Abuse.

The male domestic violence worker can work with men around practical solutions to problems they may face because of domestic violence including how to report incidents, safety planning, police procedures and other support services.

They can also help with psychological support to boost emotional resilience, general support information and advocacy.

SWA do have safe accommodation for men and support to access this is part of their role and to offer support when you are in the accommodation.

There are also other local and national organisations that can offer advice and support and their contact details can be found in the Contacts section.

If you are a man suffering from domestic abuse, you will need to consider reducing the risk to yourself from your partner or ex – partner. We recommend that you consider making a safety plan as this will help you to prepare in advance for times when you may be in danger or are being verbally or physically abused. Some things you may consider:

  • Keep your phone fully charged, with you at all times and your credit topped up – 999 calls are free from a mobile.
  • Keep keys, cash, and important documents in a safe place or with a friend or family member
  • Tell a friend or family member about what is happening
  • Think about telling your employer about the situation
  • Always seek medical attention
  • Don’t retaliate – using violence, even in self-defence, may make the violence worse and police may confuse you for the perpetrator
  • Ring the police if you are frightened or want to report domestic abuse. Police will treat allegations of abuse seriously and will record incidents, which may help if you choose legal routes later – In an emergency always call 999
  • Ring the men’s worker at insert contact details– they can listen to you, give you advice and tell you about local support options
  • Ring Respect’s Men’s Advice Line – they can help you talk through the situation, make sense of it and advise you of your option. Insert details

 

Children and Domestic Abuse.

Despite the best possible efforts of the child’s parent or carer to protect and shield them from the abusive partner, it is now well-known that any child living in a household where domestic abuse occurs could have physical health, development, or emotional well-being affected. It is very important to remember that for any child, seeing or hearing ill treatment of others can be extremely disturbing, resulting quite often in them not being able to make sense of what is happening in their home.

In a household where domestic abuse occurs children can also be at risk of physical injury themselves, which could range from bruises, broken bones to serious multiple injuries. The emotional effect on children could include anxiety, bedwetting, difficulty sleeping, changes in eating habits, behavioural changes, decreased self-esteem, insecurity, fear, or aggression.

For some children self-harming can occur, issues with schooling might develop and some children can place themselves at risk by avoiding coming back to their chaotic and unpredictable homes.

Stockport without abuse  can take time to discuss with you any worries that you may have about your children. These might range from exploring the options available in the city to support you as a parent to rebuild the stability back in your child’s life, individual therapeutic work for your child or by supporting you with any parenting matters.

As part of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.

LGBTQ+

Same sex partners can suffer from domestic abuseLesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people suffering domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer from domestic violence and abuse also. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 LGBT people experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and 1 in 7 gay men have been in physically violent relationships.

For further information please use following link

LGBT Foundation – Domestic Abuse

 

 

Children and Domestic Abuse

Despite the best possible efforts of a child’s mother or carer to protect and shield them from the abusive partner, it is now well known that any child living in a household where domestic abuse occurs could have their physical health development, or emotional well-being affected. It is very important to remember that for any child, seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of others can be extremely distressing, resulting quite often in them not being able to make sense of what is happening in their home.

In a household where domestic abuse occurs, children can also be at serious risk of physical injury themselves, which could range from bruises, broken bones to serious multiple injuries. The emotional impact on children could include anxiety, bedwetting, difficult sleeping, changes in eating habits, behaviour changes, decreased self-esteem, insecurity, fear, or aggression.

For some children self-harming can occur, issues with schooling might develop and some children can place themselves at risk by avoiding coming back to their chaotic and unpredictable homes.

As part of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.

 

 

Children and young people are often directly and indirectly affected by domestic violence and abuse. They are the largest group of individuals living with domestic violence and abuse and, like adults, are individuals who may react in many ways. They are generally completely dependent on the adults around them, and if they do not feel safe in their homes, this can have many negative physical and emotional effects. Children’s and young people’s experiences may include the following:

  • Witnessing violence and abuse
  • Listening to violence or abuse
  • Trying to protect the non-abusing parent from violence and abuse
  • Being abused themselves
  • Not getting the attention and support from their non abusing parent because the perpetrator is preventing them from spending time with them
  • Being pressurised or made to participate in the abuse
  • Being made homeless by domestic violence and abuse
  • Losing contact with friends, family, school due to domestic violence
  • Non-attendance at school
  • Fear and emotional distress at what is happening but no outlets for this

It’s estimated that in any class of thirty children, between 2 and 4 are living with domestic abuse and this has been evidenced in Hull though the work undertaken in schools. Children may not be aware of this, and may feel isolated, frightened, and ashamed which might prevent them from talking to someone. They may also be very frightened and don’t know who they can trust.

It can be very frightening and confusing for children and young people, who love both their parents, to understand and make sense of a situation where one parent is hurting the other. The abusive parent may also blame and belittle the other parent, sometimes encouraging children or siblings to take part, so that the child or young person has a very unclear picture of who is responsible for the problems in their family unit. Younger children might understand the situation in simple terms, i.e. “my daddy’s angry because my mummy did something wrong”, or “because I am naughty and cant behave myself”. In this way, the abuse makes it harder for the child to have a positive and healthy relationship with the non-abusing parent. Sometimes children and young people are targeted by the abuser, who may threaten or treat them harshly, this is done deliberately to scare the other parent under control. This is very frightening for both the child, young person and none abusing parent.

When family relationships break down because of abuse, the changes themselves can be very traumatic for a child and young person. They may have to flee their home, leaving toys, pets, school and family and friends behind. They may move into a hostel, B&B, or refuge or sleep on family or friends’ floors. They may often return home and leave again several times before leaving for the final time.

Children show distress in different ways depending on their age and temperament. They might show:

Challenging behaviour – being angry and aggressive or showing very extreme emotions.
Anxious behaviour – trying hard to please all the time and always being good, being withdrawn or very watchful and clingy, feeling overprotective of siblings.
Fearful behaviour – having nightmares or disturbed sleep, wetting the bed.

Challenging behaviours can be easy to see because they’re disruptive for the child and others around them. Anxious behaviours can be harder to spot because they can have less of an impact but they are still signs of a child being badly affected by abuse.

Teenage years

Young people who have lived with domestic abuse may have experienced and witnessed years of violence and abuse. They may react to the violence and abuse in the ways described above, however they can also be affected in other ways, as they grow older and their understanding and awareness of family problems increases, their feelings intensify during puberty and they start to develop relationships of their own.

Young peoples’ reactions to living with abuse.

The ‘teen years’ are a time of rapid and often confusing growth and strive for independence. Boundaries are often challenged and renegotiated, often causing arguments at home. It can be a challenging time for parents and teens anyway, but if young people haven’t learned to communicate respectfully, and openly and fear reproductions and further abuse, it can be even harder to manage these changes peacefully and respectfully and may mean more conflict and abuse.

If young people have never felt safe with their parents, it can be difficult for them to make trusting, lasting relationships outside the family. Young people are often desperate to be’ normal’ and to ‘fit in’ with friends and peers. They may feel eager to please and be more likely to engage in risky behaviours to impress. They might be embarrassed or ashamed to invite friends’ home for fear of what they might see, so it will be harder for parents to monitor and influence what is happening with friends outside. Young people will be strongly influenced by their backgrounds as they start to have boyfriends or girlfriends of their own. Abused teens may feel unable to trust another person with their feelings. If they have low self-esteem, they are more vulnerable to being abused by boyfriends or girlfriends. Or they may start to dominate their partner and inflict teen partner abuse themselves.

As teenagers (especially boys) get bigger physically, they may feel guilty and powerless for not defending their non-abusing parent or siblings from violence and abuse. If they do challenge the abuser, they are at obvious risk themselves.
Different reactions to abuse
Young people will react individually to violence and abuse depending on their different personalities and different experiences and they will show their trauma in different ways. But there are some patterns in how boys and girls are different in finding ways of coping with that hurt.

Boys are more likely to externalise (push their pain and anger out onto other people) by:

  • Getting into fights and being aggressive
  • Damaging their own or other people’s property
  • Bullying people, they consider weaker (younger children or girlfriends)
  • Getting involved in gangs

Girls are more likely to internalise (hold their pain and anger in) with:

  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Younger sexual relationships (often looking for love)
  • Earlier pregnancy

Young people with low confidence and self-esteem are more vulnerable to all of the behaviours above. Teenagers from abusive backgrounds are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and are more likely to get involved in crime.

Recovering from abuse
Given the right support, children and young people have an amazing capacity to recover from difficult experiences. Professional help and support to work through bad experiences is particularly helpful but the most important factors for children and young people in recovering from abuse are feeling safe and being able to talk openly to understanding adults. There are agencies in Stockport who can support you and your children and their contact details can be found in the contents section. As a parent, you may be worried that if you get in touch with agencies, your children could be taken away from you. Such drastic interventions are very rare and professionals will nearly always try and support you as the non-abusing parent to be safe.

There’s no doubt that children and young people are affected by domestic abuse. But if you have been struggling to keep things together yourself, it can be hard to see the impact on your children and even harder to support them through difficult experiences. Strong and positive parenting after abuse can help your children and the agencies listed above can help and support you with this. The web links below are also a good source of information for you;

The Hideout: www.thehidout.org.uk – Women’s Aid website for Children and Young People experiencing violence

“This is Abuse Campaign” : www.thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk – A website for Teens experiencing Domestic Violence and Abuse

As part of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.

What is abusive behaviour?

Abuse in teenage relationships is when you begin to feel scared or controlled by the person you’re with. You may be confused because it feels like a loving relationship but often only when you behave in a certain way. This can happen at any age, regardless of gender.

If someone you are close to or in a relationship with is being physically or emotionally abusive in anyway, including over the phone, messaging or using social media, this is abusive.

They may be putting pressure on you to go and see them or do things online that you are not comfortable with.

If this is happening, you should speak to someone you trust, but only when you feel safe to do so. Send a message or call a trusted adult and let them know you’re worried.

What are the signs of an abusive relationship?

Below is a list of some of the most common signs of teenage relationship abuse:

  • Emotional abuse: controlling behaviour, like telling someone where they can go and what they can wear
  • Online abuse: threatening to post personal pictures or information about them
  • Controlling someone’s money: withholding money or stopping someone going to work
  • Snooping: reading emails, text messages or letters
  • Sexual abuse: making someone do something sexual when they don’t want to
  • Physical abuse: violence towards someone, such as kicking, punching, hitting

You don’t have to be living with someone for an unhealthy relationship to develop — some young people will experience relationship abuse while living with their parents or carers. It can happen in any relationship and can continue once the relationship is over, it can happen to boys and girls. What is most important to remember is, it is never your fault

What is Domestic Abuse?

loves me

These are the qualities of a healthy relationship.

Everyone deserves to be loved.
Makes me feel safe
makes me feel comfortable
listens to me
values my opinions
supports what I want to do in my life
is truthful with me
admits to being wrong
respects me
always tries to understand how I feel
likes that I have friends
makes me laugh
trusts me
treats me as an equal
respects my family
understands my need for time alone or with family
accepts me as I am

loves me not

If you recognise even one of these warning signs, you or someone you know may be a victim of abuse…

is jealous
is possessive
tries to control me
gets violent, loses temper quickly
always blames me
is sexually demanding
keeps me from seeing my friends and family
makes all the decisions
embarrasses me in front of others
hits me
makes me cry
makes me feel afraid
is always “checking up” on me
takes my money and other things
threatens to leave me if I don’t do what I’m told
teases, bullies and puts me down

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

When it comes to relationships, there is no place for violence, abuse or taking advantage.

In a caring relationship, you should feel safe, trusted, respected, and have freedom to do your own thing.

If you’re worried about your relationship:

  • Remember, it’s not your fault
  • Seek help and support and explore all options available to you
  • Domestic abuse is very rarely a one-off event. It does tend to get worse and happen more often over time
  • Talk to someone you can trust
  • Think about how you can increase your safety
  • Keep your friends and family around you so you don’t become isolated from them.
  • Consider ending the relationship, this can be difficult to do, so talking to someone about this & seeking support will really 

HOW CAN I INCREASE MY SAFETY?

 Keep your mobile charged

  • No credit is needed to dial 999 from a mobile
  • If an argument starts move to a room that is low risk, away from bathroom, kitchen, garden shed, garage.
  • Don’t agree to go for car or bike rides or to remote areas
  • Tell someone you trust what is happening. Set up a code word with either a friend your family, a tutor or teacher to let them know you need help
  • Always keep a small amount of money on you
  • If you’re planning to end the relationship, think about how you can do this safely and consider seeking support with this
  • Don’t use ‘follow me apps’ on your devices
  • Think about E-safety, create new email accounts on, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat, etc
  • Turn off location services on your phone, other devices and in apps.
  • Use a safe computer

As part of the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.

 www.hideout.org.uk
www.nspcc.org.uk
www.childline.org.uk

 

The right to know if your partner has an abusive past.

Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) is a police policy giving people the right to know if their current or ex-partner has any previous history of violence or abuse.

The scheme is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend in 2009. It was formally rolled out in England and Wales in 2014, following the landmark campaign led by Clare’s father Michael Brown.

Request information under Clare’s Law: Make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application | Greater Manchester Police (gmp.police.uk)

Claire’s Law home page