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Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. Whether it's a partner, friend or family member, abuse can take on many forms.

Explore this guide for support and advice on recognising the signs of abuse, and steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Recognising domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can be hard to spot, especially as everyone’s situation is unique. But there are common factors you can look out for to help protect your wellbeing.

Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents involving controlling, forceful, or violent behaviour from a partner, friend or family member. Abuse can be physical, psychological, verbal, sexual, emotional, or financial. It may be a one-off or recurring.

Spotting signs of abuse can be a challenge, especially if you’re in a relationship. But it’s important to know the various different types so you’re better able to identify and act upon them:

  • Physical abuse may include hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, burning or throwing things
  • Emotional abuse may include blaming, manipulating or spiteful and controlling behaviour
  • Psychological abuse may include belittling, accusing, scaring or excluding
  • Verbal abuse may include shouting, threatening, mean comments or swearing
  • Sexual abuse may include forced contact, or pressure to use birth control or terminate a pregnancy
  • Financial abuse may include stealing or control over your money

Domestic abuse can impact your short and long-term wellbeing, both mentally and physically. This may include:

  • Isolation, where you may not want to interact with people
  • Depression, where you feel especially sad and lose all interest in life’s pleasures
  • Anxiety for long periods of time, affecting your day-to-day life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a frightening or traumatic experience. You may have negative thoughts, difficulty sleeping or
  • memory loss
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Digestive problems

If you’re worried about any of these, book an appointment with your GP. Or give us a call. No judgement, just support.

Even though I’m still dealing with issues with my ex-partner, the grant from the Bank Workers Charity has meant I’m not worried about keeping a roof over our heads. I just feel we’ve got a future now, we can go forward and move on.

– Jenny, our client

Steps to stay ahead

Follow the steps below to help manage your mental and physical wellbeing, and keep you and your family safe from abusive situations.

A good first step to finding an escape from domestic abuse is talking about it. Find the right kind of support for your situation below:

  • Talk to your GP as soon as possible
  • Report it to the police
  • If you’re in any immediate danger, call 999
  • Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free on 0808 2000 247, available 24/7 for women and children
  • Call the Men’s Advice Line for free on 0808 801 0327, available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
  • Call Galop for free LGBTQ+ support on 0800 999 5428, available 10am – 5pm on Monday and Tuesday, 10am – 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10am – 5pm on Friday
  • Visit Women’s Aid to find support specific to your cultural background
  • Get in touch with Surviving Economic Abuse for support with financial abuse
  • Talk to a trusted friend or family member
  • If you just need someone to talk to, we’re here to listen Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm (except bank holidays)

Domestic abuse can feel very isolating, but you’re not alone. It takes a lot of courage to think about, or even commit to leaving. If you’re trying to find a way to escape, follow these steps before you leave to help protect yours and your family’s safety:

  • First, speak to a specialist service for guidance on leaving. See above for helpful numbers and links
  • Only give information to those you trust, so it doesn’t get back to your abuser
  • Think about a secret code word you can use with family and friends
  • Remember to switch off any location services on your digital devices
  • Memorise phone numbers of friends and family for after you’ve left
  • Plan out any logistical, financial and living arrangements to make sure you have a support system ready and waiting
  • Take important documents and items with you if you can, including:
    • Passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Bank details
    • Bank statements
    • Benefit records
    • Medical cards
    • Marriage certificate
    • Court orders
    • Vehicle log book
    • Cash and bank cards
    • A spare set of home and car keys
    • Medication
    • Clothing and toiletries
  • As painful as it may be, gather as much evidence of the abuse before you leave including photos, videos, recordings and crime reference numbers

If you’re still struggling and need support, give us a call.

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