What to do if you’re a victim of domestic abuse
If a person you live with or have lived with has abused you – whether physically or not – you could be experiencing domestic abuse. The law can protect you and help you to change your situation.
Domestic abuse is when someone in a close relationship with you behaves in a way that causes you physical, mental, or emotional damage. This doesn’t have to be physical violence. Domestic abuse includes any incident of threatening behaviour. Domestic abuse can be psychological, physical, social, financial or emotional.
Domestic abusers are usually a person’s spouse, partner, ex-spouse, ex-partner or other close family member. Most people affected by domestic abuse are women, but some men are abused by their partners.
Where can I go for help?
If you feel that you are being abused, there are organisations that can help you:
The LiveFearFree helpline is a free, confidential 24hour helpline run by Welsh Women’s Aid, 7 days a week – call, 0808 8010 800. It offers confidential advice, support and information to victims of domestic abuse, and can help with referrals to women’s refuges for women fleeing domestic violence. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the LiveFearFree website.
Men experiencing domestic abuse can contact the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327. The helpline offers advice, information and support to male victims of domestic abuse, as well as to their friends and family. The helpline (run by the charity Respect) is open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Calls are free from landlines and from mobiles using the O2, Everything Everywhere (EE), Three (3), Virgin, and Vodafone networks). Calls will not appear on BT landline phone bills.
Men suffering abuse can also contact The Dyn Project in Wales. They offer a free and confidential helpline and provide advice and information on their website.
Stonewall Cymru provides advice and support on a range of issues to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims and survivors of domestic abuse in Wales.
Childline is a confidential helpline for children and young people experiencing or witnessing abuse run by the NSPCC. The helpline is 0800 11 11 and open 24/7. Calls are free and will not appear on BT or cable phone bills. Calls to the helpline are free from most mobile networks (3, BT Mobile, Fresh, O2, Everything Everywhere, Virgin, Vodafone).
You will also need to think about whether you should leave your current home, or whether you can stay there and improve safety. The Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345 is a free legal advice service in England and Wales. You may be able to get free advice on housing, family and other problems if you are eligible for legal aid. The helpline can provide contact details of solicitors in your area who may be able to help you.
If you have had to leave your home due to domestic abuse and you have nowhere to go, you should be able to get help from the council.
Victims of domestic abuse may want to consider taking action in the county court as well as or instead of reporting the abuse to the police.