What is it?
Domestic violence and abuse includes a number of behaviours and does not just involve physical abuse.
Physical abuse can be in the form of punching, pushing, choking, burning, kicking, hitting, pulling hair, slapping and biting.
Emotional abuse could involve being verbally abused and humiliated; being constantly criticised or blamed, being put down in front of others or being kept away from friends and family.
Abuse can also be financial - the abuser could keep money from you or take your wages, benefits or pension away.
Domestic violence and abuse could also involve sexual violence including rape, indecent phone calls.
If you can relate to one or more of the above, then you may be experiencing domestic violence.
What can I do?
- Firstly, remember you are never alone and there is always someone who can help.
- Secondly, you are not to blame. The abuser is always responsible for their behaviour and they often blame others for their behaviour. There is no excuse for abuse.
- If you know someone you can trust, tell them. A problem shared is problem halved. Do not suffer in silence. If you do not know anyone you can trust there are many support, advice and counselling services available who may help and which are confidential.
- Contact an agency such as Women's Aid or the Citizen's Advice Bureau who are on hand and able to help you decide what to do next.
- In an emergency always call the police on 999. The police have the power to arrest and charge and they have a duty to investigate and support victims. You may also use the civil law to get protection.
Do you want someone to talk to?
If you do not know anyone you feel safe talking to, there are many local agencies that will listen and try to help. They all have experience of advising and supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse. All of them can offer advice or will know someone who can.
- Living Without Abuse 01509 550 317 www.lwa.org.uk
- Citizen's Advice Bureau www.rutlandcab.org.uk 0845 1203705
Monday 10.00 - 6.00
Tuesday 10.00 - 12.00
Wednesday 10.00 - 4.00
Thursday 10.00 - 12.00
Friday 10.00 - 4.00
- Relate http://www.relateleicestershire.org.uk/ 0116 254 3011 based at Rutland Memorial Hospital - Relate have an experienced DV team offerning counselling, women's safety work, male perpetrator programmes and women's advocacy service.
Other agencies are listed in the essential directory section.
Can the Police help?
Domestic Violence and abuse is a crime and the police can help and support you in a number of ways including:
1. protecting you and your children from further harm.
2. arresting and removing the perpetrator
3. investigating what has happened and gathering evidence
4. giving you the opportunity to speak away from the abuser
5. helping you access other support agencies.
What are my legal rights?
Everyone has the right to be protected under the law and below is some of the legal options you have:
Criminal Law – you have rights under the criminal law which is mainly aimed at punishing the offender. The process is led by the Police together with the Crown Prosecution Service. Being assaulted or harassed is a crime whether it is by a stranger or your partner.
Civil Law – you can seek protection under the civil law by applying for an injunction, also known as a court order. The court tells the abuser to stop harassing or hurting you and can tell the abuser to stay away from your home. A solicitor can help you apply for an injunction. Under the injunction network in Rutland, there are a number of specialist solicitors. Hegarty LLP is a part of the injunction network. Although they do not hold specific drop in sessions, they aim to see anyone as quick as possible and do not insist on an assessment for legal aid and help before the case is passed on. A full list of solicitors can be found under injunction network on our website.
Housing Law – these laws place a duty on the Local Authority to help you get emergency or temporary accommodation if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness including if due to domestic violence and abuse.
Family law – there are laws that can also help to protect your children. You can apply to the Family Courts for an order setting out whom your children should live with and regulating contact with the other parent.
Employment Rights – domestic violence and abuse can have an impact on your job. You can seek help from your personnel/human resource department or trade union.