Domestic violence and the hidden victims

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Domestic violence is officially classified as “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”.We think of domestic violence as hitting, slapping and beating, but it can also include emotional abuse as well as forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.

For help and support, call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline.

It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:

• threatens you
• shoves or pushes you
• makes you fear for your physical safety
• puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
• controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family
• is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
• frightens you

Where can you get help?

You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. You can:

• talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
• call 0808 2000 247, the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge (calls from a landline are free)
• in an emergency, call 999

The Survivor’s Handbook from the charity Women’s Aid is free and provides information on a wide range of issues such as housing, money, helping your children and your legal rights. The handbook is available as a downloadable PDF in 11 languages.

For forced marriage and “honour” crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151).

Broken Rainbow UK provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.

Men of any age can be victims of domestic violence or abuse, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Help and support is available from Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 or Mankind on 01823 334 244.

Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline: 0808 802 4040.

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