Information on domestic abuse
Domestic abuse has often been referred to as domestic violence however abuse can come in many different forms and a person does not necessarily have to be physically injured to be a victim. Domestic abuse is defined as:
"Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
It is estimated that an incident of domestic violence occurs every 6-20 seconds in the UK and that one in three women and one in six men in England and Wales are victims of domestic violence. Considering it is so commonplace, it is surprising that domestic abuse is still steeped in secrecy and shame and many victims suffer in silence and cope alone for years. As men can also experience violence and abuse at home and in their relationships the same advice and services apply to them as well:
- Domestic violence is a crime.
- Domestic abuse doesn't have to happen every day to dominate your life.
- Power lies at the source of domestic violence as it's all about controlling & dominating the person being abused - never ignore the first slap or shove as it could escalate.
- It is not your fault and you do not deserve it - you (and your children) have the right to live free from fear and harm regardless of your race, age, gender, background or religion and whether you are married or living with a partner.
Types of domestic abuse
- Psychological - constantly telling someone they are worthless and so reducing their self esteem and confidence.
- Physical - being hit.
- Sexual - rape or degrading treatment.
- Financial - having money withheld or being forbidden from getting a job.
- Emotional - telling a person their children will be taken from them if they leave.
- Social - not being allowed to see friends and family or go out.
These are just some examples of the forms that domestic abuse can take. Abuse can also take other forms and no two people's experiences of domestic abuse will be the same.
What you can do
- If you are experiencing domestic abuse you may feel like you have nowhere to go and no-one to turn to. This is not true as there are a lot of organisations that can help you.
- You may decide to report the offender to the police and try to have them kept away from you, your children or home.
- You may decide to leave the house and go to a friend or relative or to a refuge or hostel.
- Store vital documents such as passports, birth certificates & bank details elsewhere such as at a friends or relatives house. If you decide to leave try to take them with you.
- Make phone calls from a phone box or friends house.
- Report all injuries to your GP so there is record of abuse. Training has been given to staff and doctors at Northampton GP surgeries on domestic abuse and how they can help.
- Confide in someone if you feel able to do so.
- Talk to a solicitor about your legal rights.
Northampton Sanctuary Scheme
The Northampton Sanctuary Scheme was introduced by Northampton Borough Council on 20th February 2007 and was set up by working in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, The Sunflower Centre, Northampton Women's Aid, Care & Repair Northampton, Victim Support, the Northampton Bangladeshi Association, Eve, Northamptonshire County Council and the Northampton Community Safety Partnership.
This scheme provides the opportunity for victims of domestic abuse to stay in their own homes by improving security with professionally installed security measures.
The Sanctuary Scheme is an option for all victims of domestic abuse living in Northampton, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or family circumstances. It is available to those living in all forms of housing in the town, whether you are a council or housing association tenant, own your own home or are living in private rented housing and includes any person who is threatened with homelessness due to domestic violence.
Following referral, access to the scheme is through a risk assessment of the client's circumstances to determine whether it is safe for victims to remain in their home with the additional security measures. Every person's situation is different, so every 'sanctuary' created is different, with each one tailored to meet the needs of the individual person and property.