Domestic violence and abuse

 

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse (also called domestic violence) is when someone hurts or bullies another person in the family or their partner. It can happen between people who are going out together, living together, have children together or are married to each other. It is still domestic abuse even if they're not living together.

Domestic abuse is used by the abuser to control their partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after you have split up.

It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. 

Domestic abuse is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.

Domestic abuse is a crime.

If you are forced to change your behaviour because you are frightened of your partner or ex-partner’s reaction you are experiencing abuse.


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What’s the difference between a normal family argument and domestic abuse?

Sometimes people say things to each other in an argument that are mean and hurtful. But there’s a difference between a normal argument and domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is when a person is trying to control the other person by being repeatedly abusive and sometimes violent towards them. For further information on Family problems see the NSPCC website. 

 

One of my parents often gets drunk. Is that why they hit the other one?

Alcohol doesn't cause domestic abuse, but it can make the abuse worse.

People choose to be abusive but sometimes use or blame alcohol or drugs as an excuse – but there are no excuses for violence or abuse.  Sometimes abusers say their behaviour is due to stress, or they are depressed about work or money. Other people might say that a person deserved to be hurt because of something they did. None of these are true – and no one deserves to be abused.

 

I feel scared at home, is this normal?

It’s not normal to feel scared at home. You have a right to feel safe and adults have the responsibility to protect you. If you feel scared or unsafe at home, maybe because you see violence happening or maybe because someone is hurting you, it’s important that you get help.

 

What’s Child Abuse?

When an adult hurts or bullies another adult who they’re in a relationship with, this is called domestic violence. If an adult harms a child or young person, it is called child abuse.

If domestic abuse is happening in a family, the children and young people might also be abused. However, child abuse can also happen when there is no domestic abuse. Child abuse can also happen between brothers and sisters.

 

Child abuse can be:

  • Physical – such as hitting, slapping, kicking, pinching
  • Emotional – bullying, calling you names, making you feel bad, hurting your pets
  • Sexual – touching your private body parts, making you touch someone else’s private parts, forcing you to have sex
  • Neglect – not giving you you things you need like food, clothing or adequate care; not talking to you or ignoring you

When children and young people hurt each other – with what they say or do – this is usually called bullying rather than child abuse.

 

What can I do if I am being abused?

If this is happening to you, it’s really important to get help. The first thing to do is talk to someone you trust. Whoever’s hurting you may have told you not to tell anyone, but don’t keep it a secret.

Even if the person harming you says that something awful will happen if you tell, remember it’s OK to talk about what’s happened. No one has the right to hurt you or anyone you know – it’s against the law.

 

Is it my fault?

No – it’s not your fault. It’s normal to feel ashamed, guilty, angry or upset about what is happening to you, but remember, you didn’t do anything to make it happen. You are not responsible for the bad things someone else does.

 

How can I be sure it is child abuse?

It’s normal to feel confused or scared when you know, trust and love the person who’s hurting you. If an adult makes you feel bad or scared, hurts you or makes you do things you don’t want to, you must tell someone. No one has the right to hurt you, and what they are doing is wrong. You have the right to a life that’s free from hurt, violence and abuse. 

 

Who can help?

It’s a good idea to talk to someone that you trust like a family member or teacher.

If you would like to talk to someone in confidence you can contact:

Childline - You can call them free on 0800 1111 and this number won’t appear on a telephone bill. Available 24 hours a day.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline - A Helpline for all women and concerned friends, family and professionals. Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm)

West Yorkshire Police have specially trained officers who understand, will listen to you. For Leeds the Safeguarding Unit number is: 0113 3859590

You can also contact the police in a non-emergency 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, by calling 101.

Mens Advice Line which provides support for male victims of domestic abuse https://mensadviceline.org.uk/

Karma Nirvana – which provides support around honour based abuse and forced marriage.

Leeds Domestic Violence Service – a local service who provide support to people experiencing domestic abuse.  

Respect – provide support to people who are abusive.  https://respectphoneline.org.uk/

For a further list of helpline numbers where you can talk to someone about abuse that might be happening in your home see the Hideout website

 

 

Further information

Information on Physical abuse and Emotional abuse can be found on the NSPCC website

What is a healthy relationship?