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Millions of people experience domestic abuse every year and two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week. Housing organisations house and employ millions of people across the UK and that means in UK housing we house and employ many thousands of people affected by domestic abuse. 

Right now, staying at home may not be a safe place for some people.  

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There may be no visible bruises. They may be just like you. You might know them. You may have seen them or spoken to them. You probably had no idea that they may have been raped, strangled, knocked out, burnt. You’re unaware that they may have scars you can’t see. But there can be warning signs. 

How do you spot a victim of domestic abuse? 

It might be trickier to spot the signs of domestic violence during this time of lockdown, but even remotely via video calling or catching up over the telephone, you may be able to spot a victim of domestic violence. Signs of domestic violence can be: 

  • Low self-esteem – issues with confidence  

  • Anxiety towards the end of the day – and perhaps a change in ability to manage workload 

  • Avoidance of social calls/not attending social calls without notice and without explanation 

  • Bruises and wearing inappropriate clothing to cover bruises 

  • Unexplained aches and pains 

How to support someone who might be experiencing domestic violence 

Be direct and talk to them. Listen to what they have to say without passing judgement or opinion. Be aware of where they can go for help, and don’t get frustrated if they choose not to accept help. Anxiety and fear are overwhelming and there are huge obstacles people will face when leaving an abusive relationship. Research has shown that victims are most at risk upon leaving a violent relationship, or immediately after. 

Start to learn about different support agencies and signpost them to the agencies for advice and support. Encourage them to keep a log of incidents, along with evidence of their abuse, so that when they are ready to accept help they will be in a better position to move forward in a positive way. 

Where to seek support if you need help 

You can seek support from agencies across our region, including: 

  • Arch North Staffs – call 01782 205500 or visit www.archnorthstaffs.org.uk – for domestic abuse support  

  • Dove - call 01782 683155 or visit www.thedoveservice.org.uk – for information on counselling and group support activities  

  • Local council or housing provider – call for help finding a new safe place to live  

  • Citizens Advice Bureau – call 03444 111 444 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk – for free, confidential and impartial advice across a range of issues  

  • National 24-hour Domestic Violence helpline – call 0808 2000 247  

  • GP – call your doctor to seek a referral for counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy  

  • Police – call 999 to record any incidents of domestic violence. 

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