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.
So… who does it effect? Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There may be someone sat next to you right now, wherever you are, who goes to their home each night in fear. There may be no visible bruises. They are 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.
Signs of domestic violence can be
• Low self-esteem – issues with confidence and unexplained mood changes
• Anxiety towards the end of the working day/at specific points in the week – change in ability to manage workload towards the end of the working day
• Checking in unnecessarily with partner
• Heated and unreasonable phone calls during work time
• Overly apologetic towards partner
• Avoidance of social situations/not attending social situations 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.
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.