The Hidden Crime
Can you imagine living in constant fear in your own home? Afraid of what might happen when your partner walks through the door. For many people this is the day to day reality they have to live with.
Domestic abuse is a serious and complex issue. Abuse may be physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional. It is a crime that remains largely hidden behind closed doors, leaving its victims feeling trapped, powerless and isolated - afraid to say anything in case it makes a bad situation worse. However, abuse is rarely a one-off event. For example, on average a victim will endure 30 - 35 assaults before seeking help. The level of abuse is likely to increase over time and could even result in murder.
Experience suggests that friends, families and neighbours are often aware or suspect that something is happening but, for one reason or another, are reluctant to get involved. This is a mistake. Domestic abuse ruins family life and has long term, serious consequences for everyone concerned.
What Is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between individuals who are or have been intimate partners, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Domestic abuse also includes incidents between family members, aged 16 and over. (Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step family.)
If you or somebody you know needs confidential help or advice, call the West Mercia Women's Aid domestic abuse helpline:
- 0800 783 1359 in Herefordshire and Shropshire.
- 0800 980 3331 in Worcestershire
Help is also available from the following organisations:
Mankind Initiative- Suporting male victims of domestic abuse
National helpline: 01823 334244
Broken Rainbow - Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experiencing domestic violence.
National helpline: 0300 999 5428
You can also call the police on 0300 333 3000. In an emergency dial 999.
Help is also available for abusers. Anyone worried about their behaviour towards their partner can visit Respect at www.respect.uk.net or call their helpline on 0845 122 8609.
A programme for men wanting to change their behaviour is also available (currently only in Worcestershire). The SVVP Action to Change Programme referral line is available at 0845 155 0395 or email them at [email protected]
The Worcestershire Forums Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence site offers help and guidance for Women, Children and Men who are or have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. It also provides information for people who know someone who may be being abused.
Further information about services available within Shropshire for people worried about domestic abuse is available from the Freedom Shropshire website.