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Domestic violence

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexuality, financial or social standing, or your environment. You do not have to put up with domestic abuse and there are steps you can take to break the cycle and be safe.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse happens within the home or family, or from someone you are close to. It can involve physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse or financial abuse.

You may feel scared or worried about facing the future, or about how you can deal with what comes next, alone. You are not alone - there are many organisations that can help and support you. You are not to blame for the abuse you have suffered, no mater what the abuser may have you believe.

The first steps to take are:

  • Recognise that abuse is happening to you
  • Accept that you are not to blame
  • Get help and support (contact Next Step on Tel: 01283 229 854 or visit their website www.next-step.org )

The most important thing you can do is to tell someone else what is happening. This must be someone you can trust. If you are isolated from friends and family, there are support networks locally who can help you. It might be that you can tell someone straight away or you may be struggling to make the relationship work whilst trying to stop the violence. Some people need longer to make the decision to get help than others, and sometimes it can take a number of approaches before getting the help you need.

There may still be a risk, even if you have left the relationship, and the point of separation is often the most difficult and dangerous time. If you are in danger, call the police - dial 999.

Police officers have the power to arrest if they have good enough reason to think that you or a child are at risk from physical injury.

How can the law protect me?

As well as contacting the police, you can use civil law to protect you and your family.

Under the Family Law Act 2006, you can apply for a non-molestation order - this can prevent the abuser from using or threatening violence, harassing, pestering or intimidating you. You can apply for this kind of order against someone you live with or did live with, whether married or not; someone you had promised to marry, or someone who shares parental responsibility for a child with you.

You can also apply to the court for an occupational order to enforce your right to stay living in your home. An occupational order can be granted if you have a legal interest in the home or if you have gained rights to the home through marriage.

If your partner is convicted of criminal harassment, or any crime relating to violence or likely to cause fear or violence against you, then a restraining order may be granted. The purpose of a restraining order is to prevent similar behaviour in the future.

The purpose of getting these orders is to prevent the abuser from assaulting you, harassing you or entering your home. It means less disruption in children's lives as they remain in their home, near their friends and so on.

South Derbyshire Careline

South Derbyshire Careline may be able to help with a personal alarm system that would call for help, monitor and collect evidence in an emergency. First of all contact Next Step - 01283 229 854

The South Derbyshire Sanctuary Scheme

The South Derbyshire Sanctuary Scheme aims to help survivors of domestic violence remain in their home if they prefer rather than moving out or become homeless. The scheme provides different levels of security to the property to help the survivor feel safer in their own home. For more information, contact Next Step on 01283 229854.

If you are on a low income, or income-related benefits, you may be entitled to public funding to either fund, or part-fund, legal advice or proceedings. If you would like more information, please contact the police, a solicitor, your local magistrates or county courts, Citizens Advice Bureau or Women's Aid.

It is also advisable to ask the court to attach a power of arrest to any order made. This means that if your abuser breaks the order, they can be arrested.

The police can arrest and charge the abuser if they breach any of the terms of the order.

What if I don't feel safe to stay in my home and would like help to move away?

Contact the Council's Housing department, who will be able to advise you on your options, including a place of safety such as a refuge.

A refuge can offer you the space to decide what you want to do, free from the violence and fear that you experienced in the home. A refuge can also offer temporary respite while you explore the legal options above.

Some refuges offer accommodation and support specific cultural and ethnic backgrounds and needs. Some refuges have access for people with disabilities.

Trident Reach

Our service provides refuge accommodation, dispersed accommodation (which are safe houses in the community) and also floating support in South Derbyshire and Erewash.

The refuge accommodation is accessible to women and women with children and we can support women over the age of 16.

Our dispersed accommodation can house either men or women with or without children and again we provide floating support to these customers which is intense support to meet their needs and ensure safety.

Our Floating support service in South Derbyshire is a housing related domestic abuse service and we can support men or women again over the age of 16 to cope with and move on from the domestic abuse and also support them with any housing related issues such as needing to move, benefits, setting up home, applying for grants, debts, integrating into a new community and offer practical and emotional support.

I am planning to leave - what do I need to take with me?

  • Put some money aside in case you need to get a taxi or bus.
  • Make sure you know where all of your important documents are - your passports, birth / marriage certificates, child benefit, bank cards, any court orders and your family health records / medical cards.
  • Have a small bag ready packed with an extra set of keys for the house and car. You may prefer to leave this with a trusted friend.
  • Take essential medicines that you and any children need.
  • Leave when it is safe to do so.
  • If you discover, after you have left, something you have not picked up, you can always ask for a police escort so you can return to fetch it.

In an emergency DIAL 999

What about the children?

Children are the silent victims

They could be witnessing the abuse against you, or they could be victims of violence themselves. Children are often more aware of the abuse than their parents may realise.

Their behaviour, their performance at school and their health may suffer. They could have low self-confidence, become withdrawn or anxious, or suffer behavioural difficulties that were not present before.

Your abuser may threaten that if you leave, or even if you tell anyone about the violence, then your children will be taken away. This is a lie, Social Services will not take children away for this reason.

If you fear that your partner may abduct your children, please seek advice as soon as you can.

You can also seek legal advice regarding parental rights and responsibilities, and where the children should live. You may also wish to consider changing your child's school if you believe the abuser may follow you after you leave the home.

My friend is suffering domestic violence - how can I help them?

The number one priority is to make sure your friend is safe.

  • Be understanding - you may be the first and only person your friend has confided in, and they may worry that it is their fault. It is not. Explain that there are many people who suffer abuse, and that help is available.
  • Listen carefully to what they are saying, and don't push for more details than your friend is willing to give.
  • Encourage them to express any feelings of hurt and anger, but do not criticise the abuser yourself, this may put them off telling you any more.
  • Let them make their own decisions about whether to leave the relationship. If they are not ready, this is their decision. Offer support.
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm. Offer to go to the hospital or the GP with them, if they need to go. If they want support to go to the police or a solicitor, offer to go with them.
  • Offer to help them work out a safe plan if they want to leave. Let your friend decide what will and will not be safe.
  • Let them use your address and phone number for receiving important messages and information. If you have internet access, let them use your computer to access websites offering information and advice.
  • Do not put yourself in danger - do not offer to talk to the abuser, and do not let the abuser see you as a threat to their relationship.

Which organisations can help me?

  • South Derbyshire Careline
  • Domestic violence helpline - 0808 2000 247 (Freephone 24 hour)
  • Women's Aid Helpline - 08457 023 468 - www.womensaid.org.uk
  • Next Step - 01283 229 854 - www.next-step.org  
  • Refuge 24 hour National Crisis Line - 0990 995 443
  • Shelterline - 0808 800 4444
  • SARAC (Sexual Abuse and Rape Advice Centre) - 01283 517 185
  • Trident Reach (24hr service) - 0800 0884 194 www.reachdomesticabusesupport.org   
  • South Derbyshire CVS - 01283 550 163
  • Citizens Advice Bureau - 01283 210 107
  • Victim Support - 0845 3030 900 - www.victimsupport.org.uk
  • The police (in an emergency) - 999
  • The Samaritans - 0345 90 90 90
  • National Child Protection Helpline (NSPCC) - 0800 800 500
  • Foreign Commonwealth Office  - 020 7008 0135
    (forced marriage) 020 7008 0230
  • Male Advice Line and Enquiry - 0845 064 6800
  • Reunite - 0116 2556 234
    (Advice line for parents, guardians and family members who have had, or fear, child abduction)
  • Kiaura Women's project - 01283 511514
  • Derbyshire Social Services - 01283 238000

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