While many of us enjoy the festive season, it isn’t a happy time for everyone. In fact reports of domestic abuse tend to increase over Christmas and the new year. But this isn’t necessarily all bad, as these reports can be a crucial step towards breaking the cycle of abuse.
Amy was referred to a domestic abuse support service by Children’s Services due to concerns for the welfare of her children. She had little understanding of what domestic abuse is or the support services available to her.
A support worker met with Amy on several occasions to talk about a range of topics including the cycle of abuse, power and control, and why people don’t leave abusive relationships. She also learned about safety planning within her current relationship.
After just a few sessions Amy started to feel empowered to make decisions for herself. She started to attend a support group and applied for a course at University. Although she hasn’t left her abusive partner, she has put safety plans in place and is taking steps towards a separation.
Are you experiencing abuse?
Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour by the abuser designed to control their partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after you have split up. Anyone forced to change their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner or ex-partner’s reaction is experiencing abuse. If you’re not sure whether you’re in an abusive relationship the Refuge website has some useful questions to help you get a clearer understanding.
You’re not alone
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse you’re not alone. Sometimes it can seem like everything is too hard, but support is only a phone call, live chat or online message away. We are here to listen, not to tell you what to do - confidential, non-judgemental and independent advice. We will only break confidentiality if you ask us to, or if you give us information that makes us concerned for you or somebody else’s safety. You’re welcome to discuss this further with our support workers or helpline staff or contact us to request a copy of our safeguarding policy.
Support is available
Domestic abuse support services offer emotional and practical assistance including confidential helplines, refuge accommodation and legal advice.
Visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline to find out:
- Different ways to contact their helpline or arrange a call-back
- Your rights and options
- How to access refuge and other services
- How to protect yourself against tech abuse
Domestic abuse doesn’t only affect women. Visit the Mankind Initiative website to find out about:
- The Mankind helpline
- Emergency housing
- How to spot signs of a man being abused
- Legal support
You can also find information about domestic abuse services in Oxfordshire or West Berkshire on our website.
Is it time to act?
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should contact the Police in the first instance on 999. Whether you want to leave an abusive environment or simply get more information at this stage, help is only a phone call away. You have the power to break the cycle of abuse.